Papaya is a gifted fruit that comes with innumerous benefits. While most people call it by this name, some even know it as pawpaw or papaw. Papayas grow best in tropical regions. They were once rare to find but are now grown in abundance. Papayas can be eaten both raw and ripe. While the raw ones need to be cooked the ripes ones are eaten as fruits. Here, we will discuss all the papaya benefits to help you make the most of its goodness.
What is papaya used for?
Here are some of the best uses of papaya:
Ethnobotanical/ Traditional uses
Papaya is a tropical plant. It is assumed that they have originated from Central America and Mexico. But now, you can see them grow both in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Papaya cultivation is popular around the world as it’s fleshy and edible as a fruit.
You can turn papayas into a lovely beverage or even cook its shoots, young leaves or the fruit itself. The sweet fruit is used as a flavoring agent too. Jellies, candies, ice-cream, preserves-you can get them all in a papaya flavor.
Do you know what’s papain? When the papaya is green and raw, you’ll find a milky sticky latex, as soon as you cut it. The latex then oozes out and collected, dried and used for numerous industrial purposes. That’s when you call the dried-out latex ‘papain’ or ‘crude papain’. Apart from the industrial uses, papain also contains protein-digesting and milk-clotting (rennet) properties. Moreover, you will also find almost 80% brewing of American beer with papain. A few other industries use papain in chewing gums, shampoos, toothpaste, facial salves and also as a meat tenderizer.
Extensive studies are being done in certain countries, to use papaya as a replacement or substitute to typical treatments for several illnesses. Papaya consists of an array of alleged medicinal properties, that may help to treat multiple ailments. Some of which are inflammation, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. However, these researches have limited data. But a study has confirmed papain to treat bedsores and intestinal worms.
Check out all the papaya benefits to know why you should include more of this fruit/vegetable in your diet:
Benefits Eye Health
You will find papaya to have a plethora of antioxidants and vitamin A. The antioxidants in papaya reduces degeneration of the retina while vitamin A gives protection to the corneas. Papaya also protects your vision and improves it too. Thus, papaya benefits overall eye health. You must consume an adequate amount of papaya regularly to keep your vision accurate.
Papaya holds a very high content of fiber and water, which helps you in digestion. It even contains enzymes that break down the food and protects the tissues in the digestive tract. Moreover, if you eat papaya one hour before a meal, it will improve your digestion and keep you in good health.
Among all your organs, the skin is the largest of them all. It also mirrors the internal body mechanisms and reflects the condition your body is in. Papaya contains several vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E, which gives your body a good dose of antioxidants. So, the enormous dosage papaya provides to your body, makes your skin a lot firmer and flawless.
Papaya is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids, that helps you restore new cells and remove the dead ones. Be sure to include papaya in your diet to make your skin healthier, younger and radiantly beautiful.
Boosts weight loss
Papaya is extremely low in calories. The fiber-content in papaya keeps you full for longer and doesn’t make you hungry soon. Consumption of papaya gives you a healthy immune and digestive system, which helps you to lose weight.
Papaya being naturally fibrous keeps you healthy and fit. Even the seeds in papaya don’t go in waste. Eating that too will prevent the body to absorb fats, that can further help in weight loss.
Improves kidney health
Papaya contains potassium that cleanses the kidneys from toxins and reduces uric acid accumulation in the blood. The seeds have flavonoids in them, which protects your kidneys from being dysfunctional and curbs cell degeneration. So, papaya benefits your overall kidney health as well.
Isn’t it strange that papaya is sweet yet it reduces diabetes? Irrespective of how sweet your papaya can be, but it contains a very low sugar content and low glucose levels too. Papayas keep you full for long that curbs your frequent cravings. However, it also contains a high nutritional value which keeps cholesterol and blood sugar levels normal.
Improves cardiovascular health
The richness of phytochemicals and antioxidants in papaya gives you a healthy heart. It even helps to fight against any heart problems. Moreover, the potassium, fibers and vitamin C contents in papaya enhance your blood flow and give you healthy arteries. However, you must keep in mind that controlling cholesterol levels will give you a healthy heart.
You can prevent asthma by high consumption of specific nutrients. One of which is beta-carotene, that papaya contains. Even other foods like broccoli, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe have this nutrient in them.
Papaya is rich in antioxidants and nutrients like beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of cancer. Papaya benefits younger men by protecting them from prostate cancer. The journal Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers have published this research.
Improves Bone health
Papaya contains vitamin K, which is very essential for bone health. If this vitamin is consumed adequately, calcium can be absorbed better and can reduce calcium excretion. Hence, storing more calcium will rebuild and strengthen your bones.
Protects Heart illnesses
Papaya is fibrous and rich in vitamins and potassium, which protects you from heart illnesses. Increased potassium intake reduces the risks of cardiovascular illnesses.
Papayas contain choline in them. Choline helps in maintaining cellular membranes, absorption of fat, the transmission of nerve impulses and reduces chronic inflammation. It is also a versatile and essential nutrient, that aids the body in mental health, muscle movements and sleep patterns.
