Papaya also called pawpaw, is a cerise-orange colored juicy fruit, which is not only fragrant and delicious but also very healthy. It is being famous for hundreds of years and was once called the “fruit of the angels”. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body and it is famous for its luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics and can be eaten as a fruit in the raw form, a smoothie, a milkshake, or as a vegetable in various recipes.
Latex, derived from the raw papaya fruit is used as a meat tenderizer and is also used in the manufacturing of several cosmetic, skin, and beauty products as well as certain chewing gums. They are available for consumption throughout the year.
The whole fruit, including other parts of the tree, are beneficial to health in several ways. Papaya in raw form contains enzyme, which are used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums. Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B (Folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help improve cardiovascular health and protect against colon cancer.
How Papaya Impacts the Body
Aids in Digestion: papayas are commonly consumed for proper digestion. The presence of papain, a digestive super enzyme improves digestion by breaking down proteins and also cleanses the digestive tract. This ensures a reduced conversion of protein into body fat. If the protein in our diet is not digested properly, it may cause arthritis, constipation, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other related health conditions.
Weight Loss: papayas are also good for people who are trying to lose weight naturally. Having a bowl full of papaya as mid evening or mid – morning delicacy can help work the magic.
Prevents Infections: papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with them.
Relieves Toothache: A paste of fresh papaya roots can be rubbed onto the teeth and gums to set relief from toothaches. The bark of the tree, primarily the inner bark is also an excellent remedy for tooth problems.
Skin Care: papayas can be great revitalizing agents, which is why they are used in many cosmetics. They are used in homemade face masks by many women. The papain in them kills dead cells and purifies the skin. The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papaya help treat sunburn and irritated skin. A good facial massage using papaya is a fabulous remedy to remove dead cells.
Regulates Menstruation: papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular menses. Consumption of green, unripe papayas can normalize the irregularity in one’s periodic cycle. Papayas are considered as a hot food, meaning that they produce heat in the body. This excessive production of heat in the body stimulates the estrogen hormone.
- Pieces of papaya when soaked with a bit of lemon juice and honey are an absolute treat for the taste buds.
- Blend papayas, strawberries, and yogurt for a cold soup treat.
- Add a slice of papaya to a fresh fruit salad and have it as a snack.
Consumption of papaya in normal amounts is recognized safe by FDA. However, there are certain side effects of consuming papaya.
In pregnant women, papaya is classified as being harmful during pregnancy. It is considered as a hot fruit latex, present in high contractions in raw and semi-ripe papayas that can cause uterine contractions which might lead to abortions. Avoid eating raw papaya if you are pregnant.
Gastrointestinal irritation is another possible side effect. Consuming too many papayas can cause a powerful laxative effect in the intestines. Avoid eating large quantities of papaya, especially if it is in its raw form. Unripe or raw papaya can cause pain in the intestines, stomach and can sometime cause esophageal perforations.