The tall tree standing in solitude in my backyard garden was inviting attention from passers-by. A bunch of papaya fruits had turned orange from green. It could be any moment when it would fall down. And it did fall down with a thud. It was a treat to have the sweet fruit that afternoon.
Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America called it “the fruit of angels”. Papaya is a popular fruit which originated in the Central American countries but grown in tropical climates all over the world today. It is marked for its tall structure devoid of plenty of leaves. The fruit is visible even at that height and hence easy to catch attention when ripe. Plants are male, female or hermaphrodite, i.e. devoid of any sex. Most of the commercial cultivation consists of plants of hermaphrodite variety. It was once a rare fruit but is available almost everywhere in this world and specially in the tropical areas.
Papaya benefits are well-known in the folk-lore and it is one of the natural remedies in diseases where chemical dosage is still not recommended. Here in this article we discuss the health benefits of various parts of papaya.
The Ripe Fruit
The peculiar taste of ripe fruit comes when it is optimally ripe. It tastes delicious at this stage. It will give a different taste when semi-ripe or over ripe. In order to prolong this taste, it is suggested to keep in cold. The skin of the ripe fruit should be soft yet firm not to collapse. It is orangish and the flesh inside is yellow. They are sphere shaped and varies in length up to 20 inches!
Papaya benefits stems from the anti-oxidants it packs. The anti-oxidant effect is derived from the lycopene- a powerful carotenoid. Besides, the ripe fruit packs Vitamin A and C, Fiber, Magnesium and Folate to provide us with maximum health benefits.
Consumption of ripe fruit thereby leads to reducing inflammation and a younger looking skin. It is often recommended for cancer patients due to this anti-oxidant effect besides supplying vitamins and minerals to support recovery.
The ripe fruit aiding in digestion is the most well-known cure for erratic bowel syndrome. It contains an enzyme called papain. It helps maintain the PH for gastric juices and thereby improves digestion. The richness in fiber leads it to clean the food tract and thereby promote a healthy digestive system.
Care should be taken not to drink water after consuming ripe papaya. Though this is true for any fruit but specially papaya disturbs the gastric juices if water is taken after consuming it.
The Raw Fruit
Raw fruit has been used as a meat tenderizer for many years. The papain in the fruit breaks down complex protein in meat and thereby it acquires this property of tenderizing. It is concentrated in the raw fruit and hence it is the raw fruit which is used for this activity.
Some delicacies in Mid-Western countries essentially uses this technique to prepare the softest kebabs. The meat is left overnight along with grated raw papaya. The longer you can afford to leave, the tenderer the meat will be.
Raw fruit contains fibers and helps in cleaning our guts. Thereby, making the digestive tract healthy and well functioning. This is also effective in treating skin conditions. Raw papaya contains maximum amount of carotenoids. The carotenoids in papaya are available for maximum absorption in human body.The concentration of the goodness elements of papaya is higher in raw fruit.
Raw fruit should always be cooked before eating. Else, extract the juice in a juicer. It contains a high degree of latex and hence not recommended for pregnant women as it is known to have adverse effect on the fetus.
Papaya seeds are generally not consumed and discarded due to its peppery flavor. Seeds are black in colour and many in number. They are loosely attached at the core of the fruit. However, some nutritionists suggest that papaya seeds are edible when taken in small proportions.
Papaya benefits includes those derived from its seeds. The seeds are anti-oxidants and fight free radicals in our body giving it a youthful outlook. It as well helps in fighting the common flu, cough and cold. Since papain is a constituent of all part of papaya, the seeds are known to aid in digestion. Besides, the fiber helps in keeping the guts clean and thereby healthy. It is also known to relieve muscle cramps in menstrual pain.
However, the biggest challenge is how to consume it. The solution is to sweeten it with honey while consuming which camouflages the peppery taste of the seeds.
One of the most recent use of papaya leave extract is in treating Dengue. Fresh papaya leaf juice contains papain and carocain. This helps in controlling fall of blood platelets and reduces Dengue infection. Papaya juice has been used a popular home remedy to treat this disease where chemical medication and OTC drugs have still not found recommendations from doctors.
The treatment consists of having about 50ml of papaya leaf extract before meal thrice a day to see improvements. However, caution should be exercised over such treatment as this is still not supported by medical researches.
