Last Updated: 5th January, 2017. The word PAPAYA comes from the Taíno word papáia that was changed in Spanish to papaya. In Australia and Caribbean region this fruit is called papaw or pawpaw. All segments of the tree are considered to be beneficial, its leaves, seeds, and flowers too all are known to possess healing powers. The great voyager Christopher Columbus called Papaya “fruit of the angels”. Papaya is no longer difficult to find in the market. It is found all over the world at most times of the year. It is an orange pear-shaped fruit with loads of round black gelatinous seeds inside which are soft and edible.
Papaya is ranked as one of the most nutritious fruits by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It is loaded with nutritional content of:
- Vitamin B& C
- Folate and pantothenic acid
What are Papaya benefits?
Papaya not only has a sweet taste but it has sweeter benefits for health and that is the reason why doctors recommend this fruit to be included in one’s diet. Let’s take a look at the Papaya Benefits:
Papayas has enzymes called papain in it which help in digestion. It also is rich in fiber and water content, which helps to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Papaya is rich in anti-oxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. All the three prevent cholesterol build up in your arteries which can lead to several heart diseases including heart attack and hypertension.
Papaya contains an essential nutrient called ‘choline’ which aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
Skin and healing:
Papaya has been used since ages for medicinal benefits. It is known to heal wounds, prevent infection of burned areas. The proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain in papaya are responsible to give you a glowing and smooth skin. It dissolves dead skin and also treats acne. It is also beneficial for repairing dry skin, clearing pigmentation and reducing wrinkles.
Papaya is beneficial for cuticle repair as papaya contains super healing elements in the enzyme papain. It heals dry skin, cracked skin and makes nails smooth and strong.
Papaya has an antioxidant called zeaxanthin, which protects skin from harmful blue light rays and is plays a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration. A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Papaya has a nutrient that is beta-carotene, which lowers the chances of asthma.
The powerful antioxidant beta-carotene plays a protective role against prostate cancer and colon cancer.
Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.5
One medium papaya provides about 4.7 grams of fiber. Consumption of raw papaya could help maintain blood sugar level and cholesterol because of the high fiber content, thereby keeping a check on diabetes. In North East India, papaya flowers are used as a preventive measure against diabetes.
Papaya contains Vitamin A which is a nutrient required for sebum production that keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. It also is rich in Vitamin C which is required for the building and maintenance of collagen which is essential for good hair growth.
Papayas are rich in Vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, cyptoxanthin and lutein which keep the mucus membranes in the eyes healthy, preventing them from damage. Vitamin A in them also prevents the development of age-related macular degeneration . The best thing about papayas is that the carotenoids present in them are more bio available than those present in other vitamin A rich foods like tomatoes and carrots .
Dengue is an infection caused by biting of mosquitoes which affects the blood platelets massively. A simple cure for increasing the platelet count is to have papaya leaf juice. It is prepared by grinding the leaves with a small amount of water to extract the juice.
Pre-menstrual pain can be controlled to a great extent by consuming papaya. Papaya benefits in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods.
Papaya is very low in calories and a serving of 140 grams of the fruit contains only 60 calories, with total fat 0.4 gram, no cholesterol, 15.7 gram carbohydrates and 2.5 gram dietary fiber. It is the best breakfast option because packed with a considerable amount of dietary fibre that aids weight loss. Eating papaya gives you a feeling of fullness and controlling cravings.
With the above Papaya benefits, there is no doubt that Papaya is a wholesome fruit. So, go ahead and make Papaya your favourite fruit. Serve it plain, raw, or as a juice. Add it to a fruit salad or make a raw papaya veggie, prepare papaya chutney, coolers, smoothies, shakes etc. Consume it in any way because papaya benefits are endless and are proven to be beneficial to one and all.