Papaya is a tropical food originated in Mexico and today stands as one of the most famous fruits worldwide. It is known for its juicy, luscious taste. And found mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Though the fruits belong to the Americas, it has a popular connection with the Asian food. The fruit’s scientific name is Carica papaya, but it is also called as papaw or pawpaw in various regions of the world.
Incredible Benefits of Papaya
Papaya is not just known for its delicious taste, but it is also has some great health benefits. Keep reading to know about some amazing papaya benefits and everything else you should know about the yummy fruit.
Why should you eat papaya?
Papaya is replete with nutritional health benefits, aids digestion, improves immunity, promotes weight loss and balances your heart health. Apart from being a tasty fruit to savor, papaya is also used in various other ways. The fruit, along with the many different parts of the tree, are beneficial for your health. It its raw state, papaya consists of enzymes that are used to prepare dietary supplements and gums. The latex from the raw fruit works as a perfect meat tenderizer. It also comes to use for the manufacturing of various skin and beauty products.
What are the nutrition facts of papaya?
As per USDA National Nutrient Database, the fruit is high in antioxidant nutrients like flavonoids, carotenes and Vitamin C. It is also rich in Vitamin B (pantothenic acid and folate). The fruit is an excellent source of fiber and minerals like magnesium. When combined, these nutrients help promoting your cardiovascular health and prevent colon cancer.
- Water – 88.06g
- Energy – 43Kcal
- Protein – 0.47g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.26g
- Carbohydrate, by difference – 10.82g
- Fiber, total dietary – 1.7g
- Sugars, total – 7.82g
- Calcium, Ca – 20 mg
- Iron, Fe – 0.25 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 21 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 10 mg
- Potassium, K – 182 mg
- Sodium, Na – 8 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 0.08mg
- Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid – 60.9mg
- Thiamin – 0.02mg
- Riboflavin – 0.03mg
- Vitamin A, IU – 950 IU
- Niacin – 0.36mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.04 mg
- Folate, DFE – 37µg
- Vitamin A, RAE – 47 µg
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – 0.3mg
- Fatty acids, total saturated – 0.08g
- Vitamin K (phylloquinone)- 2.6 µg
- Fatty acids, total monounsaturated – 0.07g
What are the health benefits of papaya?
Papaya works as an amazing natural remedy for resolving digestive issues like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), indigestion, heartburn and constipation. Neuro Endocrinology Letters published a study that concluded that papaya consumption works in favor of our digestive system. It helps maintaining the digestive tract and resolving digestive issues.
Helps prevent infections
Papayas can kill intestinal worms, which helps avoiding any infections and serious complications.
For quick relief from toothache, make a paste of the fresh roots of papaya and rub onto the affected area. It works as a great home remedy for tooth and gum problems. The inner bark of the tree also helps relieving toothache.
Promotes weight loss
If you are trying to lose weight naturally, papayas can be your good friend! With its vitamins, fiber, water and mineral content, papaya becomes a decent weight loss food for people on diet. Just have a bowl of papaya s your mid-morning or mid-evening snack.
Has anticancer properties
According to some researchers, papaya is an effective fruit to fight against pancreatic, breast and other types of cancers. In a study, papaya leaf extract produced amazing anti-carcinogenic effects against the tumor cells developed in the laboratory. Researchers in a 2010 study saw these effects were string than expected, especially when the cells received larger dosage of papaya leaf tea. The growth of tumor cells gradually slowed down with different kinds of papaya leaf extracts.
In another study, scientists suggested that the element lycopene in papaya works as a strong antioxidant, which helps relieve the cancer radiotherapy effects. A research published in the journal Mutation showed that using fermented papaya can help minimizing oxidative stress and risks of cancer in patients having type 2 diabetes.
The growing popularity of papaya as an anticancer element made it one of the main components of anticancer medicines.
Helps in skin care
Papayas can be a perfect rejuvenation product for your skin. You will find various cosmetic containing papaya in one or the other form and women also use it for their daily natural face masks. The papain element in papayas has the ability to kill the dead skin cells and purify the skin. The healing enzymes and other beneficial properties of the fruit help in treating irritated skin and sunburn. Lycopene in papayas helps minimizing wrinkles in post-menopausal woman, as per the reports of a 2014 study.
A nice facial massage with papaya can be a special remedy for your dead skin cells. If you are someone who spends more time outdoors, use papaya for your natural home-made face packs as they fight free radicals responsible for ageing. You can also use papaya peels for skin acre. Rub it on the face and hands for a glowing skin. It can also help treating skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema and more.
Boosts heart health
Papaya seeds ca keep your heart healthy. It has three strong antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin a, E and C, which make it a helpful agent in avoiding problems like atherosclerosis and other diabetic heart diseases. The pro-carotenoid phytonutrients in papaya are capable of preventing cholesterol oxidation in your body. Due to the oxidation of cholesterol, it sticks to the lining of your blood vessels and form plaque that leads to heart strokes and heart attacks.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E in the fruit are beneficial in keeping the cholesterol from sticking to the blood vessel walls, making your heart healthy. Being an excellent source of fiber, papayas can reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your body. So, you should include papaya as a snack in your daily healthy diet, keeping your heart young and healthy.
Reduces burns and acne
The latex from papayas is generally used for treating the acne-prone areas of your face (skin). You can use the fleshy part of the fruit as a face mask to treat acne. A papaya-included diet helps curing the problem of acne internally, which makes your skin healthier.
