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Papaya – Benefits, Nutrition, and Weight Loss

Papaya (also called papaw or pawpaw) is a fruit native to the world’s tropical regions. The fruit is famous because of its vibrant colour, soft texture and sweet taste. Papayas are eaten raw and added to salads, smoothies and shakes.

If we geographically locate the origin of the fruit, it belongs to Central America. That is because tropical regions which receive abundant rainfalls provide it with the ideal conditions for growth. On the other hand, papaya crops don’t grow in areas that receive heavy winters. 

The local people of the Central Americas ate papayas. They also used them for numerous medicinal purposes. Papayas travelled and reached the world during the 1500s and 1600s. Spanish and Portuguese colonisers brought them in the form of seeds. Later, the fruit further reached other tropical regions like the Philippines and India. 

Presently, the papayas are grown in Hawaii, the Philippines, Ceylon, Australia, and Africa. They are also cultivated in Central and South America, though on a smaller scale. Globally, people know the fruit by different names. These include pawpaw in Australia, Kepaya, Lapaya or Tapaya in Southern Asia and ‘figueir des iles’ or fig of the islands in France. 

Just like its numerous names, papaya also has a vast nutritional value. The benefits of eating papaya add to their popularity. Papayas are now easily available at almost all times of the year for us to gorge on.

Nutritional Value of Papaya

There are many benefits of eating papaya. Papayas are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. 100 grams of ripe papaya consists of 32 calories, 0.6g of protein, 0.1g of fat, 7.2g of carbs and 2.6g of fibre.

The fruit contains antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation, fight a host of diseases, and help one look younger by keeping wrinkles at bay. 

One small papaya (approx. 152 grams) contains:

Carbohydrates: 15 gramsFibre: 3 gramsProtein: 1 gramVitamin C: 157% of the RDIVitamin A: 33% of the RDIFolate (vitamin B9): 14% of the RDIPotassium: 11% of the RDI

Proven Health Benefits of Papaya

Christopher Columbus rightfully called papayas “the fruit of the angels”. Papayas and health benefits go hand-in-hand. Listed below are some health benefits:

Papaya Aids Weight Loss

People are always on the hunt for a weight loss miracle that will help them lose their additional pounds without having to go to the gym or being on a restrictive diet. While such a miracle does not exist, some fruits and vegetables help weight loss effectively.

Papayas are one such fruit. Rich in antioxidants and minerals, papaya benefits feature weight loss as one of the top ones. 

Papaya aids in weight loss because it is low in calories, a good fibre source, and low GI. The fibre content present in papayas keeps you feeling full for a long time, thus, reducing cravings.

Papaya contains an enzyme called papain. It is sometimes known to be helpful in weight loss. It promotes fat burning. As per a study, papaya also aids in digestion and metabolism, supporting a weight loss diet.

Calculative and holistic weight loss is essential to ensure that you do not regain your lost pounds. Papaya benefits include helping you lose weight without depriving you of other necessary nutrients. Your body learns how to lose weight and continue keeping it off. Remember to not go overboard with consuming papayas. Eat the fruit for 2-3 days a week for a few months for the best results.

Papaya Lowers Cholesterol

Papayas are rich in fibre, antioxidants and Vitamin C, which help prevent increased cholesterol in your arteries. Too much cholesterol leads to several coronary diseases, including heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.

Papaya contains Folic Acid, which is known for changing amino acids homocysteine into simpler acids. High levels of homocysteine, typically found in meat products, increase the risk of heart disease. 

Some recent studies suggest that homocysteine levels may increase secondary to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Papaya is an Excellent Immunity Booster

Papayas contain more than 200% of your daily dose of Vitamin C. It is beneficial for keeping several diseases at bay, including scurvy. Vitamin C is essential in creating collagen, which in turn helps in connecting bodily tissues.

Vitamin C deficiency leads to several symptoms, such as anaemia, weakness, skin problems, and gum disease. Therefore, it is good to regularly have a bowl of papaya to keep such health problems at bay.

