Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Can Papaya help us avoid ageing diseases?
The world’s population is getting older thanks to modern medical care and the advances of technology, we are also taking charge of our own health care and are teaching ourselves about exercise, health and nutrition. But the chances are, that if you do live to reach your seventies you may get one of the more than sixty fives chronic degenerative diseases that are causing today’s older generation a lot of pain and anxiety.
Chronic generative diseases is a group term for a whole range of conditions that are slow developing diseases characterised by the gradual deterioration of the organs, cells and nerves that are affected. They can affect different parts of the body and according to the World Health Organisation they are the leading cause of death in the world today.
Much of the research done today is around trying to prevent these diseases from occurring. A few of these diseases will be immediately recognisable to you – Alzheimers (a disease involving slow memory loss) and diminished thinking capacity is one of those that belong in the chronic degenerative disease category.
Another common one is Osteoporosis, this is possibly less frightening but very wide spread and would be associated with the high number of hip replacement surgeries now performed routinely in western medical centres.
Medical researchers have been trying to find a common cause between the rising number of age related diseases. Many doctors would suggest that a western diet does not offer sufficient nutrition. The western lifestyle also revolves around stress and fast food and the intake of healthy nutritious food has not been a focus until recent years.
People are beginning to look at where their food is grown and how their food is prepared and a younger generation is beginning to think that quality food is better than quantity. The explosion of health supplements and vitamin tablets may seek to address a diet that has been badly managed for too many years.
Recent studies show that the high vegetable, low fat content in the Asian diet offers their elderly population a greater chance of avoiding degenerative diseases. The fresh vegetables and fruit they eat in high quantities also contributes to the fact they have fewer free radicals in their bodies which can cause cancer.
There have been recent studies that have revealed that the humble fruit known as the paw-paw or papaya which is eaten as a breakfast fruit or a desert may be much more than a delicious snack. The rich yellow fleshy fruit have two special enzymes - papain and chymopapain - which helps with digestion and mainly breaks down the protein into amino acids.
Research shows that as we age our bodies produce less digestive enzymes in our stomach and pancreas, which leads to the ineffective digestion of proteins. Due to this we end up with excess amount of undigested protein, and the growth of bad bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract.
Papaya is one of the yellow fruits that contains many antioxidants, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, C and E. It also contains small amount of calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and niacine and carotenoids and bioflavonoids, two classes of phytochemicals that scientists are studying extensively for their health-promoting potential.
While studying this popular breakfast melon, the scientists have found its vitamin -rich properties may help prevent other chronic degenerative conditions like cataract formation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diverticulosis, and possibly, hypertension.
Research has shown that it has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and the ripe fruit is good at preventing constipation. It is loaded with vitamins and beats the orange hands down in fighting colds and flu. In the intestine it works very well to soothe irritable bowel and can break down pus and mucus at infection sites. Some people claim they have used the seeds as a treatment for expelling intestinal worms and others says the fruit helps to treat nausea.
Perhaps we need to look more closely at nature’s pharmacy for the answers to the medical challenges that will face the next generation. Prevention is always better than cure!
For more information, visit the 1 Stop Health Shop website: