Discover surprising health benefits of Papaya for skin, hair, better digestion and the healthy heart.
We all have seen, cooked and consumed papaya at least once in our lives. But most of the time we are not well informed about the food we consume.
Believe it or not, a simple fruit like papaya has much health benefit to offer for the whole family. And not only the fruit but every part of the plant can be consumed to gain added health benefits.
This article will educate you about the many health benefits as well as side effects of papaya, after all, every coin has two faces.
Table of Contents
Papaya – Its Nutritional Content
Papaya (Carica papaya) is a medium-sized tropical fruit. The fruit/plant is also known as pawpaw or papaw. When the fruit is ripe, it is fleshy, juicy and golden yellow in color. The fruit, leaves, roots, etc. is loaded with nutrients which are essential for the body.
A Single Papaya Contains Essential Nutrients Like
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene)
What Are The Possible Health Benefits Of Papaya?
As stated earlier papaya is a source of many essential nutrients. The presence of these in papaya makes it a source of many health benefits.
Including papaya in your regular diet can help reduce the chance of developing lifestyle-related health problems. Papaya is also said to have anti-cancer properties.
Below is a list of the health benefits of including papaya in your regular diet.
1. As A Digestive Aid
With the increased consumption of processed food in our regular diet our digestive system has become weak over time. Many of us have to take digestive pills and tonics to aid in our digestion. Papaya can help solve our digestive woes. It contains a natural enzyme, papain which aids in digestion. Papain helps in the digestion of meat.
If you are suffering from low stomach acid, you may not be able to digest meat properly. Consuming papaya, in this case, can aid in the digestion process.
Papaya also helps prevent constipation due to its high fiber content. Eating papaya in the morning can help prevent constipation for the whole day. Also, people suffering from various digestive disorders like irritable bowel or autoimmune and inflammatory bowel diseases should add papaya to their diet.
Pregnant women can consume ripe papaya in the morning to prevent morning sickness. But be sure to consume only ripe and not unripe or semi-ripe papaya as research shows it can be unsafe for pregnancies.
2. Anti-Diabetic Health Benefits
Papaya is believed to have anti-diabetic properties. Research has shown that papaya can reduce the blood sugar level in diabetic person.
Consuming fermented papaya can help lower your blood sugar level if you are diabetic. Even if you do not have diabetes, you can still eat papaya to prevent it from happening.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits
Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties. The vitamin C present in papaya is responsible for its anti-inflammatory property.
It can help reduce inflammation in people suffering from inflammatory medical conditions like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
4. Protection Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
Arthritis is a common problem faced by people. With aging, your bone joints may become inflamed, and this creates problems like arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory medical condition which causes inflammation of the bones.
Eating papaya can help you keep arthritis at bay because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C present in papaya helps reduce effects of arthritis. Recently a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has shown that people with low food vitamin C content in their food are three times more likely to suffer from arthritis than those who don’t.
5.Treating Blood-Related Medical Conditions
Recent research has shown that phytochemicals present in the seed, leaf and fruit of papaya can help treat the medical condition called thrombocytopenia or low blood platelets. It increases the RBC count of blood.
Eating the seed, leaf and fruit extract of papaya can help treat people suffering from the low blood clotting medical condition. It can be consumed by healthy individuals too to strengthen the blood.
6. Help Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that papaya has anti-cancer properties. The papaya leaf extract has inhibitory effects on tumor cells.
Papain is an enzyme so it can break down the protective covering of the cancer cells and kill them. Vitamin C and beta-carotene present in papaya reduce the chance of cancer, especially colon cancer. Due to its high antioxidant property, it helps remove toxins from your body effectively, and further reduces the risk of cancer.
7. Healthy And Glowing Skin
The various nutrient content of papaya is very good for maintaining healthy and glowing skin. The vitamin C and papain in the fruit help remove dead skin cells allowing the skin to breathe properly. The low sodium quality of this fruit helps in keeping your skin hydrated.
Applying the finely grounded paste of the raw fruit to your face helps remove pimples from your skin.
Eating papaya regularly provides you with soft, supple and glowing skin. Papaya can also help n treating ringworm. Just rub the slices of raw papaya on the ringworm patches. You can also apply the mashed papaya to sore and cracked heels. Papaya acts as a natural exfoliator.
8. Anti-Ageing Property
To have younger and better-looking skin the best way is to prevent wrinkle formation on your skin. Eating papaya can help you in solving this problem. Since papaya contains a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants like beta-carotene, these help prevent the wrinkle formation on your skin.
Papaya helps prevent the free-radical formation, which is the main reason the formation of wrinkles on your skin. Papaya keeps all signs of ageing at bay to give you younger looking skin.
9. Prevents Age
Related macular degeneration/loss of eyesight- Papaya contains an antioxidant, especially zeaxanthin which helps prevent loss of eyesight with age, a condition known as macular degeneration.
This helps to filter blue light which is harmful to your eyes and hence prevent loss of eyesight.
10. Healing Properties
Papaya has antibacterial effects which are useful in treating wounds and burns. It can be used to treat fungal and viral infections, ringworms, etc.
The leaf can be mixed with water and given to patients suffering from dengue fever because it has anti-viral properties too.
11. Prevents Heart Problems And Lowers Cholesterol
Vitamin C present in papaya helps reduce the risk of heart attack. It protects your arteries from damage. People with vitamin C rich diet have been shown to have a low risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The antioxidants present in papaya helps prevent the build up of cholesterol in your arteries. Maintaining the level of cholesterol build up in your body is necessary to avoid heart diseases like heart attack and hypertension. Eating several servings of papaya can help in preventing cholesterol buildup in your arteries.
