Papaya is among the most popular fruits, known for its luscious, juicy taste. It is grown all over the world and is especially popular in tropical and subtropical areas. Although it is more commonly associated with Asian food, papaya is actually native to the Americas. Also known as pawpaw or papaw, the scientific name of papaya is Carica papaya.
Why You Should Eat Papaya?
Papaya fruit is packed with nutrients that aid in healthy digestion, boosted immunity, and heart health. Papaya in its raw form contains enzymes, which are used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums. Latex, derived from the raw papaya fruit, is used as a meat tenderizer. Papaya is also used in several cosmetic, skin, and beauty products like papaya soaps, as well as certain chewing gums.
Papaya Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, papaya is possibly rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as some B vitamins (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium.
A 100 g serving of raw papaya contains only 43 calories and 10.82 g of carbohydrates. You can easily add it to your smoothies and salads without worrying about your weight.
Watch Video: 4 Surprising Benefits Of Papaya
Health Benefits of Papaya
Let us look into the amazing benefits of papaya below.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.26|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||10.82|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||1.7|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||7.82|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||4.09|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||20|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.25|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||21|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||10|
|Potassium, K [mg]||182|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||8|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.08|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.05|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.04|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||0.6|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||60.9|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.19|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.04|
|Folate, total [µg]||37|
|Folate, food [µg]||37|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||37|
|Choline, total [mg]||6.1|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||47|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||274|
|Carotene, alpha [µg]||2|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]||589|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||950|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||89|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.3|
|Tocopherol, beta [mg]||0.02|
|Tocopherol, gamma [mg]||0.09|
|Tocopherol, delta [mg]||0.01|
|Tocotrienol, beta [mg]||0.07|
|Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]||0.01|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||2.6|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.08|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.07|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.06|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.05|
|Glutamic acid [g]||0.03|
|Sources include : USDA|
May Have Antioxidant Potential
Papaya fruit is a rich source of antioxidants.
Multiple studies show that fermented papaya may help in reducing oxidative stress. This, in turn, helps in delaying aging, managing type 2 diabetes, and alleviating hypothyroidism. It has also been shown to help in fighting liver disease.
In vivo research also shows that using unripe papaya in a regular diet may help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A 2012 animal study shows that papaya fruit extracts may help in boosting the immune system.
May Aid in Digestion
A study published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters found that papaya helped in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and relieving digestive problems.
Papaya juice and the ripened form of papaya also aid in digestion. The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements, says a study by a group of researchers from Austria. Improved bowel movements help ease the passage of stool, thereby reducing the effects of constipation.
You can know more about the Benefits and the Recipe for Papaya Juice here.
May Improve Heart Health
Include papayas in your daily diet as a snack to keep your heart healthy and young.
The seeds of papayas are good for keeping your heart healthy. Papayas may contain three powerful antioxidants- namely vitamins A, C, and E. This means that they may help prevent atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
Here is a detailed article on the Nutrition Facts, Benefits, & Side Effects of Papaya Seeds.
May Have Anti-inflammatory Effects
Papayas help in reducing inflammation in your body.
These fruits contain enzymes like papain and chymopapain, which help lower the inflammation in different parts of the body, according to research published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.
Research shows that papaya leaves showed an anti-inflammatory effect on many allergic conditions and they may also help relieve asthma.
Papaya contains papain, an anti-inflammatory agent that has the potential to relieve joint pain. Because of this compound, a 2020 pilot study has included papaya in an anti-inflammatory diet (ITIS diet) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, more studies are yet to be conducted on this.
May Help Prevent Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an age-related eye disorder in which the ocular cells degenerate, resulting in blurred vision and sometimes blindness.
According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, consuming fruits that are rich in carotenoids daily may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
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.
Might Relieve Toothache
Different parts of the papaya tree and fruit have been used for dental problems.
Research shows that a solution made from the papaya leaf latex helps in relieving toothache, mouth sores, sore throat, and thrush.
May Aid in Skin Care
Papayas can be great revitalizing agents, which is why they are used in many cosmetics and are even used in homemade face masks by many people. The papain kills cells and purifies the skin.
Lycopene, present in papayas, may reduce wrinkle formation in postmenopausal women. 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 they fight free radicals that age your skin.
The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papaya help treat sunburn and irritated 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, skin infections, psoriasis, and others.
The latex obtained from papayas is used to treat the areas on the skin affected by acne. The fleshy side of the papaya skin can be used as a mask to treat acne.
May Regulate Menstruation
Papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular menses. Moreover, papaya has been treated as traditionally been used as a natural contraceptive in the Indian subcontinent.
Consumption of green, unripe papayas can normalize the irregularity in one’s periodic cycle. Papayas are considered a “hot food”, meaning that they may produce heat in the body. This excessive production of heat in the body is thought to stimulate the estrogen hormone, inducing periods in females.
Tips to Eat Papayas
These sweet fruits with musky undertones are a treat for every person. They can be added to salads, juices, smoothies, and sauces.
If you are wondering what papaya tastes like, it has a mild to extremely sweet taste. It has the flavors of cantaloupe melon and mango. Ripe papaya has a butter-like texture and it melts when you put a cube in your mouth.
Here are a few recipes you can make with papaya.
- Nutrient-rich Papaya Juice Recipe
- Dried Papaya for Healthy Snacking
- Papaya Salads, Desserts, and Juices
If you want to know how to choose, store, ripen, and cut papaya, follow this guide.
Side Effects of Papaya
Consumption of papaya in normal amounts is recognized as safe by the FDA. However, there are certain side effects of consuming papaya.
Pregnant Women: Papaya is classified as being harmful during pregnancy. Latex, present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, may cause uterine contractions leading to miscarriage. So, it’s best if you avoid eating 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 caused due to carpine.
Allergies: If you are allergic to papain, avoid having papaya, or confirm with your doctor before you consider it as a regular food in your diet.
Interaction with medicines: Papaya may interfere with blood-sugar-lowering medications. So, it’s best to talk to a medical expert about dietary additions if you are on medication.