Paw Paw (or papaya) is a fruit that grows in tropical areas throughout the world and is easily available throughout Australia. Most Australians enjoy paw paw simply because it is delicious, but increasingly, research is showing that the health benefits of paw paw may be even greater than its delicious taste. In fact, paw paw and paw paw derived products are increasingly used for a variety of medicinal and therapeutic purposes both by natural health practitioners and in conventional medicine.
The Benefits of Paw Paw
No one argues about the health benefits of fruit, but what makes paw paw special? These are just some of the major vitamins and minerals found in large quantities in paw paw: dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, C and E. It also contains small amount of calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and niacine. It is also very rich in antioxidant nutrients flavonoids and carotenes, very high in vitamin C plus A, and low in calories and sodium.
In addition to these, paw paw is high in dietary fibre and rich in important antioxidants. At the same time, paw paw is low in calories and sodium. As if these were not reasons enough for making paw paw a regular part of your diet, the fruit also includes unique ingredients not found or found in limited concentrations in other fruits. Two of these, papain and chymopapain, are enzymes that help break down proteins and convert them into amino acids, making paw paw an excellent digestive aid, reducing bloating and indigestion.
Paw Paw also has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the severity of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and aid in recovery from sports injuries, amongst many other conditions that are caused by or exacerbated by inflammation. These include everything from the common cold to more serious diseases.
Continuing studies also indicate that paw paw and paw paw derived medications also show promise in the relief from side effects of cancer treatments such as mouth ulcers and difficulty in swallowing as well as providing a boost to the immune system.
Paw Paw and Antioxidants
The antioxidants found in paw paw, while not unique to this fruit, are extremely beneficial to health and are believed to be amongst the most important reasons for making fruits and vegetables a large and regular part of your diet. Antioxidants have been shown to scavenge the free radicals that play such an important part in the development of cancer, heart disease and other life threatening diseases that have become so prevalent in modern society, where processed and other unhealthy foods have become such a large part of our diet.
In short, the benefits of paw paw are potentially enormous. Both the natural fruit and natural paw paw supplements can be of benefit. While many health care professionals recommend consulting a holistic doctor with knowledge of both natural and conventional medicine for existing or suspected diseases, taken regularly, paw paw may play a vital role in preventing those diseases from occurring.