Papaya is a delicious fruit that has a number of different health benefits thanks to it containing a plethora of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating the papaya fruit can help to strengthen your immune system and improve your digestive health. It can also help to improve your eyesight, lower your cholesterol levels and give a boost to your skin’s health. The papaya fruit is also a great source of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Papaya seeds are also a very healthy part of the fruit and are available to be eaten as they help in killing off intestinal parasites, fight off bacterial infections and even help to protect your kidneys.
Apart from consuming papaya, extract from papaya fruit, leaves and seeds can also help in boosting your health. Papaya extracts are also full of vitamins and have been associated with managing diabetes and can also have anticancer properties.
In the following text, we will look at the health benefits of the papaya fruit and seeds from a scientific standpoint with scientific research.
What Is Papaya (Pawpaw)
Papaya (Carica papaya) is a large pear shaped fruit that grows in tropical climates. In some countries, papaya is also called pawpaw or papaw.
The papaya is a freshly fruit with a soft pulp and it has different colors that vary from red to yellow.
Papaya fruit usually has a bright orange color and ripe papaya tastes like sweet melon. A ripe papaya has a slightly sweet smell as well. If the papaya does not have a scent, it is not ripe yet, however, if it has a strong sweet smeel, it is overripe.
As mentioned before, you can eat the papaya seeds. The black seeds from the papaya are in a gelatinous substance in the middle of the fruit. The papaya seeds have a peppery, sometimes even bitter, taste to them.
There are a number of ways that you can consume the papaya or pawpaw. You can eat the fruit raw, extract juice from it or even use the papaya seeds in salads or delicious smoothies. When the papaya fruit feels slightly soft and the skin has a reddish or orange look, then you can be sure that it is ready to be eaten.
Papaya Nutrition Facts
Papaya is a fruit that is rich in vitamin C and thanks to that, it is a healthy addition to your diet. In fact, one cup of mashed papaya fruit, roughly 140 grams, contains over 230 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. the high content of vitamin A in papaya fruit can also help to offset any vitamin A deficiencies.
Vitamin A and vitamin C are both powerful antioxidants, so the ‘fruit of the angels’, as Christopher Columbus called it, destroys free radicals in the body, which are the main doers behind a number of chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
There are 43 calories in 100 grams of papaya. One small papaya, weighing around 157 grams, has 68 calories. One big papaya, weighing around 780 grams, has 336 calories.
Papaya also contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that make it a very healthy fruit. The United States Department of Agriculture says that 100 grams of papaya contains the following:
- 60 mg vitamin C
- 950 IU vitamin A (22 percent RDI)
- 37 mcg folate (10 percent RDI)
- 24 mg calcium
- 257 mg potassium
- 10 mg magnesium
- 25 mg omega 3 fatty acids
- 7 g dietary fiber (7 percent RDI)
The papaya fruit and extracts also contain important compounds that have medicinal benefits. For example, papaya contains a compound called papain, which has been associated with digestive health and it also contains anticancer properties.
The papaya seeds have anti parasitic properties and they have been shown to inhibit cancer.
Let’s look in more detail that the many benefits you can get from eating more papaya fruit or using papaya on your skin.
Consuming Papaya Can Help to Boost Digestion
Eating more papaya fruit and seeds can have a beneficial effect on your digestive system.
Much like all fruits and vegetables, papaya contains fiber that is essential for a healthy digestion and preventing constipation. It also contains an enzyme known as papain that helps with digestion. The high vitamin and nutrient content of papaya also helps to keep your body healthy. However, it seems that papaya also contains compounds that specifically improve digestive health.
One study focused on the use of a commercial product that contains extracts of papaya fruit and seeds. The participants in the study took 20 ml papaya extract for 40 days straight. Researchers found that most people experienced fewer symptoms such as heartburn, excess gas, constipation and bloating.
To keep your bowels happy and moving, your diet should be abundant in dietary fiber. Papaya is packed with fiber and one serving can satisfy a quarter of your daily recommended intake.
Papaya Fruit is Rich in Antioxidants
One of the most important health benefits of papaya is that it is abundant with antioxidants. In fact, both the pulp from the papaya fruit and the seeds have powerful antioxidants.
The British Journal of Nutrition reported that papaya fruit contains more carotenoids that carrots or tomatoes.
Carotenoids are antioxidants linked to good health, preventing diseases, improving the health of the eyes and preventing cancer. Researchers recommend a diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids.
A study compared the amounts of carotenoids in papaya, tomatoes and carrots. It was found that the body absorbed carotenoids easier from papaya than the other vegetables.
Papaya also contains an important antioxidant called lycopene. Consuming papaya fruit helps to prevent oxidative stress and, thus, protect against a number of different chronic diseases.
Researchers have found that extracts of papaya seeds are also an important source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Papaya Can Strengthen Your Immune System
Strengthening your immune system is another great reason to eat papaya and include the peppery papaya seeds in your diet.
