Basketful Benefits of the Humble Papaya
Healthy Living

Basketful Benefits of the Humble Papaya

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 12 Dec 2014 - 11:45.

Papaya, (botanical name Carica papaya), is a tropical fruit, often seen in orange-red, yellow-green and yellow-orange hues, with a rich orange pulp, originally found in Southern Mexico and Central America. Papaya was once called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus for its buttery taste.

Papaya fruit is a year-round fruit found across the world. It is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes that have a remarkable effect both internally and externally.Carica papaya is a multi-faceted plant with the whole plant having (parts, fruit, roots, bark, peel, seeds and pulp) medicinal properties. It serves as an excellent source of nutrients andis a worthwhile addition to your diet.

Nutritive Value:

Papaya fruit (Carica papaya), Fresh, Nutritive Value per 100 g. 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy

39 Kcal

2%

Carbohydrates

9.81 g

7.5%

Protein

0.61 g

1%

Total Fat

0.14 g

0.5%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

1.80 g

4.5%

Vitamins

 

 

Folates

38 µg

9.5%

Niacin

0.338 mg

2%

Pantothenic acid

0.218 mg

4%

Pyridoxine

0.019 mg

1.5%

Riboflavin

0.032 mg

2.5%

Thiamin

0.027 mg

2%

Vitamin A

1094 IU

36%

Vitamin C

61.8 mg

103%

Vitamin E

0.73 mg

5%

Vitamin K

2.6 µg

2%

Electrolytes

 

 

Sodium

3 mg

0%

Potassium

257 mg

5%

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

24 mg

2.5%

Iron

0.10 mg

1%

Magnesium

10 mg

2.5%

Phosphorus

5 mg

1%

Zinc

0.07 mg

0.5%

Phyto-nutrients

 

 

Carotene-β

276 µg

--

Crypto-xanthin-β

761 µg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

75 µg

--

Here are some of the top health benefits of papaya.

Aids in digestion

Eating papaya is proposed to improve digestion. Papaya contains a proteolytic enzyme called papain, which is highest when the fruit is ripe. A test tube study found papaya may potentially act as a digestive aid, according to a 2012 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign master's degree thesis. The student found that papaya enzymes are active in the stomach's acidic environment. It helps break down protein and is a good source of fermentable substances that promote health. Consumption of papaya is beneficial in conditions like indigestion, constipation, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers and gastric problems.

Prevents cancer

Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants,lycopene, phytonutrients and flavonoids that prevent your cells from undergoing free radical damage. Researchers have discovered that papayas are effective against breast, pancreatic and colon cancers. Recent research on papaya leaf tea extract has demonstrated cancer cell growth inhibition. It also contains compounds called isothiocyanates that help prevent cancer by eliminating potential carcinogens from the body and enhancing the action of tumour-suppressing proteins. Choosing to regularly eat lycopene-rich fruits, such as papaya may greatly reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, suggests research published the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Helps ease menstrual pain

Some studies claim that consumption of papaya fruit helps to ease menstrual pain because it contains the enzyme known as papain that eases the flow. You can take papaya leaf, tamarind and salt along with water which is helpful in frequent pain in women menstruation cycle.Additionally, Papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular periodsespecially in cases of menstruation cessation in young ladies due to cold or trauma.

Protects against arthritis

Arthritis can be a debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly. Vitamin C-rich foods, such as papaya, provides protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints. Papain is active over a wide pH range and is employed in treating arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory effects

Protein enzymes including papain and chymopapain and antioxidant nutrients found in papaya; including vitamin C, vitamins E, and beta-carotene, reduce the severity of the conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Good for eyes

Papaya is rich in Vitamin A which helps protect your vision from degenerating. Additionally the carotenoids like beta-carotene found in papaya can be converted into vitamin A, which is important for healthy eyes and vision. Papaya also contains good levels of two special compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin which play a protective role in eye health.According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three or more servings of papaya per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, as compared to those who ate less than 1.5 servings daily.

Used for Dengue Treatment

Papaya leaves are also used to cure the dengue fever. Carica papaya extract has been seen to increase the platelet count which is lowered in dengue fever. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested that the juice prepared from Carica papaya leaves recorded significant increase of platelet count in randomized controlled trial conducted on patients with dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Boosts your Immunity

Vitamin C and vitamin A, which is made in the body from the beta-carotene in papaya, are both needed for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Papaya may therefore be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds and flu.

Helps in weight loss treatment

The comparative low calorie content makes this a favourite fruit for those who want to reduce weight. As it is high in fibre it gives you a feeling of fullness and also helps clear your bowel movement.

Protects Heart

Nutrients of papaya as a whole improve cardiovascular system, protect against heart diseases, heart attacks, strokes. The alkaloid, Carpaine, present in papaya slows the heart rate in humans and thus reduces blood pressure. Additionally being high in fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants papaya helps lower or prevent the build-up cholesterol level in the blood.

Keeps skin glowing 

Papaya is great for the skin regime and can be used as one of the ingredient in the face pack to get its benefits. The presence of vitamin A helps to restore and rebuild damaged skin. Applied papaya peel used as skin lightening agent. When peel mixed with honey and applied it can act as soothe and moisturizers the skin.

Relaxes Muscles

Adding papaya oil and vinegar to bath water, along with essential oils like lavender, orange and rosemary can be nourishing, refreshing and relaxing, and can work as a pain reliever and muscle relaxant

A word of caution: Papaya seeds in any of the form should be avoided for young men and pregnant women, since it possess antifertility effects.

Papaya being considered as a hot fruit is usually avoided during pregnancy. Latex, which is present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, leads to uterine contractions which might lead to abortions. Hence it is advisable to avoid eating papaya if you are pregnant.

Enjoy the benefits of papaya by including it in your diet in the form of fruit salads, juice, smoothies, leaf extract decoction etc.

 

References:

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.