Pineapple and papaya: a match made for heavenly health
Pineapple and papaya run neck and neck for the title of Papua New Guinea’s favourite tropical fruit because they are sweet, juicy and plentiful. They are also two of the most powerful fruits in the nutritional department, possessing important digestive enzymes, as well as some of the most effective anti-inflammatory properties of all fruits. From helping heal wounds, soothing arthritic complaints to soothing our stomachs, ingesting either of these two fruits has been found to play a major role in improving a sense of well-being.
Papaya and pineapple contain proteolytic enzymes, which break down proteins, particularly meat. This leads to better absorption of vitamins and minerals while reducing the unsettling feelings of bloating and indigestion.
Papaya enzymes – known as papain – are extracted from the leaves and fruit of the papaya plant and are also good for dispelling painful cramps.
Pineapple enzymes, or bromelain, are found in pineapple juice as well as the stem of the plant. Research shows bromelain to be particularly effective to help heal muscle injuries, boost immunity, and even fight tumours.
Papaya’s enzymes are renowned for being anti-microbial and anti-ulcerative and therefore have been traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal problems, especially stomach ulcers. Western medicine uses papaya enzymes to treat skin afflictions, wounds, diabetic ulcers, lesions and burns. Papaya also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, said by some to reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, colds, ulcers and more, and like pineapple, its healing benefits are particularly effective for treating sports injuries such as torn ligaments and muscles.
Both papaya and pineapple are packed with vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity against disease as well as protect against damaging free radicals.
Vitamin C is a primary weapon in the fight against free radicals, the possible cause of many leading health problems in the South-East Asian and Pacific regions such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, bowel cancer, and the joint pain seen in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There is no denying both taste fabulous, too. Pineapple is wonderfully juicy, sweet when perfectly ripe and is best served in chunks. Papaya’s smooth buttery flesh inspired explorer Christopher Columbus to declare it the “fruit of the angels”.
For full flavour serve papaya and pineapple at room temperature. When cut, the fruit can maintain its nutritional properties for up to five or six days if kept refrigerated.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to eat pineapple and papaya is to combine them in a salad with a scattering of herbs such as mint and/or coriander, some toasted nuts and either shaved coconut or coconut cream with a dash of lime juice.