Knowledge: Papaya Fruit (Carica Papaya)

Papaya (Carica Papaya)

Papaya, also known as papaw or pawpaw is a tropical fruit plant natively grown in the tropics of Americas (Central America and southern America). It is then naturalized throughout the Caribbean Islands, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and other tropical and subtropical climates of the world.

Papaya fruit/berry is usually in vibrant green to orange colour and is in large cylinder or spherical shape, about 15-45 cm long with 10-30 cm wide in diameter. Ripen papaya will attain an amber to orange hue skin and are having softer flesh. The flesh of papaya fruit is typically sweet, soft and juicy and it is a delectable fruit that is hard to resist.

Papaya is enriched with the goodness of nature and it is known as “fruit of the angels” as the nutrient density is so high that it is considered to be suitable for angels.

Phytochemicals

Papain = Papain is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of the papaya plant. Proteolytic enzymes help break proteins down into smaller protein fragments called peptides and amino acids. This is why papain is a popular ingredient in meat tenderizer.

Lycopene = a plant nutrient with antioxidant properties. It’s the pigment that gives red and pink fruits, such as tomatoes, watermelons and pink grapefruit, their characteristic color.

One small papaya (152 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 59
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 14% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 11% of the RDI
  • Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E and K.

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HEALTH BENEFITS

Rich sources of antioxidants

Randomised cross-over study
Subject Healthy participants (n = 16)
Group
  1. Carrots
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Papaya
Duration 1 month
Dosage Volume of tomato and papaya fed = 13 mg of lycopene

Papaya = 400-506g
Tomato = 256-396g
Carrot = 25-35g

Parameters analyzed
  • Blood sampling at  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9.5 h and TAG-rich lipoprotein (TRL) fractions isolation
  • Analysis of carotenoids in TAG-rich lipoprotein samples
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • The bioavailability of β-carotene from papayas was approximately three times higher than that from carrots and tomatoes
  • Similarly, lycopene was approximately 2.6 times more bioavailable from papayas than from tomatoes.

Figure 1: Baseline-corrected plasma TAF-rich lipoprotein concentrations of a) total lycopene, b) β-carotene and c) retinyl esters over 9.5 h after the consumption of the test meals.

Functions Papaya was shown to provide highly bioavailable β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene and may represent a readily available dietary source of provitamin A for reducing the incidence of vitamin A deficiencies in many subtropical and tropical developing countries.

Improve digestive system

Randomized Controlled Trial (Double blind placebo controlled)
Subject Volunteers with chronic indigestions and dysfunctions in gastrointestinal tract
Groups
  1. Placebo
  2. Papaya preparation
Duration 40 days
Dosage 20 mL daily
Parameters analyzed Symptoms of:

  • constipation
  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • painful bowel movement
Outcomes Visible benefits

Statistically significant improvements of the symptoms “constipation” and “bloating”.

Functions Papaya preparation (Caricol®) contributes to the maintenance of digestive tract physiology. It ameliorates various functional disturbances, like symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Protect against skin damage (photoprotection)

Clinical study
Subject Adults with skin type-II
Group
  1. Tomato paste
  2. Carrot juice
  3. Lycopene supplement (4.9 mg lycopene and 0.2 mg b-carotene)
  4. Lycopene drink (4.1 mg lycopene and 0.2 mg b-carotene)
  5. Synthetic lycopene (5.1 mg lycopene)
Duration 10-12 weeks
Dosage Lycopene sourced from tomato, carrot juice
*papaya also contains lycopene

Lycopene per 100g
Guava 5204 μg
Tomato 3041 μg
Watermelon 4532 μg
Pink Grapefruit 1419 μg
Papaya 1828 μg
Red bell pepper 484 μg
Persimmon 159 μg
b-carotene per 100g
Baked sweet potatoes 11509 μg
Carrot 8332 μg

BOTH lycopene and beta-carotene are different forms of carotenoids that absorb different wavelength of light during photosynthesis.

Parameters analyzed Photoprotective effects after consumption
Outcomes Visible benefits

After 10-12 weeks of intervention a decrease in the sensitivity towards UV-induced erythema was observed in volunteers. Dietary carotenoids may contribute to life-long protection against harmful UV radiation.

Figure 1: Difference of chromametry α-values between before and after irradiation.

*Decreasing Da-values in comparison to week 0 (set to 100%) reflect a protection against UV-induced erythema.

Functions Plant constituents such as carotenoids and flavonoids are involved in the light-protecting system in plants and contribute to the prevention of UV damage in humans.

Lycopene is the major carotenoid of the papaya and is a very efficient singlet oxygen quencher in the group of carotenoids.

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