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Papaya, the “fruit of the angels” is believed to have originated in Mexico and the Central America region. Gradually, it was cultivated in other parts of the world, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Carica papaya is the scientific name of this spherical fruit which grows up to 20 inches in length. Also known as the pawpaw fruit, the health benefits of papaya fruit are well-known.
Health Benefits Of Papaya
The goodness of papaya comes from its significant health benefits and nutrient content. The medicinal value of papaya includes:
- Better digestion
- Cancer-fighting properties
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Controlling blood glucose
- Improved vision
- Providing hydration
- Improved wound healing
- Preventing infection of burns
- Lowering blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Boosting skin and hair health
Unless you are pregnant or allergic to the papaya plant, you should be eating papaya daily to fight cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and improve your digestion, vision and immune system. It is often recommended for cystic fibrosis patients.
Besides the health benefits of eating papaya, many people enjoy its fleshy texture, sweet taste, and cerise-orange colour with lots of nutrients and fibre.
This tropical fruit is available all year round, so it’s fair that everyone should make use of it. Its versatile nature allows it to be used in various culinary innovations.
If you have dull skin or are feeling dehydrated or just want to lose some weight, all you have to do is eat papaya daily. Once you see how eating papaya benefits your health, you’ll never again ask, “Is papaya healthy?”
The Uses Of Papaya And How To Eat Papaya Daily
Papaya can be consumed in a number of ways. Although most people eat it when it ripens, raw papaya can also be served as a vegetable by cooking it with other vegetable and spices in curries, fries, and other delicacies.
This fleshy-soft ripe papaya fruit can be used in myriad culinary and therapeutic ways and there are many papaya recipes you can use for making fruit salads, juices, fresh salsa with other fruits, and papaya smoothies.
Each part of the papaya plant can be used for different purposes. Consuming a spoon of papaya seeds a day provides immense health benefits.
Papaya seeds help in detoxing your liver, improving kidney health, preventing from joint diseases, and fighting against dengue fever.
The raw fruits, young leaves, and shoots of papaya plant can be cooked with other vegetables and spices to prepare delicious papaya recipes. They have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, and immune-stimulating effects.
Papaya Nutrition Facts
Papaya’s nutritional value includes vitamins and minerals like the ones in the chart below. The papaya fruit has high vitamin C content.
|Calorie||43 calories/100 g|
|Fibre||Soluble dietary fibre|
|Vitamin-C||60.9 mg or about 101% of DRI|
|Vitamin-A||950 IU/100 g|
|B-complex vitamins||Folic acid, vitamin B-6, B-1, etc. riboflavin, and vitamin B-1|
|Potassium||257 mg per 100 g|
|Other elements||Flavonoids like β -carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin.|
Who Should Not Eat Papaya?
Studies have found that, while normal consumption of ripe papaya during pregnancy may not pose any significant danger, raw papaya or semi-ripe green papaya (which contains latex that stimulates uterine contractions) could be unsafe in pregnancy.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, that facilitates the digestion of proteins. Papain could also be mistaken by your body for prostaglandins used to induce labour and weaken vital membranes that support the foetus. The amount of papain is higher when the fruit is unripe.
Latex in papaya is a common allergen that could trigger a dangerous reaction. So, pregnant women and people allergic to latex should avoid eating green papayas.
How Is Papaya Good For Health?
Papaya’s medicinal uses come from the leaves and fruit of the plant. Here are some of the well-documented health benefits of papaya and papaya leaf extract.
1. Excellent Eye Health
Papaya is a rich source of Vitamin A and anti-oxidants such as zeaxanthin, which have been shown to filter out harmful blue light-rays, protect the corneas and decrease the risk and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The edible fruit, if consumed daily, can improve your eyesight and correct vision problems.
2. Aids In Digestion
Is papaya good for digestion? Yes, it definitely is! Regular intake of papaya can prevent stomach ailments and uneasiness because of its high fibre and water content.
Some papaya fruit benefits come from the health benefits of papaya enzyme, papain, that works wonderfully in digestion and also strengthens the tissues of the digestive tract. For best results, eat papaya at least one hour before or after your meal.