So, you got a burn? Use papaya as a natural remedy. The latex from papaya is used as an ointment for the burnt part. It reduces the burnt marks a, making it an efficient source to help treating wounds, sores and ulcers.
Has anti-inflammatory effects
The research published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research concluded that the enzymes in papayas, mainly chymopapain and papain reduce inflammation of the different body parts.
Prevents macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is condition of eye disorder that becomes prominent with the growing age. In this condition, the ocular cells starts degenerating, which further results in blurred vision and can also cause permanent blindness. The beta-carotene antioxidant in papaya gives it the orange color. As with carrots, the beta-carotene antioxidants present in papayas are effective in minimizing the adverse effects of macular degeneration.
Following the results of a study out in the Archives of Ophthalmology, taking 3 or more servings of papaya with your daily diet can lower the risk of macular degeneration with age.
Reduces the chances of constipation
The presence of Vitamin C, folate and Vitamin E in the delicious fruit works great for motion sickness as it produces a tonic effect in the intestines and stomach. Eating a ripe papaya or consuming papaya juice can improve your digestion. The fiber content of papaya aids in increasing bowel movements, as reported in a study by a team of researchers in Austria. The regular bowel movements eases the passage of stool, minimizing the effects of constipation.
Reduces menstrual cramps
Eating papaya or papaya juice can do wonders for the problem of irregular menstrual cycle and unbearable pain. Consumption of unripe, green papayas can balance the irregular menses. It is known as ‘hot food’ for women, which indicates that the fruit produces heat in your body. The extra heat production in the body is believed to boost the release of estrogen hormone, which induces menstrual cycles in women. If you have irregular and painful periods, include papaya in your daily diet.
Prevents the symptoms of arthritis
As per medical reports, papayas can fight against osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. One of the many enzymes found in the fruit, chymopapain, plays a significant role in controlling osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
How to enjoy papayas?
- Blend yogurt, papayas and strawberries for a healthy cold smoothie.
- Soak small pieces of papaya in a mix of honey and lemon for a tasty treat for your sweet tooth.
- Add a few slices of papaya in your fruit salad and have it as a healthy morning or evening snack.
- Have a bowl of ripe and fresh papaya with breakfast to add the required calories for the day.
Are there any side-effects of papaya?
FDA (Food and Drugs Association) has approved consumption of papaya in decent amounts, but there are still some side-effects of papaya for:
Pregnant Woman: Papaya is a harmful fruit for pregnant women. The latex is present in high concentrations in raw or semi-ripe papaya leading to uterine contractions which can result in miscarriage. So, you should avoid eating raw papaya during pregnancy.
Gastrointestinal irritation: Consumption of papaya in excessive amounts can lead to strong laxative effect in your intestines. You should not eat papaya in large amounts, mainly in its raw form. Raw or unripe papaya can lead to pain in the stomach or intestines. It can also lead to esophageal perforations.
Seeds: Papaya seeds consist of traces of the carpine enzyme, a potentially toxic element. As per the information of International BioPark Foundation about the Peruvian Amazon’s medicinal plants, the carpine enzyme makes the nerve centers numb, leading to cardiac depression or paralysis. There are cases when the blood vessels gets narrow because of the enzyme.
What are some easy ways of preparing and eating papaya?
Papaya can be prepared in many easy ways, one of them is to eat the fruit raw. Wait for the papaya to ripen and remove the seeds. Use a paring knife or spoon to scoop it out.
You can also eat papaya raw, add it to salads, smoothies or desserts. There are several recipes you can try for a tasty treat, some of which are:
- Green Papaya Salad
- Papaya Quinoa
- Papaya Avocado Salad
- Black bean and rice with red onions and papaya
- Tropical Papaya Smoothie
What can I do with papaya seeds?
After cutting papaya, some people throw the seeds. But, you must know that the seeds are also edible. So, it is totally fine to eat them. The papaya seeds have a peppery flavor and crunchy texture, which makes it a perfect seasoning ingredient for several dishes. Just scoop out the seeds and save it to use later!
After removing the seeds, use a strainer and rinse them with water. Rub them using your hands and remove any residue. Place them on a baking sheet or towel to air-dry. You can now grind or crush the seeds before adding it to a dish.
How can you use papaya for your hair and skin?
Not many people know, papaya is not just an excellent fruit that helps in weight loss, cooking or nutrition, but also beneficial for your hair and skin.
Check out these amazing ways of using papaya for your hair and skin.
Prepare a hair mask with papaya
The flesh of the fruit consists of antioxidants, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are beneficial for your hair. Crush the flesh of the fruit and mix it well in plain yogurt. Apply the paste to wet hair and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse your hair and shampoo like you normally do.
Use papaya to exfoliate your skin
Papaya flesh is also good in exfoliating your skin. Slice a papaya piece and simply rub the flesh on your face. It removes dead skin cells. Leave it for five minutes and rinse your face. Exfoliation helps in moisturizing and softening your skin. It also helps to reduce skin spots and ageing signs.
Apply papaya to relieve sunburn
Being a natural anti-inflammatory agent, papaya can repair sun burnt skin. Let the papaya ripen and crush it using a fork. Apply the crushed papaya on the burnt skin area. Let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse off with cold water.
The Bottom Line
Papaya is a tropical fruit, available across the world. We hope the above-mentioned papaya benefits encourage you to include it in your diet, if you haven’t yet. From skin, health and hair, papaya can help you improve your overall lifestyle.