Papaya is an incredible fruit! But what is so incredible about it, you ask? Well, not only is it power packed with a whole lot of nutrients but it is also easily available. Popularity wise, it does not go anywhere close to mangoes or says berries but nutrient wise, it can beat any fruit hollow. Once you develop a taste for it, you won’t be able to stop. Let’s discuss more about the fruit and some of the papaya health benefits here.
What first attracts us to this fruit is its attractive color. It is bright and very tempting but it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. This is the reason why children find it so hard to like it. But if you find it difficult to like you can always combine it with other fruits, to reap its benefits.
It hails from Central America, and grows along the coast, it was regarded as sacred by the Mayans as it has tremendous medicinal properties. The entire papaya tree is used for its medicinal properties, the leaves, the seeds, and flowers et al. No wonder the great voyager Christopher Columbus called it “fruit of the angels”. This nature’s bounty not only contains the nutritious enzyme known as papain but it is also replete with essential nutrients that are oh-so-good for your health.
It’s enriched with vitamin C and fulfills almost half of your vitamin C content. Before you start your papaya diet, know how it can help us stay fitter and healthier.
10 Benefits of Papaya are:
- Papaya enables digestion
- Papaya protects the heart
- Papaya helps prevent cancer
- Papaya gets rid of menstruation issues
- Papaya boosts immunity
- Papaya helps prevent and manage diabetes better
- Papaya is great for weight loss
- Papaya improves arthritic conditions
- Papaya is beneficial for eye health
- Papaya is great for the skin
Papaya enables digestion
We have already mentioned ‘papain’, the enzyme that makes papaya so incredibly healthy. How does this enzyme help our body? It helps to digest the protein easily. Modern weight loss diets are full of protein, and sometimes it becomes difficult to digest the same. It is more adept at digesting protein than pepsin (an enzyme secreted by the pancreas).
It is high in fiber too, and there is a staggering amount of evidence proving fiber is not only great for weight loss, but also helps in preventing a number of diseases, including cancer. Papaya prevents constipation and inhibits toxic build-up that can lead to many a health complication. The bottom line, the better or stronger your digestion, the more chances of you keeping chronic diseases at bay.
Papaya protects the heart
The antioxidant and vitamin-rich papaya is great for boosting heart health. It is rich in a number of vitamins such as A, C, and E, which have preventive properties and protect your heart. It is also rich in phytonutrients that stop cholesterol build up and prevent heart attacks. The high fiber content is also another reason for keeping your heart healthy.
Papaya helps prevent cancer:
Papayas prevent cancer, the papain content inhibits cancer growth and combats the coating on cancer cells.
Moreover, the antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients work up a formidable team to combat free radicals. This is one potent weapon in the fight against cancer. The fruit is high on nutrition, but we cannot ignore the papaya leaves, especially the dried variety, as they have potent anticarcinogenic properties as well.
Papaya helps get rid of menstruation issues
Suffering from irregular menstruation problems? The very hot papaya juice can help induce menses. So, drink more papaya juice and your problem of irregular periods will be solved in no time (of course, it is a home remedy and if you still face issues with your menstruation cycle do consult with your gynecologist). Raw or unripe papayas are a perfect remedy for treating menstruation issues. Since papaya juice is hot in nature, pregnant women should steer clear of this fruit as it may lead to contractions and finally may lead to abortion.
Papaya boosts immunity:
Papaya is a great fruit to boost immunity. It is the antioxidants which help boost the immunity and keep it in great shape to fight any disease.
What are the nutrients in papaya that makes it such a great nutritional powerhouse?
One small papaya, which is about 152 grams, contains:
- Calories: 59
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI
- Potassium: 11% of the RDI
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 14% of the RDI
That’s not all, you’ll find traces of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K and B vitamins. You can also find carotenoids and lycopene in this wonderful fruit.
Papaya helps and prevents diabetes better:
Don’t go by the taste, papaya for diabetes is a perfect solution for diabetic people. The reason is simple, it has a low glycemic index. So, this is not only a great fruit to treat diabetes, but it can also be a great way to prevent diabetes.
It is high in water content and fiber, so it helps prevent constipation and promotes a healthy digestive tract. It has been shown that people with diabetes have been able to control their blood glucose levels and lipid levels, thanks to its high fiber content.
Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant in papaya, helps protect eye health and reduces the risk of developing of age-related macular degeneration.
Papaya is great for weight loss:
If you are trying to lose weight, it is absolutely essential to add papaya to your diet. You can either try papaya shake for weight loss or even papaya weight loss pills to lose weight. However, it is best to have the fruit to ingest the maximum vitamins and minerals. Check out the following reasons to include papaya cubes for breakfast every single day.
