Benefits Of Papaya - Pawpaw - Ananas
The health benefits of papaya include better digestion, relief from a toothache, regulated menstruation, stronger immunity, weight loss, skin care, and a better heart health. Papaya, also known as Carica Papaya, pawpaw or papaw is believed to prevent cancer. No wonder, the fruit is quite popular for its high nutritive and medicinal value.
Christopher Columbus reportedly called it "fruit of the angels" because it tasted so good.
The papaya originated in Central America and Southern Mexico, but is now grown in many other parts of the world.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. Because of this, people have used papaya to tenderize meat for thousands of years.
If the papaya is ripe, it can be eaten raw. However, unripe papaya should always be cooked before eating, especially during pregnancy. That's because the unripe fruit has a high latex content, which can stimulate contractions.
Papayas are shaped similar to a pear, and can be up to 20 inches long. The skin is green when unripe, and orange when ripe. The flesh inside is yellow, orange or red.
The fruit also has many black seeds seeds inside the center. These are edible, but do have a bitter flavor.
What is Papaya?
Papaya is a cerise-orange colored juicy fruit, which is not only fragrant and delicious but also very healthy. It has been famous for hundreds of years and was once called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body. It is famous for its luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics and can be eaten as a fruit in the raw form, a smoothie, a milkshake, or as a vegetable in various recipes.
Latex derived from the raw papaya fruit is used as a meat tenderizer and is also used in the manufacturing of several cosmetic, skin, and beauty products, as well as certain chewing gums. They are available for consumption throughout the year.
The whole fruit, including other parts of the tree, are beneficial to health in several ways. Papaya in raw form contains enzymes, which are used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums. Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help improve cardiovascular health and protect against colon cancer.
One small papaya (152 grams) contains:
- Calories: 59
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 11% of the RDI
- Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E and K.
Papayas also contain healthy antioxidants called carotenoids. They are especially high in a type of carotenoid called lycopene.
Christopher Columbus, an Italian voyager once referred to papayas as the fruit of the angels. The fruit which is extremely rich in Vitamin C has a wide range of health benefits making it a great fruit option to include in your diet. Here are some of the top health benefits of papaya.
It Has Powerful Antioxidant Effects
Free radicals are reactive molecules created during your body's metabolism.
They do perform certain important functions, including helping to destroy harmful bacteria .
However, when you have too many of them, your body is said to be in a state of oxidative stress, which can lead to disease.
Antioxidants, including the carotenoids found in papayas, can neutralize free radicals so that they are no longer able to cause harm.
Studies have found that fermented papaya can reduce oxidative stress in the elderly and people with prediabetes, mild hypothyroidism and liver disease.
Also, many researchers believe that excessive free radicals in the brain are an important factor in Alzheimer's disease.
In one study, Alzheimer's patients given a fermented papaya extract for 6 months experienced a 40% drop in a biomarker known as 8–OHdG. This marker, which indicates oxidative damage to DNA, is also linked to aging and cancer .
The reduction in oxidative stress has been attributed to papaya's lycopene content and ability to remove excess iron, which is known to produce free radicals.
Papayas are also good for people who are trying to lose weight naturally. Having a bowl full of papaya as a mid-evening or mid-morning snack is good for health.
Papaya is rich in fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants which prevent cholesterol build up in your arteries. Too much cholesterol build-up can lead to several heart diseases including heart attack and hypertension.
Papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with them.
Boosts your immunity
Your immunity system acts as a shield against various infections that can make you really sick. A single papaya contains more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, making it great for your immunity.
Good for diabetics
Papaya is an excellent food option for diabetics as it has a low-sugar content even though it is sweet to taste. Also, people who don’t have diabetes can eat papaya to prevent it from happening.
Researchers have discovered that papayas are effective against breast, pancreatic, and other cancers. A papaya leaf extract obtained from dried leaves produced anti-carcinogenic effects against tumor cells that were grown in the laboratory. It was observed in a study conducted by Dr. Nam Dang and his colleagues in Japan, that the effects were stronger when the cells were given larger doses of papaya leaf tea. The scientists exposed different types of cancer-affected cells to different papaya leaf extracts and found that the growth of tumors slowed down. The fruit has gained credibility and has been used in many medicines for its anticancer powers.
Protects against arthritis
Arthritis can be a really debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly. Eating papayas are good for your bones as they have anti-inflammatory properties along with Vitamin C which helps in keeping various forms of arthritis at bay. A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that people who consumed foods low in Vitamin C were three times more likely to have arthritis than those who didn’t.
Papayas can be great revitalizing agents, which is why they are used in many cosmetics. Also, papayas are used in homemade face masks by many women. The papain in them kills dead cells and purifies the skin. The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papaya help treat sunburn and irritated skin. A good facial massage using papaya is a fabulous remedy to remove dead cells. If you are a person who spends most of the time outdoors, then papayas can be a great help, as papayas fight free radicals that age your skin. The peels of papayas are also used to rub on the face and hands for healthy skin. Papayas are also used to treat skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, etc.