One trial found that eating papaya fruit can increase the immune cell function in the body. Researchers noted that after consuming papaya, there was a marked increase in white blood cells which play an important role in the immune system.
A study on rats found out that papaya extracts boosted their immune system. For example, researchers found that the levels of glutathione increased. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps to strengthen the immune system.
Papaya Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Papaya fruit can also help to prevent chronic diseases from developing since it contains properties that reduce inflammation.
In general, eating more fruits and vegetables will help to lower the body’s inflammatory responses. But, it seems that the papaya is especially effecting in helping around inflammatory conditions.
Research has shown that papaya stimulates certain cells in the body that have an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, other studies have shown that fruits rich in carotenoids such as papaya, release proteins the help to further lower the inflammatory responses in the body.
Papaya Can Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
An important benefit of consuming more fresh papaya fruit is that it helps to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
One study involving adolescents found that compounds in papaya have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. The study found that antioxidants in papaya such as lycopene help to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Other studies on rats have shown that extracts from papaya fruit increase beneficial enzymes in the blood that help to lower blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress.
These results had an overall protective effect on the cardiovascular system. One study found that drinking papaya juice can help to significantly lower the blood pressure.
Papaya Can Benefit Your Skin
The high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in papaya fruit mean that papaya is an excellent skin care product, and it is a natural one. For example and as already mentioned, the papaya contains vitamin A, C and E, all of which are used in a number of different skin care products.
Dermatologists report that papaya contains lycopene and beta-carotene. Consuming fruits and vegetables that contain these antioxidants help to boost the production of collagen in the skin.
Another study done in 2016 on humans found that consuming fermented papaya extract supplement helped to improve the elasticity of the skin. Study also found that skin was generally better hydrated and has less appearance of fine lines. When compared with other antioxidant supplements, papaya supplements were more effective.
Papaya Help Wounds Heal Quicker
Since the papaya has an incredible effect on your skin, it is no wonder that papaya can help wounds heal quicker.
Papaya also contains and enzyme called chymopapain and papain that can help your skin heal faster. In fact, the papaya is currently used as a major component in burns dressings.
Papaya contains many antioxidants that promote wound health. However, one study showed that papaya fruit and seeds also have antibacterial properties. A pasted of mashed papaya fruit and ground seeds helped to prevent bacterial infections when applied to open wounds.
The researchers suggested that applying skin preparations containing papaya could help to treat chronic skin ulcers.
Eating Papaya Fruit Can Strengthen Bones
Including more papaya as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet can help strengthen bones and may prevent osteoporosis.
One study in 2017 on over 3,000 adults, men and women, found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can benefit bone health. Among the fruits, scientists found to be the best for boosting bone health were papayas, citrus fruits, apples, bananas and mangoes.
Papaya Can Protect Your Eyesight
Papaya fruit can help to protect your eyesight since it contains lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin A. All of these antioxidants have been linked with protecting eyesight, especially in advanced age.
In a review of necessary nutrients to protect eyesight in advanced age, researchers have found that papaya is an abundant source of eyesight protecting antioxidants. The researchers found that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits like papaya can help to protect the eyes against macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that causes loss of vision.
The journal Clinical Interventions in Aging reported that papaya has a number of important nutrients to prevent age-related eye diseases. Papaya benefits your eyesight since it contains nutrients that are important for your vision, such as vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, zinc and zeaxanthin.
Papaya Can Reduce Symptoms Related to Diabetes
You can also use extracts from the papaya plant to help reduce the symptoms of diabetes.
Research on rats found that papaya leaf extract preparations were able to significantly lower blood glucose levels. The study revealed that the leaf extracts of papaya also lowered cholesterol and increased levels of antioxidants in diabetic subjects. Interestingly, researchers also noted that the papaya leaf extracts improved liver and pancreas function in all subjects.
Papaya Leaf Extracts Can Increase Red Blood Cell Count (RBC)
Extracts from papaya leaves also have a positive effect on blood and can increase the number of red blood cells.
Scientists observed the effects of fresh papaya leaf extract on mice. They discovered that in a 3 week period, papaya helped to increase platelet and the count of red blood cells. They summarized that papaya leaf extract could be used to treat conditions that result in fewer than normal red blood cells.
Papaya Extracts Have an Anticancer Effect
Extracts of the papaya plant have an anticancer effect and may prove useful in helping to treat certain types of cancer.
For example, in 2017, scientists found that papaya leaf extracts can help to inhibit the spread of breast cancer. In some cases, the papaya extracts even killed of the cancerous cells.
Lab experiments found that pectin, which is a soluble dietary fiber, extracted from papaya fruit has anticancer properties.
It is important to remember that current research on using papaya as a cancer treatment is still in early stages. Most research involves using specific extracts from papaya was done in laboratory conditions. However, most doctors agree that a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables with high levels of antioxidants can help to protect against various types of cancer.
