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Pawpaw, remedy for treating various diseases- Nutritionist

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Hajiya Jummai Abdul, a Nutritionist at the Wuse General Hospital, Abuja, said on Monday that pawpaw (papaya) was a remedy for the treatment of various diseases.

Abdul told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that pawpaw prevented heart diseases and lowered the risks of many ailments, including cancer.

She said pawpaw was a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and special digestive enzymes that had a remarkable internal and external effects.

“Ripe pawpaw is a great source of antioxidant vitamin `C’, vitamin `E’ and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red colour.

“The rich antioxidant contents of pawpaw, particularly, were beneficial in reducing the risk of developing cancer,’’ she said.

According to Abdul, the high levels of these valuable nutrients helped to protect the skin against free radicals known to cause damage leading to wrinkles and other visible signs of ageing.

She added that pawpaw also helped in wound healing, burns and assisted in the treatment of skin problems like acne, blemishes and age spots.

She explained that the high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in pawpaw might also protect against developing cataracts, glaucoma and other chronic eye diseases.

“Other good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are spinach, broccoli and the yolks from free range eggs,’’ the nutritionist said.

Abdul said the high level of vitamins `C’ and `E,’ along with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene in pawpaw, could help reduce the oxidisation of cholesterol in the arteries.

According to her, cholesterol oxidisation is considered a dangerous process, potentially leading to arteries blocking with plaque that can result in heart attacks.

“Increasing one’s intake of these antioxidants from healthy food like pawpaw may help improve blood flow to the heart and reduce the risk of developing heart disease,” she said.

Abdul also explained that pawpaw was a good source of foliate which helped control homocysteine levels in the bloodstream.

NAN reports that high levels of homocysteine in the blood is known to damage blood vessels and is considered another potential cause of cardiovascular disease.

She further explained that the beneficial fibre in pawpaw helped to lower undesirable low density lipoprotein( LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting its absorption during digestion.

Abdul also said the enzymes in pawpaw, especially the green fruit, could improve digestion by breaking down proteins into the individual amino acids.

“There are several important compounds that make pawpaw a beneficial fruit for reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancers.”

Abdul recommended that to improve the skin, relieve digestion problems, protect the eyes, heart and possibly lower risk of many diseases like cancer; one should cultivate the habit of eating pawpaw. (NAN)

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