Papaya is an age-old remedy known for heartburn. The enzyme present in papaya known as papain helps to get rid of heartburn, improves digestion.
The world today has become fast-paced and no one has time for a healthy, well-balanced meal. Fast food is becoming the common diet to match up to the fast pace of the people consuming it.
This lifestyle and diet, however, comes with its own share of problems which sooner or later surface and cause severe discomfort. Indigestion and heartburn are one of these problems which are rapidly increasing.
However, nature has a cure for everything and the cure for a heartburn and indigestion can be found in Papaya.
Since, the time plants and natural ingredients were used to treat the bodily ailments, papaya is one fruit which has been used extensively for its medicinal properties to treat a whole variety of issues.
The fruit has been commonly recommended for treating heartburn resulting from indigestion and the other parts of the papaya plant have also found equal use in natural treatment.
Let’s see to it in detail.
Why Papaya Plant Is Useful For Heartburn
The papaya is a small branched tree usually having a single stem and large spirally arranged leaves. The fruit is a spongy large berry with a central hollow cavity, green in color and hard when unripe, orange and soft when ripened. It contains a soft orange flesh and black seeds inside.
In terms of nutritional value, the following is the nutritional composition per 100 grams of papaya:
- 43 Calories
- 3g Total Fat
- 0 mg Cholesterol
- 8 mg Sodium
- 182 mg Potassium
- 11 g Total Carbohydrate
- 7 g Dietary fibre
- 8 g Sugar
- 5 g Protein
- 19% Vitamin A
- 101% Vitamin C
- 2% Calcium
- 1% Iron
- 5% Magnesium
Papaya is very low in calories making it light for the stomach and easy to digest. It contains a large amount of dietary fiber that aids digestion and beta-carotene and several other enzymes which are beneficial for digestion.
The enzyme Papain especially aids in digestion and prevents problems like indigestion and consequent heartburn.
The papaya plant contains a white milky substance with latex like consistency which is a very rich source of the enzyme papain.
This milky substance is found in the stem and leaves of the papaya plant and is also used for its medicinal properties.
How To Use Papaya For Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when there is acid reflux into the esophagus. Since papaya has active enzymes and is rich in fiber which aids digestion it is commonly used as a natural cure for heartburn.
Some of the benefits and reasons for using papaya to treat this condition are:
- Unlike over the counter medicines, papaya being a natural fruit does not have any side effects on consumption and in fact helps in treating a whole lot of other body ailments like moisturizing the skin, boosting hair growth and immunity, maintaining a healthy heart, etc.
- Papain, the enzyme found in Papaya, helps to dissolve and digest protein which eases stomach ailments and indigestion.
- Papain also breaks down tough meat fibers and for this reason, it is often used in restaurants as the major ingredient in commercial meat tenderizers which helps in preventing heartburn due to indigestion.
- Papain also helps in breaking down carbohydrates like wheat gluten, starchy foods, such as bread, cereals and potatoes and is especially helpful for those suffering from Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease where ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
- The fiber content in papaya helps to settle down the digested food, reducing the chances of an acid reflux and also easing problems like travel and motion sickness.
- Papaya helps in stimulating the bowels in case of constipation and is also useful in treating inflammatory bowel disorders, preventing constipation and other digestive disorders which cause heartburn.
- Papain in unripe Papaya’s white milky sap has been known to kill parasites in the stomach and intestine by digesting them due to which it has been used in herbal medicine to kill and expel worms.
- Papaya stimulates digestive acids and the production of bile, which also lead to a healthier liver and pancreas, aiding in smoother digestive functioning.
- Papain breaks down the food into simpler amino acids, decreasing the workload on the stomach to digest the food, decreasing the chances of an acid reflux and a heartburn.
- Papaya also has laxative properties which aid in smoother bowel movement and prevent food and acid build up in the stomach.
Since heartburn is caused due to indigestion, a smooth and functional digestive system is essential to prevent it. Since papaya plays a very active part in aiding digestion it is a highly recommended remedy for heartburn.
Caution While Consuming Papaya
Papaya as a fruit and a plant has several advantages. However, in certain cases caution should be maintained while consuming it.
a. Unripe papaya causes uterine contractions and hence should not be consumed by pregnant women as it may lead to premature contractions which can lead to certain complications.
b. Papaya should also be avoided or had in small amounts if you are prescribed blood-thinning medicines as it can further thin the blood increasing the chances of excessive bleeding
c. Papaya, if consumed in high quantities, might cause discoloration of the skin which is medically known as Carotenemia due to the presence of Beta Carotene the pigment which gives the papaya its orange colour. In this condition, your eye white, soles, and palms turn yellow. It is a very harmless condition and only temporary and required no treatment what so ever.
d. Since papaya is a rich source of Vitamin C, excessive consumption can lead to renal stones being formed due to presence of excess vitamins in the body.
e. The leaves, seeds and flesh of the papaya contain Carpaine which is an anthelmintic alkaloid. While this chemical is effective in flushing the parasitic worms from your stomach, consuming high amounts of carpaine is known to lower the pulse rate in a dangerous way, affecting the functioning of nervous system which could cause further severe health complications.
f. Being a fibrous fruit, papaya is not safe if consumed in excessive amounts during diarrhoea. The fibre present in papaya binds with the stools and can worsen the condition causing dehydration.
g. Some people may be allergic to the enzyme Papain which is found abundantly in papaya. Hence, it is advisable to not consume papaya if you are allergic to papain as it may trigger an allergic reaction leading to inflammation, difficulty in breathing, etc.