Papaya Fights Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is at the root of many diseases, and unhealthy foods and lifestyle choices can drive the inflammatory process.
Inflammation can be measured by testing several blood markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
Studies have shown that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like papaya help reduce these inflammatory markers .
For example, one study showed that men who increased their intake of fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids had a significant decrease in CRP .
Improves Heart Health
The seeds of papayas are good for a healthy heart. Having three powerful antioxidant vitamins, namely vitamin A, C, and E, means papayas are helpful in preventing problems such as atherosclerosis and diabetic heart diseases. The presence of pro-carotenoid phytonutrients helps prevent oxidization of cholesterol in the body. When oxidation of cholesterol takes place, it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and forms plaque that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin E and vitamin C obtained from papayas help in preventing the cholesterol from sticking to the walls, thereby keeping your heart healthy. As a good source of fiber, papayas also help reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Include papayas in your daily diet as a mid-evening snack to keep your heart young. It also helps in treating sores, wounds, and ulcers.
In today’s times, it is near impossible to avoid eating foods that are bad for your digestive system. Often we find ourselves eating junk food or restaurant food prepared in excessive quantities of oil. Eating a papaya daily can make up for such occasional mistakes, as it has a digestive enzyme known as papain along with fibre which helps improve your digestive health.
Helps ease menstrual pain
Women who are experiencing menstrual pain should help themselves to several servings of papaya, as an enzyme called papain helps in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods.
It Protects Against Skin Damage
In addition to keeping your body healthy, papaya can also help your skin look more toned and youthful.
Excessive free radical activity is believed to be responsible for much of the wrinkling, sagging and other skin damage that occurs with age .
The vitamin C and lycopene in papaya protect your skin and may help reduce these signs of aging .
In one study, lycopene supplementation for 10–12 weeks decreased skin redness after sun exposure, which is a sign of skin injury .
In another, older women who consumed a mixture of lycopene, vitamin C and other antioxidants for 14 weeks had a visible and measurable reduction in depth of facial wrinkles
Treats Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. In this condition, the ocular cells degenerate, which results in blurred vision and can cause blindness as well. This is an age-related illness and adding papayas to the diet is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration. An antioxidant named beta-carotene gives papaya its orange color. Just as carrots help improve the eyesight due to the presence of beta-carotene, papayas are also known to be effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, a consumption of 3 or more servings of this fruit on a daily basis day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
Helps reduce stress
After working hard for the whole day, it is a good idea to come home to a plate a papayas. The wonder fruit is rich in several nutrients like Vitamin C which can keep you free from stress. According to a study conducted in University of Alabama, found that 200 mg of Vitamin C can help regulate the flow of stress hormones in rats.
A few easy recipe ideas using 1 small papaya:
- Breakfast: Cut it in half and fill each half with Greek yogurt, then top with a few blueberries and chopped nuts.
- Appetizer: Cut it into strips and wrap a slice of ham or prosciutto around each strip.
- Salsa: Chop papaya, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, then add lime juice and mix well.
- Smoothie: Combine the diced fruit with coconut milk and ice in a blender, then blend until smooth.
- Salad: Chop papaya and avocado into cubes, add diced cooked chicken and dress with olive oil and vinegar.
- Dessert: Combine the chopped fruit with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well and refrigerate before eating.
Papaya is rich in valuable nutrients and has a delicious taste.
Its strong antioxidant properties may help reduce your risk of many diseases, especially the ones that tend to come with age, such as heart disease and cancer.
It may also defend against the visible signs of aging, helping your skin remain smooth and youthful.
To experience the many benefits of papaya, consider adding this healthy and delicious fruit to your diet.
Side Effects of Papaya
Consumption of papaya in normal amounts is recognized safe by FDA. However, there are certain side effects of consuming papaya.
- Pregnant Women: Papaya is classified as being harmful during pregnancy. It is considered as a ‘hot’ fruit. Latex, present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, causes uterine contractions which might lead to abortions. Avoid eating raw papaya if you are pregnant.
- Gastrointestinal Irritation: Consuming too many papayas can cause a powerful laxative effect in the intestines. Avoid eating large quantities of papaya, especially if it is in its raw form. Unripe or raw papaya can cause pain in the intestines or stomach and can sometimes cause esophageal perforations.
- Seeds: The black seeds of the papaya contain traces of an enzyme called carpine, which is a potentially toxic substance. According to the International BioPark Foundation’s information about medicinal plants of the Peruvian Amazon, this enzyme can make the nerve centers numb, which could lead to paralysis or cardiac depression. In some cases, the narrowing of blood vessels is also seen, which is the caused due to carpine.