Health Benefits Of Papaya Fruit, Seeds & Leaves For Skin, Hair & Pregnancy..Nutrition Facts & Side Effects
Papaya has been used since ancient times in the treatment of diseases such as hemorrhoids, rheumatism, digestion problems, sunburn, warts, and even cancers.
This wonderful food will be the subject of our discourse today as we get to know the nutritional benefits of consuming the fruit.
What is papaya fruit?
Papaya, also known as Carica papaya by botanists, or pawpaw (as it is known in some regions), is a large tropical fruit with a yellowish to orange flesh. This fruit which is popular among people in the tropics is a storehouse of nutrients.
According to historical data, papaya is believed to have originated in Southern Mexico and Central America. However, the fruit has since spread to other parts of the world and can be gotten at anytime of the year.
Nutritional information about papaya fruit
It is no wonder that the great explorer, Christopher Columbus, called papaya, “fruit of angels.” This highly nutritious fruit is endowed with numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.
A medium-sized papaya fruit contains 120 calories with 30 grams of carbohydrates (18 grams of sugar and 5 grams of dietary fiber), 2 grams of protein, minerals including magnesium, and calcium. Papaya is loaded with antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and enzymes like papain, which is the main active compound in the fruit.
How to consume papaya
The papaya fruit can be consumed in its raw form, blended for its juice, or processed into a smoothie. You can also chop the fruit and mix it with onions, tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro to make salsa.
As a tip, when selecting your papayas, opt for the fresh ones with a deep orange color and fleshy skin. You can cut the fruit the same way you cut your melon, and, using a spoon, scoop the seeds out.
Health benefits of papaya fruit
Papaya is a wonderful fruit that is not just delightful to the taste buds, but also nourishing to the entire body. Some of the health benefits of consuming the fruit are listed below:
- Highly nutritious: Aside from the delicious tastiness of papaya, they are also packed with nutrients, as already mentioned. Papayas are rich in antioxidants, vitamin, and minerals, that essential for good health.
- Controls diabetes: By helping to lower the blood glucose levels, papaya makes a great choice for diabetes patients. Moreover, eating papayas can help in preventing diabetes in people who don’t have it.
- Protection against infections: The body’s immune system can be fortified by feeding on papayas. This is because of the high antioxidant and vitamin levels in the fruit, especially vitamin C. The risk of contracting diseases like HPV (human papilloma virus) infection can be reduced by eating at least one papaya fruit each week.
- Aids in weight loss: Eating papayas is a simple and healthy way of shedding off some weight. While the fiber helps to create a satiating feeling, the low fat content works by preventing the accumulation of unwanted fat.
- Prevention of asthma: The high concentration of certain nutrients like beta-carotene in papaya has been linked with a lower risk of asthma development in persons that consume the fruit.
- Lowers bad cholesterol levels: Papayas are also beneficial to the body as they help in lowering the bad cholesterol levels. High bad (HDL) cholesterol levels in the body have been linked to several heart problems including hypertension.
- For a healthy heart: Low cholesterol and normal blood pressure levels are important for cardiovascular health. Moreover, the presence f vitamin and lycopene – an antioxidant – in papaya are considered to be helpful in preventing heart disease.
- Improves vision: Papaya is rich in many vitamins including vitamin A which is associated with good vision. Although the vitamin A content in papaya is not as high as in carrots, the eyes can still benefit from the fruit. The effects of aging on the eyes can be reduced by eating some pawpaw fruits. Furthermore, papaya also contains zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that protects the eyes by helping in filtering out damaging blue light rays.
- For dental health: Besides the fruit of the papaya tree, the bark and the roots also have medicinal properties. The root can be crushed into a paste and applied on the gums and teeth to treat toothache while the inner part of the bark can also be used.
- Aids in wound healing: While more studies need to be conducted, preliminary research results show that topical application of papaya fruit on an open wound can help in expediting the healing process.
- For menstruating women: Irregular menstruation can be corrected by adding unripe papaya to the daily diet. This is because the unripe fruit helps in creating heat in the body that promotes the release of estrogen. Further, papain, which is an enzyme in papaya, is helpful in relieving the pain that is associated with menstruation. Thus, adding some papayas to your daily diet as a lady will help to ease the monthly pain.
- Aids in digestion: The presence of papain in papaya also plays a role in digestion. This enzyme, in addition to the fiber in the fruit, helps in promoting proper digestion.
- Good for the skin: Skin problems such as sunburn, acne, and eczema can be treated using papaya. Rubbing the peel of the fruit on the skin has been shown to have positive effects on the skin. This is due to the papain content in the peels.
- Treatment of arthritis: Chymopapain and papain in papaya are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that inflammatory conditions like arthritis can be treated with papaya.
- Anti-aging food: Growing old can take a toll on the body; to reduce the effects of aging, eating antioxidant-rich foods like papaya is recommended. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins like vitamins C and E are beneficial in fighting the effects of free radicals on the skin, therefore, slowing down the aging process.
- Cancer prevention: The action of antioxidants present in papaya is helpful in prevention of cancer. According to studies, the risk of prostate and colon cancer can be reduced by including papayas in the diet.
- Good for the hair: The vitamins A and C content of pawpaw is also beneficial to the hair. This is because vitamin A is required for the production of sebum, which helps to moisturize the hair. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is beneficial to hair health as it is important for the production of collagen, needed for thick hair. Apart from this, vitamin A is also vital for hair growth.
- Relieves stress: Papaya fruit contains a good amount of vitamin C and other powerful nutrients that help in reducing the symptoms of stress.
Side effects of eating papaya fruit
While moderate consumption of papaya is considered safe, there may be adverse side effects of eating the fruit, particularly in excess. Some of the possible side effects of eating papaya are:
- Risk of poisoning: It has been found that the seeds of the pawpaw fruit contain minute amount of carpine, which is a potentially harmful enzyme. Research results suggest that this enzyme can cause health problems like paralysis; hence, needs to be avoided.
- Risk of kidney stones: The high concentration of vitamin C in papaya can be harmful when taken in excess. This is because the body processes the vitamin C and produces some by-products like oxalates that turn into kidney stones.
- May be harmful to the esophagus: Overconsumption of papaya can cause damage to the gullet, according to research.
- Risk of hypoglycemia: Though there isn’t sufficient research result to back this claim, some reports hint that eating too much papaya can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), especially in diabetics.
- Digestion problems: The risk of developing digestion problems like bloating and diarrhea can be increased when you take too much papaya. While this might sound ironic, it is, however, the truth. The high fiber content of the fruit may not be properly digested in the stomach and can lead to constipation.
- Unsafe for pregnant women: Papain in papaya may not so beneficial to pregnant women. This is due to the fact that the enzyme may damage vital membranes needed for proper fetal development in the womb.
- Drug interaction: Some reports suggest that the actions of blood-thinning medications like warfarin may be negatively affected by papaya. Hence
Papaya is more than a delicious fruit. This tropical fruit can be savored in different ways and provides the body with essential nutrients. Its rich antioxidant content arms it with various medicinal properties that are beneficial in preventing and treating many diseases.
However, there are possible side effects and risks of eating papaya, especially in excess. Thus, you may need to consult with your doctor, if you have any notable health condition, before adding the fruit to your diet.
All being said, the side effects of eating papaya should not deter you from enjoying the many health benefits of the “fruit of angels.”