Overall, papaya remains a highly beneficial fruit for preventing and treating heartburn and a host of other disorders. Anything if consumed in excess is harmful and the same applies for papaya. A healthy intake of papaya is recommended to battle heartburn and indigestion as excessive consumption of the fruit can have the opposite effect.
Papaya Recipe’s For Heart Burn
Papaya is commonly used as an ingredient in several dishes and its inclusion in meals not only adds nutritional value but also aids digestion. Even when cooked, papaya retains its fibre content even if its active enzymes break down and stills help in smooth functioning of the digestive system.
For this reason, papaya is best consumed in the fruit form rather than juice or cooked form as the fruit retains all its natural beneficial properties.
Some of the recipes that incorporate papaya are:
i. Raw Papaya Salad
- 1 whole medium sized raw papaya
- Sesame seeds- 2 Tbsp.
- Green or red chillies- 2 to 3
- Sun-dried fish or cottage cheese
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Peel the papaya and shred in small pieces. Keep it aside
- Roast the chillies and sun dried fish or cottage cheese and mash them together to make a paste
- Add salt and roast the sesame seeds to make a paste
- Mix all the ingredients in a plate and garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve
ii. Papaya Cubes
- 250 gm raw papaya, grated
- 150gm matta (whole wheat flour)
- 3 Tbsp grated coconut
- 2 Tbsp chopped cashew nuts
- 1 tsp raisins
- 2 Tbsp jaggery
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- Take the flour in a bowl and mix in raw papaya. Knead it lightly to make a mixture.
- Add the grated coconut, chopped cashews, raisins, cardamom powder and jaggery. Mix them well.
- Line a flat tin with butter paper or grease it well and pour the mixture into it. Even out the edges with a spoon and steam it for 10 minutes.
- Invert the tin on a baking tray and decorate with some cashew nuts.
- Bake it for 3-4 minutes at 180 degrees C
- Cut the baked mixture into cubes and serve.
- Chopped Potatoes- 2
- Chopped Raw Papaya- 1
- Split chickpeas- 250 grams
- Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp.
- Little water
- Little bit smashed Ginger
- Whole Red Chillies- 2
- Mustard Oil- 3 Tbsp
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp. Paanchporan
- 1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds
- 1 onion, Julianne
- Little bit chopped Ginger
- 2 Split whole Green Chillies
- Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp.
- Red chilli powder- 1 tsp.
- Coriander Powder- 1 tsp.
- Salt for taste
- Sugar- 1 tsp.
In a cooker pressure cook till one whistle the chopped raw papaya, potatoes, split chick peas, turmeric powder, salt for taste, a little water, smashed ginger and the whole red chillies.
- In a pan add the mustard oil, bay leaf, paanchporan, cumin seeds, julian onion, chopped ginger and the split whole green chillies. Mix them together.
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and coriander powder, salt to taste, sugar and lime to the mixture and stir them well.
- Transfer it to the pan and let it simmer it for 35-40 minutes. Serve hot
iv. Watermelon And Coconut Ice Cream With Papaya Sauce
For The Papaya Sauce
- 1 Tbsp lemon olive oil
- 150 gm papaya, peeled and de-seeded
- Salt and pepper to taste
For Balsamic Glaze
- 4. 60 ml balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- Half coconut shell
- A dash of rose water
For The Sorbet
- 100ml watermelon juice
- 100ml coconut milk
- Dry ice
- Blend the olive oil, papaya and pepper into a nice sauce and f it gets too thick add some watermelon juice to thin it down.
- Add balsamic vinegar and sugar in a pan and let it reduce till it gets to a syrupy consistency for the balsamic glaze and slice a little coconut as a garnish.
- Slowly add the dry ice into a bowl of coconut milk and watermelon juice and keep stirring for the ice cream
- Add some rosewater to this and keep stirring till the milk and juice come to an ice cream like consistency.
- Serve with a scoop of the coconut milk and watermelon ice cream with the papaya sauce drizzled with the balsamic glaze.
So, involve Papaya in your diet to stay healthy.
Heart Burn And Its Causes
Heartburn or acid indigestion is a burning sensation in the central chest or upper central abdomen area caused due to gastric reflux into the oesophagus. The oesophagus also known as the food pipe is the muscular tube that connects our mouth to out stomach.
The end of the tube near the stomach has special muscles known as the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (LES) which prevent the food from re-entering the food pipe once the food is in the stomach.
During the process of digestion, several acids and enzymes are released into the stomach to break down the food and digest it. Sometimes due to the excessive acid content or other functional problems the contents of the stomach reflux back into the oesophagus.
Since the lining of the oesophagus is not as tough as that of the stomach, the acid present into reflux causes inflammation and a burning sensation in the oesophagus which is known as a heartburn.
Causes Of Heartburn Include
- Some food and drinks like alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, acidic juices like grapefruit, orange, pineapple and acidic foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and oranges stimulate increased stomach acid secretion and can lead to a heartburn.
- Over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. also may cause heartburn.
- Smoking and the consumption of food with a large fat and oil content affect the function of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), causing it to relax from the stomach which allows acid to reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
- Having a very heavy meal that stretches the stomach beyond its normal capacity.
- Having very spicy food and peppers which may irritate the stomach lining and lead to an acid reflux.
Heartburn is a major symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which is a disease in which the contents of the stomach are thrown back into the esophagus due to several functional issues.
Since heartburn often results from indigestion, one of the major and most popular cures for heartburn is consuming the papaya fruit which not only aids in digestion but also helps to keep the stomach cool and absorb excessive acids.