12. Help Prevent Intestinal Parasites
Dried seeds, leaf and the fruit of papaya are very effective in treating intestinal parasites. Small children can be made to consume dried papaya seeds to remove parasitic worms from the intestine.
13. Helps Boost Immunity
The immune system of your body must be in a top working condition so that you can lead a healthy and normal life.
Vitamin C is an essential requirement of the body to maintain proper functioning of the immune system. Since papaya is a very good source of vitamin C, it can be taken to boost the immunity of your body.
14. Help Ease Menstrual/Period Cramps
Women suffering from very painful menstrual cramps can eat several servings of papaya to ease the pain. The enzyme papain present in papaya helps regulate the easy flow during menstrual cycle thereby reducing the pain and cramps.
Side Effects Of Papaya
Papaya is packed with lots of nutrients which makes it very beneficial for your health. But like a coin has two faces, consuming too much of papaya can also be detrimental to your health. Only knowing the benefits is not enough because half knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Some of the side effects of too much papaya consumption are stated below.
1. Skin Discolouration
Papaya contains beta-carotene which imparts the fruit with its color. Consuming too much of the fruit can lead to increase in the level of beta-carotene in your body causing discoloration of the skin. This condition is known as carotenemia.
Also, to discoloration, the skin might become tinged with yellow or orange. This effect can be reduced by easily by lowering the amount of papaya consumed.
2. Respiratory Problems And Allergy
Papain, the enzyme present in papaya which helps digestion, is a powerful allergen ( a substance that causes allergy). So eating a large amount of papaya can cause allergic reactions. Respiratory problems like wheezing, asthma, hay fever, congestion of the nasal passages, etc. can be triggered by papain.
It may cause other allergic reactions like rashes, swelling of mouth and face, dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain and cramps. If you are allergic its best to avoid the fruit or you can take it in moderation.
3. Not Safe For Pregnant Women And Infant Below One Year
If you are pregnant you should avoid eating raw, unripe or semi-ripe papaya because it can cause complications like abortion, premature labor, abnormalities, stillbirth, etc.
Infants below one year of age should not be fed papaya because the excessive fiber present in the fruit can cause loose stool. It may also cause constipation if an adequate amount of water is not taken.
4. Kidney Stone Formation
Vitamin C present in papayas has many benefits like improving the immunity, protects against cancer, heart attacks, prevents skin aging, etc.
But research has also shown that large dose of this vitamin can have a toxic effect on the body. This can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
5. Stomach Disorders
Although papain helps alleviate digestion problems, it can have the opposite effect if taken in large dosage. Consuming a large amount of papaya can upset your stomach.
Also, the high fiber content of the fruit can cause loose stool if taken in large amounts. Also, the latex from the skin of the fruit can cause stomach irritation and leave you feeling queasy.
6. May Trigger Diarrhea
Papaya is high in fiber content. Although it helps in preventing constipation, too much consumption of papaya may leave you with more than a few trips to the bathroom. Avoid it if you are suffering from diarrhoea.
Although papaya is a natural remedy for constipation too much of the fruit can have the opposite effect on your bowels.
The high fiber content which helps to keep constipation at bay hardens the stool if it is taken in excess. To avoid this drink plenty of water. Fiber or no fiber-water is the best cure for constipation.
8. Slower Heartbeat
If you are suffering from cardiac disorders you should avoid eating papaya. The papain present in the fruit slows down the rate of heartbeat. This may trigger cardiac arrest and other complications.
Papain reacts with blood thinning medications- Research has proven that the enzyme papain present in papaya can escalate the blood thinning effect.
If you are taking blood-thinning medications or anticoagulants like aspirin, then do check in with your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to consume papaya.
9. Skin Rashes
Papaya is a rich source of papain and antioxidants makes it an important component of anti-aging creams. But not every skin type reacts to papaya in the same positive manner. Some people may experience irritation and dry skin.
Some women are seen to develop skin rashes after applying papaya based anti-aging creams. So be sure to consult your dermatologist before applying any anti-aging creams.
Preparation Of Papaya For Consumption
Despite the side effects of papaya consumption, we cannot ignore its numerous health benefits. There are many ways to prepare papaya for consumption to gain maximum benefit.
- The papaya leaves can be boiled, and the tea can be taken to treat fever.
- The dried leaves can be used to treat stomach problems.
- The juice from the pounded leaves can be used to treat low platelet count in blood.
- Take a few leaves and cut them and place in a saucepan with 2 litres of water. Boil it and then strain the liquid and store it in a glass container. This mixture can be stored for 3-4 days. This liquid is beneficial in treating cancer. It should be discarded if it turns cloudy.
- The papaya roots can be pounded and boiled in water. The liquid can be strained and consumed. It acts as a digestive tonic.
- The seeds of papaya can be dried, grounded and mixed with honey. This mixture can be consumed by adults and children alike to treat intestinal worms.
- The papaya pulp can be applied to the skin to improve the health of the skin and slow down aging.
- You can consume papaya in the morning. You can prepare a smoothie or papaya juice. You can also eat it sliced.
Papaya is nature’s blessing. If you still haven’t tried it in your diet be sure to do so but always in moderation. Its many benefits are waiting for you to exploit.