The Benefits of Papaya Seeds and How to Use Them
When you cut a papaya, the insides look very inviting, and the seeds can easily be scooped out. Papaya seeds are high in fat and protein, and contain plenty of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Think twice before you discard them, as they can be used in many ways.
The seeds have a unique, slightly peppery flavor. They can be eaten as they are or you can sprinkle them over salads and other dishes, just as you would use pumpkin seeds. Those who are not afraid of a spicy flavor can try them in a smoothie. Papaya seeds also have many health benefits.
Papaya Seed Extracts Can Kill Off Intestinal Parasites
One of the many medicinal uses of papaya seeds is to eliminate intestinal parasites, as they contain anthelmintic and anti-amoebic properties.
One study on the use of dried papaya seed extracts found that they were effective in treating human parasites. Children who had intestinal parasitic infections took 20 ml of papaya seed extract every day. After 7 days, results showed that around 71 percent of the children no longer showed signs of parasites.
Seeds of Papaya Can Help to Treat Gastric Ulcers
Papaya seeds can also help treat gastric ulcers because they have a protective effect on the stomach lining.
A study done in 2015 on rats found that papaya seed extracts were effective in treating gastric ulcers. The result of the study showed that seed extracts of papaya reduced ulcers by up to 84 percent. papaya seed extract also stimulated mucus production in the stomach which also reduced the levels of stomach acid.
Papaya Seeds Help Fight Bacterial Infections
Extracts from papaya seeds also have antibacterial activity and can help fight certain bacterial infections.
One study published in 2014 found that extracts from papaya seed and papaya leaves can kill off certain bacterial pathogens. For example, papaya extracts were effective against strains of bacteria such as Stephylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi.
This means that eating some papaya seeds daily can not only improve your digestion, but also help prevent gastrointestinal infections.
Papaya Seeds Can Help Protect Kidney Function
The antioxidant effect of papaya fruit and papaya seeds can help to protect your kidneys against kidney damage.
One trial done on rats showed that papaya seed extracts helped to protect their kidneys function. After 8 days in the trial, blood test results showed that papaya seed extract prevented damage to the kidneys.
Papaya Seeds Have Antifungal Activity
Extracts from papaya seeds can help to kill off fungal infections in the body.
Researchers found that components isolated from the papaya seeds are effective enough to destroy strain of Candida albicans and other kinds of fungus.
Candida infections can happen in the body when there is an imbalance of healthy bacteria located in your gut. This can cause a number of different symptoms including vaginal thrush, oral thrush and itching around the genital area.
Digestive Enzyme Smoothie Recipe
This is one of the best smoothies you can make and has a plethora of healthy benefits. This smoothie consists of pineapple and papaya which contain digestive enzymes that greatly help to easy the digestion.
Papaya and pineapple enzymes digest proteins and because of their protein dissolving properties, it is no wonder that pineapple and papaya juices work similarly to meat tenderizers.
Nowadays, people consume their diet in large amount of meat and plant protein and we do not have enough enzymes needed to digest them properly and quick enough. Although our body produces many different enzymes needed for digestion, we also depend on our food to provide the rest.
These enzymes can be found in great quantities in raw foods, but because we consume processed foods in excess amounts, we lack the quantity necessary to enable healthy digestion and proper absorption of nutrients.
Here comes the detox smoothie with papaya and pineapple; papaya enzymes are called papain and are extracted from the leaves and fruit of the papaya plant. Pineapple enzymes are called known as bromelain and can be found in all parts of the fresh plant and fruit.
Both enzymes are distinguished to provide a wide variety of healthy benefits. Bromelain and papain are traditionally used for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be consume orraly and topically for minor skin irritations and burns.
The papain can also act as a diuretic and has anti-microbial and anti-ulcerative properties. As such, papaya enzymes are believed to help relieve from a wide range of gastrointestinal problems, as well as stomach ulcers and pancreatic enzyme deficiency.
Pineapple enzymes are also used for treating digestive problems, as well as heartburn. The plain bio yogurt in this recipe also helps with digestions as it contains ‘friendly bacteria’ that is naturally present in the digestive system and can help to further boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Now let’s get to the detox smoothie recipe:
- 2 slices of pineapple
- Half a papaya, cubed
- 2 tablespoons of plain bio yogurt
- Half of a lemon (optional)
- 1 sprig of mint
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix them until the mixture is smooth. You can add a little bit of water if you want a thinner consistency. Enjoy this detox smoothie after any meal to help your digestive system do its important role.
Enjoy your next papaya experience!
Side Effects of Eating Papaya
Papaya is a natural fruit that is high in vitamin C and other beneficial nutrients. Consuming more papaya fruit in your diet rarely causes adverse effects.
Doctors on WebMD say that consuming papaya for medicinal purposes should not cause any unwanted side effects. However, some people might develop allergic reactions. Papaya latex can also irritate your skin.
Fermented papaya supplements can lower the blood sugar levels. You should consult with your doctor before taking papaya supplements for their health benefits.