(Natural News) Papayas (Carica papaya) are sweet tropical fruits that are full of antioxidants. According to researchers, the beneficial fruits may also have antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Papayas are commonly used in traditional medicine. However, due to recent discoveries about their various health benefits, modern pharmaceutical industries have decided to look into the possible medicinal applications of the papaya.
Data from the study, published in The Natural Products Journal, revealed that papayas can also potentially help cure other conditions like cancer.
The healing properties of papayas
In the study, scientists analyzed methanolic extracts from papaya leaves, seeds, and unripe peels to determine the plant’s phytochemical composition along with its anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
To determine papaya’s bioactive compounds, the team used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis (GC-MS analysis). The researchers used a radical scavenging assay to confirm the antioxidant effects of plant extracts from papayas.
Using human red blood cell membrane stabilization method, the team estimated the in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of papaya’s plant components. The antidiabetic activity of the plant extracts was determined through an alpha-amylase inhibition method.
Cell viability was evaluated through an MTT assay with MCF-7 and vero cell lines. MTT is a dye compound, MCF-7 is a breast cancer cell line isolated from a 69-year-old Caucasian woman in 1970, while vero cell lines refer to a lineage of cells utilized in cell cultures.
Study findings showed that the free radical scavenging activity of methanolic extracts from papaya leaves was at 67.78 percent, with unripened peel at 77.47 percent, and at 90.12 percent at 1.0 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) concentration. Alpha-amylase inhibition (antidiabetic activity) of 86.93 percent, 62.16 percent, and 59.90 percent was estimated in the methanolic leaf, unripened peel, and seed extract of papaya, respectively.
The cell viability of papaya’s methanolic seed extract was at 25.29 percent at a concentration of 500 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL). The extract lysed (broke down) 74.70 percent of MCF-7 cells with IC50 lysis value of 183.48 mcg/mL.
The team observed high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in papaya peel extracts while the seed extracts had a higher level of MCF-7 cell line inhibition. Based on the study findings, the scientists posit that papaya leaf extracts may have antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities that can be used for various medicinal applications.
Fast facts on papayas
The papaya is a spherical tropical fruit that’s native to southern Mexico and Central America. The fruit has bright orange flesh with a texture similar to a melon.
- While black papaya seeds are edible, they are also bitter.
- Papaya is a nutrient-dense fruit. A cup of papaya (cut into one-inch pieces) has 2.5 g of fiber, 264 mg of potassium, 88.3 mg of vitamin C, 30 mg magnesium, 0.068 mg of vitamin A, and 54 micrograms of folate.
- The antioxidants in papaya, like vitamin A, C, and E and beta-carotene, can help prevent or delay cell damage from free radicals.
- The fruit is low in sugar, especially compared to higher sugar fruits like bananas, cherries, and grapes. A cup of cubed papaya only has around 11 g of sugar.
- Papaya is also low in calories. One cup of cubed papaya contains at least 60 calories, making it a delicious and low-calorie snack or dessert.
- The fruit contains papain, an enzyme that can help break down protein like meat. If you have digestive issues, eat a slice of papaya to calm an upset stomach. If you don’t have access to fresh papaya, you can also take papain supplements.
- The vitamins in papaya can also boost your immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E may help prevent colds and other infections. (Related: Food scientists: Eat more wild papaya for a stronger immune system.)
You can learn more about the health benefits of papayas and other fruits at Fruits.news.