10 outstanding benefits of Papaya

10 outstanding benefits of Papaya

If at all there is a fruit, I consume the most, it is papaya. Now don’t get me wrong, apples, grapefruit, bananas, and even kiwi are great fruits with various nutritional benefits.

Papaya contains higher proportions of nutrients, including vitamin C which is responsible for your smooth skin, reduced risk of diseases, and a boosted immune system.

This tropical delight ensures your body and its systems are functioning properly. Papaya is a popular fruit with a great taste and vibrant yellow or orange color when ripe.

Unripe papayas have no taste, flavor, and a pale-yellow color but can deliver few benefits for your skin.

Ripe papayas are soft, fleshy, juicy, sweetish with a similar flavor to cantaloupes. Attached to its walls by soft white and fibrous tissues are plenty of black peppery seeds coated with a transparent aril.

Papayas are also versatile. Let’s dive into the world of papaya to know why it is good for us.

What is papaya and its origin

Papaya is a tropical fruit with yellow-orange flesh and black seeds about the size of a pearl. It belongs to the Caricaceae family.

This tropical fruit is plump and round, could be larger, and have different sizes. Most times, its skin could be green, yellow, or both colors.

Papaya or papaw originated from Southern Mexico band some parts of Central and South America.

Back then, it was rare but it is now available in almost all tropical regions around the world. The fruit was introduced in the Caribbean by indigenous people. However, it was carried to Europe and the Pacific Island.

Papaya was then introduced to Hawaii in the 1800s and since then, she has remained the only state in the United States of America to commercially produce papaya.

In the 20th century, a small industry commercially distributing papaya was developed in Florida. Due to a viral disease affecting the cultivation of healthy papaya, the industry rapidly declined.

Thanks to some biotechnologists at the University of Hawaii, a gene was inserted into the “sunrise” cultivar, and viola, the papaya became safe for consumption. It also became the first genetically modified fruit crop.

Hawaii, Australia, the Philippines, Malaya, and India are the world’s most successful commercial producers of papaya since their climate condition is conducive for growth. Papayas cannot survive in cooler temperatures; it could affect the semisweet flavor of the fruit.

Papaya fruit contains juice used in America, Asia, and Eastern Europe to heal some sickness. The juice is rich in an enzyme known as papain used as a meat tenderizer, treatment for digestion, and a topical application for treating cuts, burns, and rashes.

But can we rely on or trust these healing powers? Most research confirms the effectiveness of unripe papaya and its pulp in treating burns and wounds on the flesh.

In a study, the wound healing properties of papaya was attributed to the high content of mineral nutrient, vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and cystein endopeptidase.

In another study to compare the efficacy of papaya pulp with hydrogen peroxide. Papaya was found to be more effective than hydrogen peroxide when used for patients with postoperative wound gape.

While all this is to confirm the effectiveness of papaya in healing wounds, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The papaya fruit can do lots of wonders for your body.

Papaya can be eaten raw by peeling the skin and discarding the seeds. While its black seeds are thrown away, they are actually edible and have a sharp spicy taste- which is sometimes substituted for black pepper

The ripe fruit can be eaten as breakfast, a hydrating snack, and even a healthy dessert. The unripe fruit can be cooked in salads, stews, etc.

Nutrition facts of papaya

Papaya delivers a myriad of health benefits. It is loaded with vitamin C, rich in fiber, and relatively low in calories.

One medium-sized papaya has approximately 5 grams of fiber and you know what that means? Improved digestion, increased satiety levels, weight loss, and lots more.

This yellow-orange fruit contains no cholesterol but is rich in flavonoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the following is the nutritional fact for one small papaya, about 157 grams.

  • 68 calories(cal)
  • 7g dietary fiber: 10% recommended daily value
  • 31 milligrams (mg) calcium: 3.1 % DV
  • 33mg magnesium: 8% DV
  • 86 mg potassium: 6.08% DV
  • 13 mg zinc: 0.9% DV
  • 6 mg vitamin C: 106.2% DV
  • 58 micrograms (mcg) folate: 14.5% DV
  • 1492 International Units (IU) vitamin A: 30% DV
  • 47mg vitamin E: 2.4% DV
  • 1 mcg vitamin K: 5.1% DV
10 outstanding benefits-of-papaya

10 outstanding benefits-of-papaya

Health benefits of papaya

Papaya is a healthy food choice that can have a positive impact on your health. It supplies your body with adequate nutrients and helps your body function optimally.

  1. Promotes Heart Health and Supports Blood Pressure

Papaya is a powerhouse of antioxidants such as lycopene -a plant nutrient, vitamin A and C.

These antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart diseases or failure, prevent oxidative stress, and lower blood pressure due to their inflammatory properties.

