What are the health benefits of papaya? This tropical fruit has found its way into food supplements in the last few years, because of a powerful enzyme it contains.

Bloating & indigestion

Papaya contains a very powerful enzyme called papain, which is known to be very beneficial for digestion. It is especially useful for indigestion caused by eating too much high-protein food – such as an enormous steak! Papain is also useful for easing boating by improving the digestion and breakdown of food components. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme, so it has an affinity for breaking down proteins, and is often used to tenderise meat, along with bromeliad found in pineapple.

Skin health

Papaya is a great food for skin health. this is thanks to the bright orange colour pigment in its flesh. This is given by a group of compounds called carotenoids. These are antioxidants that are fat soluble. Because of their fat soluble nature, they don’t want to stay in circulation very long. Instead they want to migrate out into fatty tissues, such as the fatty subcutaneous layer of the skin. This layer contains important structures such as collagen and elastin fibres that give skin its structural integrity and support. The pilosebaceous unit is also found here. This is the area where the oil secreting gland and hair follicle meet. This is the area that gets infected during an acne flare up. When we regularly consume foods rich in carotenoids, they can start to accumulate in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. When they accumulate here, they can offer antioxidant protection to collagen and elastin. Protecting these structures against oxidative damage can help to reduce ageing of the skin. Carotenoids can also deliver some degree of anti-inflammatory activity. As such, when they accumulate in the subcutaneous layer of the skin they can offer localised anti-inflammatory activity, so can benefit issues such as acne and eczema.