Papain & papaya

If you can get your hands on a papaya, do! This gift of nature is an exotic treatment for your body.

Papayas are known for their anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties for the whole body. The main enzyme in papaya, called papain, is a known enhancer of wound healing and helps fight infections. Eating papaya weekly can even help keep your teeth healthy! Papaya can also be eaten regularly to smooth digestion and ease symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disease (such as constipation). The seeds of papaya (although not tasty (I tried them)), can be mashed up and eaten to help cure intestinal (parasite) infections. Did you know that drinking fresh papaya leaf juice can even increase blood platelet count in Dengue fever patients? This is a tropical disease that is endemic (common) in south-east Asia – so this piece of information might be crucial to know if you are travelling there!


Overall, papayas are a low calorie fruit rich in antioxidants and minerals essential for healthy skin and healthy intestines. The nutritional value of 100 grams papaya is as follows:

Vitamin C- 61.8 milligram (74%)
Vitamin A- 328 micrograms (41%)
Vitamin B9 – 38 milligram (10%)
Vitamin B6- 0.1 milligram (8%)
Potassium- 257 milligram (5%)
Vitamin B2- 0.05 milligram (4%)
Magnesium- 10 milligram (3%)
Vitamin B1- 0.04 milligram (3%)
Vitamin B3- 0.338 milligram (2%)
Calcium- 24 milligram (2%)
Iron- 0.10 milligram (1%)
Phosphorus- 5 milligram (1%)

Buy a papaya when it’s still green if you want to consume it in 2-3 days, or buy one that is red/orange yet not too soft to touch (overripe) if you want to eat it the same day. You can find papayas in better supermarkets, Asian supermarkets or the local farmers market. To me, the taste of papaya is like a mix of water melon and mango. It’s unusual at first, but extremely refreshing! If you don’t like the taste, mix it up in fruit salads or even just apply it (the fruit pulp or the inside of the papaya skin) topically on your skin for 10 minutes to let papain break down the mean bacteria and give you a natural glow (over the course of several weekly applications).

papaya tree

Did you know that the papaya tree is the only tree without wood? It still grows up to 10 meters high!