Papaya’s antioxidant can protect the heart and enhance the promoting effects of “good” HDL cholesterol. Papaya also contains 0.86 grams of potassium in small papaya. And potassium is known to boost heart health, promote its function and regulate blood pressure.

  1. Aids Digestion

One fruit that can rid you of digestive problems like constipation and keep your digestive system free of these problems is papaya.

Traditionally, even in ancient times, papaya was used to treat indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and other kinds of digestive disorders.

Eating papaya eases indigestion and all thanks to papain, a natural digestive enzyme, and chymopapain. Chymopapain breaks down protein and promotes a healthy acidic environment which soothes the stomach.

Also, papaya has high water content which helps reduce bloating and ensure smooth and regular bowel activity. Papayas are also rich in fiber, with 2.7g of dietary fiber according to the UDSA, which helps to relieve constipation.

  1. Has Anti-cancer Properties

Papaya contains anti-inflammatory properties that can lower the risk of cancer. Research suggests that lycopene can also reduce the risk of cancer and also benefit those undergoing cancer treatment.

According to a study, in men, beta-carotene can protect against prostate cancer and papayas are rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene.

Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are responsible for most types of cancer. Papayas are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals, prevent cell damage, and lower cancer risk.

Papaya seeds are actually rich in flavonoids that can reduce cancer risk by inhibiting the development of cancerous cells.

  1. Boosts Immunity

Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects the body from illnesses and infections, especially the common cold and flu.

  1. Promotes Vision Health

Papaya contains vitamin A and flavonoids that protect the eyes from damage and ensure that the mucus membranes in the eyes are healthy.

Also, papaya can reduce and stop macular degeneration (gradual loss of vision) due to zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant in papaya that filters out the rays that could harm the retina.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), foods rich in antioxidants and has inflammatory properties can reduce age-related eye disease. And papaya contains zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and beta-carotene that can promote good eye health.

  1. Aids in Lowering Blood Pressure

Papaya has been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect on the blood which causes a decrease in blood sugar level.

This is because the body becomes sensitive and reacts to an increase in insulin.  Hence, reducing blood glucose level and the body’s average level of blood sugar over time.

Fiber increases your body’s response to insulin which is great for lowering blood sugar and preventing diabetes. If you are looking for a fruit low in sugar, then papaya is a good option.

  1. Healing Wounds and Treating Wound Infections

Papaya works like magic; it has a healing effect when applied to wounds. While it doesn’t happen immediately on the spot, it can heal wounds faster.

For instance, in Asian folk medicine, latex is used as an antiseptic to dress wounds, treat ringworm, cancer growth, and psoriasis. Papaya contains beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory properties that heal wounds and rid your skin of Infections.

  1. Regulation of Menstruation

Drinking papaya juice can help regulate menstruation. Traditionally, papaya is used as a natural contraceptive especially in the Indian subcontinent.

Most women consume the juice of unripe papaya in large quantities to avoid pregnancy. Papayas can promote heat in the body. And this is thought to stimulate estrogen hormone and signal the arrival of menstruation in females.

Papaya also is a natural remedy for menstrual cramps. A good thing about it is it wouldn’t cause an irregular cycle the way most over-the-counter drugs do.

The papain enzyme in papaya helps in the regulation and easing of menstruation.

  1. Reduces Lung Inflammation

Papaya contains vitamin A which prevents and reduces lung inflammation. Unhealthy foods and lifestyles can promote lung inflammation, including smoking and drinking alcohol.

  1. Aids Weight Loss

Eating papaya is a natural and effective way to lose weight. Papaya is low in calories. 100 grams of papaya contains only 43 calories.

Its fiber and water content will promote feelings of fullness and make you feel satiated- making it a weight loss-friendly food. Also, this fruit contains powerful antioxidants that control inflammation, and obesity is linked to Inflammation.

Benefits of papaya in pregnancy

Every expecting mother wants a healthy baby, and this involves making the right food choices, ripe papaya is one of them. While ripe papaya is beneficial for yourself and the baby, unripe papaya is harmful and can cause complications during pregnancy.

Nutrients in ripe papaya include iron, folic acid, calcium, potassium, vitamins, beta-carotene. Benefits of ripe papayas include:

  1. Ripe papaya is an excellent source of vitamin A, B, C, potassium, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants protect the body cells from free radicals and boost immunity.
  2. Papayas can help deal with morning sickness and nausea
  3. Ripe papayas contain folic acid which is important to develop the baby’s brain and also form red blood cells.
  4. Ripe papayas can boost lactation
  5. This ripe fruit contains fiber that can help relieve acidity, heartburn, constipation, and some stomach disorders.