Promotes Skin and healing
You can apply mashed papaya topically to prevent infections in burnt areas. It also helps wounds to heal fast. Studies state that papain and proteolytic enzymes chymopapain in papaya benefits in the healing process of any wound. Papain enzymes are present in ointments that is used in treating decubitus ulcers (bedsores).
Improves Hair health
You all know that vitamin A is very essential for hair nourishment. So, papaya contains vitamin A, which produces sebum that moisturizes your hair. Furthermore, it helps to produce bodily tissues that include, hair and skin. If you consume papaya adequately, vitamin C is also supplied to your body simultaneously.
Papaya provides you with a lot of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin K. These vitamins benefit your body by boosting up the immunity and growth of body tissues, including skin and hair. It can even help you maintain collagen, which is a structural protein for your skin. You may have heard this often, medium-size papaya can provide you double the vitamins your body requires every day.
Helps in Cleansing
You will often hear beauty experts advise you to use papaya topically to clean your skin. The active enzymes in papaya remove impurities and give you beautiful and radiant skin.
Papaya is rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper, and calcium. If you add papaya to your diet regularly and in adequate amounts, you will see a calcium bank built up in your body. This will give you long-term protection and monitor the possibilities of arthritis.
You will see papaya leaves to be used in treating dengue. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes and affects the platelet count enormously. You can get back your platelet count by simply drinking a cup of papaya leaf juice. You can make this wonderous juice, by grinding the papaya leaves with some water.
Note: If you have dengue, keep your doctor informed and follow his/her instructions. It can get severe if it turns into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and can be fatal.
Protects Skin Damage
Papaya keeps your body healthy and helps in multiple ailments. But it can also give you a hydrating, bright and radiant skin. The free radicals excessively cause activity, which makes your skin saggy, wrinkled and fine-lined. Papaya contains lycopene and vitamin C, that can give your skin protection and minimize aging signs.
A positive study stated that, when a clinical trial was done with lycopene supplements for 10-12 weeks, it showed an immense reduction in skin redness caused by sun exposure.
Another study also stated, when elder women were given a mix of vitamin C, lycopene and a few other antioxidants orally, for around 14weeks. They showed a visible reduction of wrinkles.
What does papaya taste like?
Many people love the unique taste that papaya has gotten. Papayas are ripe, delicious and versatile too. Papaya tastes differently when it is raw and when it ripens. Papaya is ideally ripe when it is a bright yellow to orangish-red in color. If you happen to see a few green spots on it, that is fine to consume. However, when you purchase one, see if the skin can yield a slight and gentle pressure, just like you press an avocado.
You can get the best flavor out of papaya when you chill it well. So, refrigerate it before you eat it on a hot summer afternoon. Remember to wash it well before you cut it open in half lengthwise. Scoop those seeds out and start eating it like a melon or cantaloupe.
Quick papaya recipes
Since the flavor of papaya is versatile, you can combine it with foods that complement each other. You can go through these easy recipes and try them at home with small papaya.
- Breakfast: You can cut open the papaya in half, first. Then in the half, add some chilled Greek yogurt and garnish it with some chopped nuts and blueberries. There you have it, a nice and healthy breakfast.
- Appetizer: To make a quick and easy snack, cut out the papaya into thin slices. Wrap them around with prosciutto or ham on each of the slices. It’ll be ready for you to munch in.
- Salsa: You can make a sauce with some chopped papaya, onions and tomatoes. Add in some cilantro leaves and a dash of lime juice. Mix it well and your salsa will be ready.
- Smoothie: A nice thick smoothie is always a great beverage. To make it, you need to dice some papayas and blend it with coconut milk and ice.
- Salad: To make a salad for your supper, add chopped papaya, avocado and cooked chicken cut into dices in a bowl. Add the dressing with vinegar, olive oil, and some seasoning.
- Dessert: In a bowl take some diced papaya, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a cup of almond milk. Mix it well and refrigerate for about 2hrs and your dessert is ready.
Do try out these super easy recipes, which is fun to make, tastier to eat and more than nutritious for health.
Some risks to keep in mind
Papayas consists of enzymes known as chitinases. A cross-reaction may take place between these enzymes and latex that can cause latex-food allergies in some people. So, people who are allergic to latex must consult the doctor before consuming papaya.
The smell of papaya may be unpleasant for some. So, you can try adding a dash of lime juice to reduce the odor in papaya. Moreover, the consumption of papaya seeds may have an unpleasant taste but it’s absolutely safe and beneficial to consume.
Papaya is very rich in nutrients and has a scrumptious taste. The powerful antioxidants present in papaya lowers the risks of multiple diseases, in particular the ones which build up with age, like cancer or heart diseases.
Papaya benefits you from aging signs and keeps your skin youthful, smooth and flawless. So, without wasting a second add papaya to your diet today. Soon you’ll see papaya benefits doing wonders to your health.