Health Benefits of Papaya
Health benefits of papaya include better digestion, relief from toothache, improvement in the immune system and promoting better heart health. Papaya is also believed to prevent cancer. Papaya also called as Carica Papaya, is commercially famous for its high nutritive and medicinal value.
Fruits like papaya immensely benefit your body. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for normal functioning of the body. It is famous for the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics and has many health benefits. Papaya can be eaten as a fruit, a smoothie a milkshake and as a vegetable in raw form. Papaya, a cerise-orange colored juicy fruit is not only fragrant and delicious but also very healthy. Papaya was famous in the past and it was called as the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus.
Latex derived from the raw fruit is used as a meat tenderizer and is also used in the manufacture of several cosmetics, skin and beauty products, and chewing gums. They are available for consumption throughout the year.
The whole fruit including other parts of the papaya tree and beneficial to mankind in several ways. An enzyme called as papain is present in the fruit which helps in digestion of proteins. Papaya in raw form contains this enzyme which is used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums.
Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoid and vitamin C; vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together the nutrients help to improve cardiovascular health and also to protect against colon cancer.
Health Benefits of Papaya
Better digestive health: Papayas are commonly used to aid digestion. The presence of papain, a digesting super enzyme improves digestion by breaking down protein and also cleanses the digestive track. This ensures lesser conversion of protein into body fat. If the protein in our diet is not digested properly, it may cause arthritis, constipation, diabetes, high blood pressure and other related health conditions.
Weight loss: Papaya is 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.
Prevent infections: Papaya is effective in killing the intestinal worms thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with it.
Relief from toothache: A paste of fresh papaya roots can be massaged on the teeth and gums to give relief from toothache. The bark of the tree (sometimes inner bark) is also an excellent remedy. (Somonsohn, 2002).
Skin care: Papaya can be a great rejuvenator. It is used in many cosmetics. Also, papaya is used as a homemade face mask by many women. Papain kills dead cells and purifies skin. The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papaya help treat sunburn and irritated skin. A good facial massage using papaya is good for skin and removes the dead cells. If you are a person who spends most of the time outdoors, then papaya can be of a great help as papaya fights free radicals that age your skin. The peel of papaya is also used to rub on the face and hands for a healthy skin; it will work wonders for your skin. Papaya is also used to treat skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, sores, wounds and ulcers .
Reduce acne and burns: The latex obtained from papaya is used to treat the areas on the skin affected with acne. The fleshy side of the papaya skin can be used as a mask to fix acne. A diet which includes papaya will help to cure internally making the skin clear. Also, when the latex is applied on the burnt area, it helps in reducing the marks caused due to the burn.
Anticancer properties: Researchers have discovered that papaya is effective against breast, pancreas and other cancers. A papaya leaf extract obtained from dried leaves produced anticancer effects against the tumor cells that were grown in the laboratory. It was observed in a study conducted by University of Florida researcher Nam Dang, and colleagues in Japan, that the effects were stronger when the cells were given larger doses of tea. The scientists exposed different types of cancer affected cells to different papaya lea f extracts and found that the growth of tumors had slowed down in all the cultures. The fruit has gained credibility and has been used in many western medicines for its anticancer powers.
Improved heart health: The seeds of papaya are good for a healthy heart. Having three powerful antioxidant vitamins namely vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E; papayas are helpful in preventing problems such as atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. The presence of pro- carotenoid phytonutrients helps prevent oxidization of the cholesterol in the body. Oxidation of cholesterol takes place, sticking to the walls of the blood vessels and forms plaques that lead to heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin E and vitamin C obtained from papaya will help in preventing the cholesterol from sticking to the walls thereby keeping your heart healthy. Being a good source of fiber, papaya also helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. Include papaya in your daily diet as a mid-evening snack to keep your heart young.
Anti-inflammatory effects: The enzymes present in papaya, especially the papain and chymopapain reduce the inflammation in different parts of the body.
Papaya for macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. In this condition, the cells of macualu tea get degenerated which results in blurred vision and can cause blindness too. This is an age–related illness and adding papaya to the diet is beneficial in reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration. An anti-oxidant known as beta-carotene gives color to the papaya. Just as carrots help to improve the eye sight, the presence of beta-carotene is known to be effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration. As per study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, consumptions of 3 or more servings of fruit on a daily basis day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Treating constipation: The presence of folate, vitamin C and vitamin E in papaya reduces the motion sickness by producing a tonic effect in the stomach and the intestines. Papaya juice and ripened form of papaya also helps to aid digestion. The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements. Improved bowel movements helps easy passing of stools, thereby reducing the effects of constipation (Pinoy B. (2010).
Menstruation: Papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular periods. Consumption of green unripe papaya can also normalize the irregularity in periodic cycle. Papaya is considered as a ‘hot food’, meaning that it produces heat in the body. This excessive production of heat in the body stimulates the estrogen hormone. This induces periods in the females. Hence papaya can be beneficial to prepone the periods.
Arthritis: Papaya has been known to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. One of the enzymes found in papaya named chemopapain has a significant effect on controlling rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Improved Immunity: Papaya consumption has also been linked to improvement in the immunity system of the body. Research conducted by Hiramoto, Imao, Sato, Inoue. and Mori from Japan is a proof that the antioxidants present in papaya play an important role in improving the immunity system of a person.
Flowers and roots of the plant have been proven beneficial against jaundice, bronchitis, kidney colic and other illnesses.
Some side-effects of papaya
Consumption of papaya in normal dietary amounts is recognized as safe by FDA. But there are a certain side-effects of consuming papaya.
Papaya is harmful for pregnant woman: Papaya is classified as harmful in pregnancy. It is considered as a ‘too-hot’ fruit. Latex present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe fruit causes uterine contractions which might lead to abortions. Avoid eating raw papaya if you are pregnant.
Gastrointestinal irritation: Consuming large quantities of papaya 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 fruit can cause pain in the intestines or stomach and sometimes esophageal perforations.
Seeds: The black seeds of the papaya contain traces of an enzyme called carpine, which potentially is a 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, narrowing of blood vessels is also seen which is the caused due to Carpine or carparine.
Some quick tips to enjoy papaya:
Pieces of papaya when soaked with a bit of lemon juice and honey- is an absolute treat for the taste buds
Blend papaya, strawberries and yogurt for a cold soup treat
Add a slice of papaya to fresh fruit salad and have it as a snack
Have a bowl of fresh ripe papaya along with your breakfast to add calories required for the day