Besides the home cure for dengue fever, papaya seeds are known to treat malarial fever and enhance the health of skin and hair. Papaya leaf extract blended with aloe-vera juice are claimed to give the best results.
The delicious taste of papaya is packed with some of the most surprising health benefits. The key ingredient of papain is present almost everywhere in the plant – the fruit, leaves or the seed. It improves digestion and provides the benefits of vitamins and minerals.
Most of the health benefits of papaya arise out of word of mouth and caution must be exercised in consuming it in reasonable quantities only. I encourage you to start consuming small doses of ripe papaya fruit either raw or blended in a smoothie to see the health benefits for yourself.
Do leave your opinion and experience with health benefits of papaya in the comment box below.
12 Replies to “Papaya Benefits and Wellness”
I really do enjoy tropical fruits and Papaya is no exception, I like it when it’s just ripe and ready to eat. I didnt realise there was so many health benefits associated with the fruit.
Another interesting thing was the use of fruits as a meat tenderiser I never knew that was a way you can use fruit that’s amazing.
Thanks for your comments Kyle,
Yes, using raw papaya is a popular method for tenderizing meat. It really away the hardness from meat.
Keep enjoying tropical fruits. Many of them have health benefits.
I am from Thailand and papaya is my jam. I love eating the ripe papaya by itself as a dessert but I love my green papaya salad the most. It is my soul food, I can eat it every day with sticky rice. I know that papaya is good for eye sight but did not know that it is rick in anti oxidant and good for my skin. Luckily that I this fruit daily lol Oh wow, I had no idea that I can eat the seeds. To be honest the seeds look to much like insects larva, I get gross out by it a little but hey, if it is fighting free radicals, I am going to put some in my smoothies. Oh wow, even the leaf is beneficial, how come I do not know this. I only know that you can eat mango leaves but not papaya. Thanks for sharing all the benefits with us!
Thanks for your comments once again. Papaya leaves are a popular treatment for dengue fever and I have myself seen myself recovering from it.
I am always hunting for natural ways to maintain or increase my health. I am glad I came across your article on papaya. One more natural fruit to add to my diet! I did not know about the leaves, I will need to look into that further. And that is very interesting about it tenderizing meat. Is there any specific meat that is recommended as best for this method?
Thanks for your comments Shawn,
It has great tenderizing effect on mutton or sheep meat. The effect is extremely tender preparation.
Good thing that you wrote this article about Papaya. There is a myth that consuming ripe Papaya will lessen man’s sexual capability. I heard this when I was a young boy. Keeping this in mind made me stay away with this wonderful fruit. Your article changed my perception about this “Fruit of angels”. Now I will include Papaya in my diet. Great article. This is worth sharing.
Thanks for your comments Brian,
Oops, I had never heard this frankly. But interesting to note and I will do more research on it.
Thanks for sharing and stay well.
I’ve had tasted delicious papaya many years ago in Canada. We found them growing wild in the forest. It is a surprise to learn of the health benefits. The critical ingredient of papain is present almost everywhere in the plant – the fruit, leaves, or the seed. I like the information on digestion. And how it provides vitamins and minerals.
I didn’t realize the health benefits of papaya. I will put this product on my grocery list. I already make smoothies, and I’m going to start papaya fruit to my recipes of health benefits.
Thanks for your comments Kevin and for sharing your experience of having papaya from the wild forest.
Do include this in your daily diet for obvious health benefits.
Thanks Rohit, I’ve been looking for more natural ways to stay healthy and had long heard that fresh fruit and vegetable are a key part of this. So I was happy to find your review online. I’ve eaten a lot of Papaya but a bit sporadically, now after reading your review I’d love to grow a tree.
I am amazed there are so many benefits. For skin, digestion, antioxidants, even the leaves!
I see that they are a tall tree. Do you have any idea how well they grow in a mediterranean environment (Australia)? I know they grow well in the tropics but not sure about here – we are hot and dry but the winters get a little cool too.
Thanks for your comments John,
I knew someone will take the bait when I put that picture there! But jokes apart, it will be great to grow a papaya tree. My research shows that people have successfully grown papaya trees in Sydney. I guess it will not be too difficult anywhere in Australia.
Do share your feedback on how it goes.