Carica papaya (Caricaceae) popularly known as pawpaw and more commonly known as the papaya is native to Southern Mexico, Central America and Northern South America. The papaya is now cultivated in most countries with tropical climate. They grow best in a tropical region where there is plentiful rainfall but little long-term flooding. Papayas are shaped similar to pears and can be up to 20 inches (51 cm) long. The skin is green when unripe and orange when ripe, while the flesh is yellow, orange or red.
You may also like how to cook Green Papaya.
Papaya fruit health benefits:
Papaya is Rich in Antioxidants:
Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients like carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B, flavonoids, folate, panthotenic acids and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
Free radicals present in our body play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of chronic and degenerative disorders (aging, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration cancer, cataract), as well as in acute clinical conditions.
In a study the antioxidant activities of the ethanol, petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, n-butanol and water extract fractions from the seeds of papaya were evaluated. The ethyl acetate fraction and the n-butanol fraction not only showed higher antioxidant activities but also showed higher superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide radicals scavenging activities. The high amount of total phenolics and total flavonoids in the ethyl acetate and n-butanol fractions contributed to their antioxidant activities. Therefore, the seeds of papaya and these compounds might be used as natural antioxidants.
Papaya is Good for Alzheimer’s disease:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia in the elderly. Patients with AD suffer a gradual deterioration of memory and other cognitive functions, which eventually leads to a complete incapacity and death.
In a study conducted it was found that that nutraceuticals with antioxidant/NO-regulating properties significantly protect from RBC oxidative damage, and are potential weapons for the aging process and chronic and degenerative diseases.
In another study researchers found that FPP (fermented papaya preparation) consumption on a daily basis can strengthen the antioxidant defense system in vivo was clearly demonstrated by the marked increase of total antioxidant status in the FPP-supplemented pre-diabetics.
Papaya is Good for Heart Health:
“Bioactive compounds” are extranutritional constituents that typically occur in small quantities in foods. Many epidemiologic studies have shown protective effects of plant-based diets on cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some studies show that fruits high in lycopene and vitamin C may help prevent heart disease.
Increased intake of papaya augmented the carotenoid content and influenced enzymes associated with the antioxidant properties of HDL. As a good source of fiber, papayas also help to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body.
Another research suggests that FPP (Fermented Papaya Preparation) may present a novel, economically feasible nutraceutical supplement for the management of diabetes and for those at risk for cardiovascular disease neurological disease and other conditions worsened by overt inflammation and oxidative stress.
Papaya Improves Digestion:
Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is used as a natural remedy in abnormal digestion in tropical and industrialized countries. Clinical observations have revealed positive effects for patients with constipation, heartburn, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) after eating papaya preparations. In a study conducted they concluded from the results, that the papaya preparation contributes to the maintenance of digestive tract physiology. It ameliorates various functional disturbances, like symptoms of IBS. Papaya also helps in treating Ulcers and gastrointestinal problems.
Benefits of Papaya for Skin:
Oxidative stress is believed to be the major case for much of the wrinkling, and other skin damage that occurs with age. In addition to keeping our body healthy, papaya can also help skin look more toned and youthful. Papaya fights free radicals that age our skin and show premature aging signs. Papain, an enzyme present in papaya, kills dead cells and purifies the skin.
Anti-oxidant properties of Papaya have been widely used in the skin care industry either as topically applied agents or oral supplements in an attempt to prolong youthful skin appearance. Also carotenoids present in Papaya may contribute to protection against harmful UV radiation.
Benefits of Papaya for Hair Growth:
Papaya is very beneficial for hair health, as it contains vitamin A, a nutrient needed for sebum production, which keeps hair hydrated.
Papaya also contains antioxidants, vitamins C, and E, which are important for hair health.
Papaya for Cancer Patients:
Papaya is rich in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that work against free radicals and make papayas effective against breast, pancreatic and other cancers.
Lycopene in papaya may help reduce cancer risk. Researchers found that lycopene supplementation reduced the risk of cancer in many parts of the body and slowed tumor growth. It has antioxidant properties and helps reduce the damage caused by radiation therapy for cancer.
Papaya fruit for Diabetes:
Papaya is low in sugar and high in fiber in return, so it is a suitable fruit for diabetics. Papaya helps maintain blood sugar level and cholesterol because of the high fiber content. Its extracts can actually decelerate the development of type-II diabetes.
A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted at the Cardiac Centre, SSRN Hospital, Pamplemousses, (Mauritius) to determine the effect of a short term supplementation of a fermented papaya preparation (FPP®) on biomarkers of diabetes and antioxidant status in a multi-ethnical neo-diabetic population from November 2010 to March 2011. Supplementation of 6g FPP®/day for a period of 14 weeks could improve the general health status of several organs targeted by oxidative stress during diabetes.
FPP may present a novel, economically feasible nutraceutical supplement for the management of diabetes and for those at risk for cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and other conditions worsened by overt inflammation and oxidative stress.
Benefits of papaya for weight loss
Papaya is low in Calories and rich in dietary fibres. Thus, eating papaya can make you feel full for a longer time. Hence, you will be snacking less and maintaining weight more. Fiber offers several health benefits, including helping you maintain a healthy weight, increasing satiety, and lowering the risk of overeating.
Promotes Bone Health:
Calcium is very important for bone health. Papaya is rich in Vitamin K which helps calcium absorption in the body and reduce its excretion in the urine. Adequate vitamin K consumption is also important for good health, as it improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium. The higher proportion of calcium in the body, the greater is the bone strength and rebuilding. Thus, consumption of papaya is highly recommended for bone health.
Chymopapain, present in Papaya has a significant effect on increasing the bone density and strength and are effective in treating arthritis.
Papaya Boosts Immunity:
Eating foods high in vitamin C can help to boost the immune system, allowing the body to fight off bacterial and viral illnesses. Papaya is rich source of Vitamin C. Papaya is also a good source of Vitamin A, another important vitamin for a healthy and functional immune system.
Papaya Prevents Asthma:
Papaya is good for Asthma patients. Papaya, apricots, broccoli, melon, squash and carrots are rich source of beta-carotenoids which help to prevent and reduce inflammation in the lungs. It helps in soothing the inflammation and reduce the chances of developing asthma.
Side-Effects of Eating Too Much of Papaya:
Inspite of its wonderful health benefits Papaya has to offer, It is best to avoid eating papayas in large quantities in order to prevent health issues. Always consult a doctor before taking Papaya for health issues who will be able to guide you better.
Latex, present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, causes uterine contractions which might lead to abortions. Over consumption of papaya may result in gastrointestinal irritation. It can cause a powerful laxative effect in the intestines.
The papain in the fruit can lead to certain allergies. Some of the reactions may include swelling, dizziness, headache, rashes and itching.
A randomised controlled trial of increasing fruit and vegetable intake and how this influences the carotenoid concentration and activities of PON-1 and LCAT in HDL from subjects with type 2 diabetes – PubMed (nih.gov)