Pineap­ple and pa­paya: a match made for heav­enly health

Paradise - - Living | Wellness - BY BRON­WEN GORA

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.

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