- Papayas are very low in calories and are rich in vitamins and minerals
- The rich antioxidants burn down calories as well as the excessive fat deposits in your body
- A bowlful of papaya first thing in the morning can curb those insolent hunger pangs that force you to binge on unhealthy snacks
- Papayas are chock-a-block with dietary fibers. Adding more fiber to your diet is one of the oldest weight loss tricks you can employ. It is a time-tested weight loss solution that always works. You feel full and you snack less, how simple is that
Papaya improves arthritic conditions
An enzyme, chymopapain, is what helps prevent and treat bone issues such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The fruit has potent anti-inflammatory properties that prevent arthritis. It is high in vitamin C too, which combats osteoarthritis of knees.
Papaya is beneficial for eye health
Why is papaya so good for the eyes? Its Vitamin A content is what makes it so beneficial for the eyes. It also helps improve eyesight in adults.
Papaya is great for the skin
There are many papaya benefits for the face, and you will find many products which have papaya as its main ingredient. We face many niggling skin issues such as acne, pimples, accumulation of dead skin cells; and papaya helps combat these skin issues. You can either use papaya face pack for fairness or papaya cream for dark spots, the fruit helps solve skin issues in a jiffy. What’s more, this works great for matured skin as well, as it has anti-aging properties too.
Quick papaya face packs for skin
Papaya anti-aging pack
Honey has great hydrating properties, and when it combines with papaya, it calls for a great moisturizing pack. Milk brightens the skin and also reduces blemishes and spots. In a few days, you will notice a great difference in your skin.
- 1/2 cup ripe papaya
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons whole milk
Chop the papaya into small pieces and mash them. Combine the papaya with the milk and the honey. Blend them into a fine paste. Apply them all over your face and neck. Let the pack stay on your face for 15 minutes and wash it off with plenty of water.
Papaya face pack for fairness
Lemon has skin brightening and bleaching properties as it contains vitamin C. Vitamin C helps fight against free radicals and hence this papaya face pack for fairness is perfect for dull skin.
- A few pieces of ripe papaya
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mash the papaya and add the freshly-squeezed lemon juice in it. Mix it well. Apply the mixture to your face and let it stay on for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with plenty of water. Try this pack at least 2-3 times a week to get best results.
Important facts on the papaya benefits:
- a) Papaya leaf tea is a great concoction to treat many ailments.
- b) The tree bark of papaya is sometimes made into ropes.
- c) Papaya, in the ancient times, was regarded as an exotic fruit.
- e) Papaya contains many essential vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B1), which are not produced by the body.
Cooking with Papaya
Papaya is used in many cuisines both in raw and ripe forms, and adds a delicious flavor to the dishes. You can try a classic raw papaya salad or a halwa to reap the benefits of this amazing fruit.
Do you have lots of green papaya in your refrigerator? Time to put them to good use, rustle up this healthy salad in a jiffy, follow this recipe and you can use your innovation to make this recipe your very own.
Ingredients of Green Papaya Salad
- 1/2 Green papaya (Julienne), soaked
- 3 Small Red or Green Chillies
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 6 Tbsp. Jaggery
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 4-5 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 3-4 long beans (chopped)
- 1 Medium Tomato (quartered)
- 2 Tbsp Peanuts (roasted), unsalted
Use a hand pestle to pound the garlic, add the chilies to pound it again. Next add the jaggery, along with the lemon juice and soy sauce. Pound the concoction and make them into a paste. Next, add the roasted peanuts and keep pounding to get a thickened concoction. Add the tomato, keep stirring the mixture while you add the long beans and braise the mixture ever so slightly. Add the papaya next and pound and stir the mixture till they are all blended together in a harmonious whole. Serve it and garnish it with lightly roasted peanuts to give the right crunch and texture to the dish.
Care for some dessert but want to make it healthy? The papaya halwa is just what the doctor ordered. It is a simple recipe but works every time.
- 5 cup grated papaya
- 4 tablespoon of coconut sugar (you can also use jaggery as per taste)
- 2 1/2 tablespoon milk powder
- 4 powdered green cardamom
- 4 tablespoon ghee
15 gm. halved cashews
Heat ghee in a flat-bottomed pan. Just when the ghee starts to melt, add the grated papaya in it and cook the papaya for 10 minutes. Keep on stirring the fruit until it becomes dry, releasing all its juices. Once the papaya is thoroughly cooked, add your sweetener until you see the ghee separating from the cooked papaya. Next, add the milk powder and the cardamom powder and blend it thoroughly. Keep stirring at medium flame. Once the halwa is cooked, add the slivered cashews and serve hot.
Well, now you can experiment with papaya and have it in more ways than one. Add papaya to your daily diet to keep many diseases at bay. Ensure it is a big part of your children’s diet plan as papaya fruit benefits are not limited to adults only. This is one fruit that has a host of essential nutrients so it can be an integral part of a balanced diet plan. Whatever may be your health goals, you cannot ignore ‘pawpaw’, as it is popularly known in Australia and many of the Caribbean countries.