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Food as Medicine: Papaya

Traditional Chinese medicine has long been aware of the healing properties of Papaya. Ancient Chinese medical texts cite that it enters the lung, stomach and spleen.


It is said to lubricate the lungs, treat a cough, kill intestinal worms, increase milk production in lactating women, heal skin lesions, soothe indigestion and stomach aches, and alleviate irritability brought on by warm weather.

Known for its ability to tonfy qi, it also helps regulate blood circulation, resolve dampness and resolve phlegm.

Papayas are used as a fruit when fully ripe and as a vegetable, when they are green and crunchy. Green papayas have higher papain enzyme concentrations than ripe ones. These protein-digesting enzymes calm inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma, promote strong digestion, and keep the intestines clean, especially the seeds. Papaya seeds are highly nutritious and their extracts have been associated with a number of health benefits. Studies have found that papaya seeds could help fight infections, promote kidney health, protect against cancer, and enhance digestive health.

A word of warning; consuming high doses may cause side effects, but these issues can easily be avoided by moderating your intake and sticking to a few servings per day.

Papayas are also rich in fibre, vitamins A, C, and E and are also an excellent source of calcium, iron, and potassium. Lycopene, a free radical-fighting phytonutrient is also abundant in papaya. Eating papaya is excellent for your skin; you can even use the skin of papaya topically to soothe irritated skin and help wounds heal more quickly.

Next time you slice open a papaya, be sure to enjoy both the delicious perfumed flesh and the powerful seeds inside. It would be aaa a shame to miss out on all the health benefits this fruit has to offer. Enjoy!

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