Originally published June 3 2009
Papaya is Tasty Way to Fight Cancer and Poor Digestion
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) Sweet and succulent with a satiny consistency, papaya was referred to as the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus. Slice open a papaya and see hundreds of shiny black seeds that all need to get their start in life from the nutrition found in the fruit. This implies that fruit must be power-packed. Scientists have documented this common sense observation by finding that papaya promotes digestive health and intestinal cleansing, fights inflammation, and supports the immune system. It protects lung and joint health, revitalizes the body, and boosts energy levels. Papaya is a potent cancer fighter that is highly effective against hormone related cancers as well as other cancers. New research shows papaya can stop the growth of breast cancer cells, halt metastasis, and normalize the cell cycle.
Papaya was the only studied food found to halt breast cancer
Scientists studied 14 plant foods commonly consumed in Mexico to determine their ability to halt breast cancer cell growth. These included avocado, black sapote, fuava, mango, prickly pear cactus (nopal), pineapple, grapes, tomato, and papaya. They also evaluated beta-carotene, total plant phenolics, and gallic acid contents and antioxidant capacity. They found that only papaya had a significant effect on stopping breast cancer cell growth. (International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, May)
Papaya is a store-house of cancer fighting lycopene
The intense orangey-pink color of papaya means it is chock full of cancer fighting carotenoids. Not only beta carotene, but lycopene is found in abundance. The construction of lycopene makes it highly reactive toward oxygen and free radicals. Scientists at the University of Illinois think this anti-oxidant activity contributes to its effectiveness as a cancer fighting agent. Epidemiological studies have indicated an inverse relationship between lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk. They showed that oral lycopene is highly bioavailable, accumulates in prostate tissue, and is localized in the nucleus of prostate epithelial cells.
In addition to antioxidant activity, other experiments have indicated that lycopene induces cancer cell death, anti-metastatic activity, and the up-regulation of protective enzymes. Phase I and II studies have established the safety of lycopene supplementation. (Cancer Letter, October 8, 2008)
Prostate cancer was the subject of a study in Australia that looked at 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospitalized controls. The scientists found that men who consumed the most lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as papaya were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer. In this study, green tea also exerted a powerful anti-cancer effect. When lycopene-rich foods were consumed with green tea, the combination was even more effective, an outcome the researchers credited to their synergy. (Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007)
Isothiocyanates found in papaya restore the cell cycle to eliminate cancer
Organo-sulfur compounds called isothiocyanates are found in papaya. In animal experiments, isothiocyanates protected against cancers of the breast, lung, colon pancreas, and prostate, as well as leukemia, and they have the potential to prevent cancer in humans. Isothiocyanates have shown themselves capable of inhibiting both the formation and development of cancer cells through multiple pathways and mechanisms. (International Journal of Oncology), October, 2008)
Researchers in Japan clarified the mechanisms of action in a type of isothiocyanate found in papaya known as BITC, that underlies the relationship between cell cycle regulation and appropriate cell death. When cancerous cells die on schedule, they are no longer a problem. The researchers established that BITC exerted cancer cell killing effects that were greater in the proliferating cells than in the quiescent cells. Cancer cells that are proliferating are much more dangerous than cancer cells that are in a state of dormancy. (Forum of Nutrition, 2009)
Enzymes from papaya digest proteins including those that protect tumors
The fruit and other parts of the papaya tree, also known as the paw paw tree, contain papain and chymopapain, powerful proteolytic enzymes that facilitate chemical reactions in the body. They promote digestion by helping to break down proteins from food into amino acids that can be recombined to produce protein useable by humans. Proteolytic enzymes protect the body from inflammation and help heal burns. They do a good job of digesting unwanted scar tissue both on the skin and under its surface.
Research has shown that the physical and mental health of people is highly dependent on their ability to produce proteins they can use effectively. However, as people age, they produce less of the enzymes needed to effectively digest proteins from food and free needed amino acids. They are left with excessive amounts of undigested protein which can lead to overgrowth of unwanted bacteria in the intestinal tract, and a lack of available amino acids.
Eating papaya after a meal promotes digestion, and helps prevent bloating, gas production, and indigestion. It is quite helpful after antibiotic use to replenish friendly intestinal bacteria that were the casualties in the war against the unwanted bacteria. When the intestinal tract is well populated with friendly bacteria, the immune system is strengthened, and can better protect against flu and cancer.
Being a proteolytic enzyme, papain is able to destroy intestinal parasites, which are composed mostly of protein. To rid the body of intestinal parasites, half a cup of papaya juice can be alternated each hour for twelve consecutive hours with the same amount of cucumber or green bean juice.
Papaya contains fibrin, another useful compound not readily found in the plant kingdom. Fibrin reduces the risk of blood clots and improves the quality of blood cells, optimizing the ability of blood to flow through the circulatory system. Fibrin is also important in preventing stokes. Proteolytic enzymes containing fibrin are a good idea for long plane rides to minimize the potential of blood clots in the legs. People who sit at a desk all day might want to use proteolytic enzymes too.
Proteolytic enzymes are able to digest and destroy the defense shields of viruses, tumors, allergens, yeasts, and various forms of fungus. Once the shield is destroyed, tumors and invading organisms are extremely vulnerable and easily taken care of by the immune system.
Undigested proteins can penetrate the gut and wind up in the bloodstream where they are treated by the immune system as invaders. If too many undigested proteins are floating around, the immune system becomes overburdened and unable to attend to the other tasks it was meant to do. Proteolytic enzymes can digest these rogue proteins, freeing up the immune system.
Papaya offers luscious taste and super nutrition
Papayas are native to Central America. They were disbursed by Spanish and Portuguese explorers who journeyed to India, the Philippines and Africa. Today, most commercially available papaya is produced in the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Papaya adds the sunlight of the tropics to summer drinks while flooding the body with high class antioxidants such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids. It is rich in several B vitamins including folate and pantothenic acid. It contains ample amounts of potassium, and plenty of magnesium, the mineral most deficient in Americans. It is also a good source of fiber.
Try getting some of these nutrients with a Papaya-Banana Smoothie
1 cup of whatever kind of milk pleases you
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large glass and garnish with lime.
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About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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