Unripe papaya, the one with green skin contains latex which is bad for you and your baby. This latex is a milky liquid and contains enzymes such as papain, chymopapain, and endopeptidase.

The latex in unripe papaya could trigger uterine contractions which can be likened to the contractions produced by prostaglandin and oxytocin.

This could cause early labor and lead to miscarriage. The green skin papaya can increase your risk of miscarriage and it is higher during the early stages of pregnancy.

The enzymes in unripe papaya could:

  • Weaken the essential membrane of the fetus since it is sensitive.
  • It could also cause internal bleeding and hemorrhage. This is because the pressure is applied to blood vessels.
  • Fluid retention can slow down blood circulation and hinder the growth of the fetus. It is best to avoid unripe papaya.
  • It could cause abortion and premature delivery.

Benefits of papaya for skin

At some point, we might have heard or seen a skincare product or cosmetic with papaya as the key ingredient. Papaya can lighten your complexion, reduce spots and wrinkles, eliminate acne as well as excessive sebum production and pigmentation.

And we have papain to thank for this. Combining papaya with a healthy diet and including it in your skincare routine can help you achieve glowing skin. The following are the benefits of using papaya on your skin:

  • Papaya contains enzymes that can moisturize, hydrate, and treat dry skin.
  • If you are dying to be rescued from pigmentation, papaya is great for you. It has skin-lightening properties that can clear spots, blemishes, and pigmentation.
  • Due to its beta-carotene content, papaya can promote fairness. Also, it has papain and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) which makes it a powerful exfoliator.
  • Papaya and its peel can reduce aging and wrinkles. The peel of papaya is important and beneficial for the skin as it contains enzymes that remove dead cells from the skin
  • Papaya can reduce under-eye dark circles
  • Papaya can help to treat eczema, psoriasis, acne, and other skin conditions.

Papaya face mask

Papaya face mask combines natural ingredients that can give your skin a natural boost. Since it contains vitamins and minerals, it is an excellent skincare product. We have compiled 2 papaya facemasks to help give your skin radiance.

For dry skin:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ripe papaya
  • 2 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Procedure:

  • Cut the papaya into chunks and mash them in a bowl
  • Add milk and honey to the mashed papaya
  • Mix thoroughly till you obtain a fine paste
  • Apply all over your face and neck. Leave for 15-20 minutes
  • Wash with warm water. Repeat twice a week.

To Brighten the skin:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup ripe papaya
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Procedure:

  • Cut the papaya into chunks and mash them in a bowl
  • Add lemon juice and honey to the bowl
  • Mix thoroughly till you obtain a fine paste
  • Apply all over your face and neck. Leave for 15-20 minutes
  • Wash with warm water. Repeat once a week for a bright skin

Potential risk of papaya

Although papaya is healthy, it could have side effects on some people. Unripe papaya is rich in latex which reduces as the fruit ripens.

If you are pregnant, avoid papaya. Latex can cause early labor, uterine contractions, and early miscarriage.

If you have a latex allergy, then papaya is not good for you. To know if you have a latex allergy, these signs may occur:

  • A stuffy nose
  • Hives
  • Chest tightness
  • Itching
10 outstanding benefits-of-papaya

10 outstanding benefits-of-papaya

The best ways to incorporate papaya into your diet

To eat papaya, choose ripe and fresh papaya with yellow skin.

  • Cut it into half using a sharp knife
  • Open the papaya
  • Using a spoon, scrape out the edible and healthy seeds
  • Scoop out the fruit with a spoon or peel it and dice it.

Papaya is a versatile fruit and can be added to your diet in many ways. While you can enjoy it raw, you can also add it to salads, desserts, and smoothies.

Even the seeds of papaya are edible. Its texture is crunchy and has a hint of peppery flavor. You can add it to your food as a spice.

Papain, an enzyme in papaya can be used to tenderize meat, so papayas are used to prepare marinades for beef or pork.

Most people use papaya as a flavor in ice cream, custard, salad, mousses, salsa and can also be paired with other warm flavors like nutmeg and ginger.

To make a salad: fruits that go well with papaya include mango, strawberries, pineapple, and banana.

To make a smoothie: you can try:

Beetroot and Papaya Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe frozen papaya
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled
  • 1 ripe frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • Flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

Procedure:

  • Cut all fruits and pour into a blender
  • Add in the flaxseeds and blend
  • Pour in the coconut or almond milk and blend
  • Pour into a glass and serve cold

Papaya and Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe frozen papaya
  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Procedure:

  • Cut all fruits and ginger and pour into a blender
  • Add lemon juice, honey, yogurt, and blend
  • If the consistency is thick, you could gradually add water.
  • Pour into a glass and serve.