3. Preventing Ageing
Eating papaya daily is a good habit for those who want healthy and glowing skin. The fruit is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E which help boost anti-oxidants in your body.
It is an important natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) that can eliminate the build-up of dead cells on the skin and revitalize the cell tissues. That’s why so many face packs contain papaya extracts.
Papaya juice can make your skin tighter and brighter. It can also prevent wrinkles, sagging, dryness or dullness. It makes the skin firmer, thicker, and brighter.
4. Enhances Immunity
Papaya contains double the amount of daily vitamin C required and can boost your immune system, shielding your body against multiple infections, illnesses, and severe diseases.
A scientific study showed that Carica papaya fruit extract can decrease oxidative stress and improve immune function in rats.
5. Aids In Weight Loss
The natural fibre present in papaya can detoxify your body and purify it. All these ingredients make you feel healthy and fit.
Papaya seeds prevent the absorption of fat in your body. So having papaya and its seeds regularly can help you lose weight.
6. Improves Kidney Health
Potassium found in papaya is effective in cleaning out the toxins that are deposited in your kidney and decreases the build-up of uric acid in the blood. Flavonoids present in papaya seeds also keep your kidney cells from degenerating and enhance your kidney function.
The researchers attributed the protective effect to its antioxidant potential and recommended CPLE as a highly potent nephroprotective and antioxidant from a natural source that could be a good remedy in conditions associated with renal disorders.
7. Great For Diabetics
The papaya fruit is very beneficial for diabetics as it contains a lot of soluble dietary fibre, which reduces the risk of developing diabetes and may have therapeutic effects in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Studies have shown that increased dietary fibre intake is associated with better glycemic control and more favourable cardiovascular disease risk factors including chronic kidney disease in type-2 diabetic patients.
Diabetic patients should be encouraged to consume more dietary fibre in daily life. If you eat papaya daily, your blood sugar level and cholesterol will be under control. If you don’t have diabetes, you can prevent it by eating papaya daily.
8. Anti-Cancer Properties
Papaya was declared a superfruit after scientists found that it can prevent and may be able to treat a wide range of cancers. Researchers found that papaya was an effective anti-cancer agent against cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas cancers.
The Carica papaya leaf extract (CPLE) has been traditionally used by Australian Aboriginal people for its anticancer properties.
In a University of Queensland study, papaya leaf juice prepared by boiling and concentrating papaya leaves in water as a decoction or tea was found to kill squamous carcinoma cells.
Studies have shown that the potent and selective anti-proliferative effects of the papaya leaf juice are due to a range of bioactive compounds present in the CPLE. It has been used to treat chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML) in some patients.
Studies have found that compounds derived from an intermediate point of papaya fruit ripening can prevent colon cancer cell lines from proliferating.
Papaya is also rich in lycopene, which prevents the potential transformation of normal cells to cancer cells. Healthy men with the highest lycopene levels in their blood were shown to have a 60% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
The researchers suggested that the different parts of this valuable species can be further used as a strong natural candidate against viral diseases.
Another study showed that CPLE increases the platelet count in dengue fever without any side effect and prevents the complication of thrombocytopenia.
10. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Studies found that the anti-hypertensive effects of Carica papaya extract were similar to those of Enalapril, a drug used to treat essential or renovascular hypertension and symptomatic congestive heart failure.
If you’re a heart patient or have any kind of cardiovascular problem in your family, eating papaya daily will be helpful. Even as a preventive measure, consuming papaya daily can help you stay healthy, heart-wise.
Papaya contains antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fibre, all of which improve circulation, enhance blood flow and boost arterial health.
The antioxidants in papaya also have benefits in controlling inflammation and preventing cholesterol from converting into plaques that obstruct the arteries.
I hope this article on the goodness of papaya has convinced you of the benefits of eating papaya daily and including it in your daily diet to augment your overall health.
Rasika writes for Diet Chart, a leading Health & Nutrition blog. Her passion is to explore knowledge and gain new through different resources; she is very much fond of writing on food, nutrition, lifestyle, health & fitness such as papaya leaves medicinal uses.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is presented for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.
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