Papaya Helps in Diabetes

One of the most visible symptoms of diabetes is craving sweet foods. Papaya benefits include being immensely helpful for people who have diabetes. The fruit is low in GI and high in fibre, thus preventing blood sugar from rising in people with diabetes. 

According to reports, papaya has a hypoglycemic effect on the body. However, since the fruit contains flavonoids, a natural antioxidant, it lowers blood sugar.

Protection Against Arthritis

People who have arthritis find themselves in much pain as their bone structure becomes weaker and weaker. Papayas benefit people at risk of developing arthritis in the future, as it keeps bones from inflaming. This way, papaya keeps various forms of arthritis at bay.

As per a study, papaya contains papain and chymopapain. Both these enzymes are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Papain has been proven effective at reducing joint pain and stiffness. At the same time, chymopapain mediates inflammation by raising prostaglandins levels. Prostaglandins are a group of lipids that control inflammation, blood flow, and the formation of blood clots. They help people with chronic conditions, such as arthritis.

Papaya Helps Ease Digestion

Eating papaya every day benefits you by helping your liver digest fast foods and saturated fats, keeping your body healthy. Papayas have a digestive enzyme called papain along with fibre, which aids your body in breaking down food.

A study suggests that consumption of papaya has improved bowel movement. In addition, problems such as constipation and bloating reduce significantly by consuming papaya.  

Papaya Improves Eyesight

Unfortunately, eyesight weakens a lot with age due to macular degeneration. Papaya health benefits also include your sight. 

Papaya has powerful antioxidant properties. It contains carotenoids like beta carotene. Your body further converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents dry eyes and night blindness. 

Papaya also has two unique compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein reduces inflammation in your eyes, fights off free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and boosts the sharpness of your vision. Zeaxanthin helps build a yellow-coloured pigment shield. This shield protects the eye cells from the harmful effects of specific light sources, such as the sun. 

Eyesight gradually weakens with age because the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible.  Eating papaya slows down the impact of ageing on your eyes. 

Papaya Prevents Wrinkles and Signs of Ageing

Papaya benefits you by making you look younger. The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C. In addition, it helps build collagen in your body, resulting in your tissues binding together. Altogether, eating a bowl of papaya every day can ensure that you look at least five years younger than your actual age.

Lycopene and Vitamin C in Papaya protects your skin. In addition, studies prove that it also helps fight signs of ageing. 

Papaya Reduces Stress

Papaya health benefits also include your state of mind. 

Along with enhancing your physical characteristics, Papaya works on your mental health too. Vitamin C in a Papaya helps boost adrenal gland function. Adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions. In addition, it is one of the building blocks of cortisol. Cortisol controls blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, and assists with memory formulation.

A bowl of papaya every day can keep stress at bay. In addition, papayas help in regulating the flow of stress hormones through vitamin C.

Cancer Prevention

Studies have shown that prevention of cancer cell buildup is possible through a daily dose of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients. Instances of colon and prostate cancer in people reduce through daily consumption of papaya.

Papaya contains lycopene. Studies suggest that lycopene reduce the effect of cancer radiotherapy. 

However, these studies are still in their infancy. Therefore, it would not be wise to start following them without proper research and consulting your oncologist.

Papaya Eases Menstrual Pain

Every woman can testify that menstrual cramps are the most dreaded time of the month. Women who suffer from severe cramps should eat papaya regularly. One of the main papaya benefits, especially for women, is that the fruit helps menstrual blood flow.

Papayas contain papain enzyme, which helps in the smooth passing out of blood from your uterus.

Papaya: Healthy Recipes

Papaya Smoothie

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Number of servings: 4

Ingredients

Papaya cubes: 2 cups Chilled milk: ¾ cup Curd: Half cupHoney: 3 tsp

Method

Take all the ingredients and grind them in a mixture.Stop mixing as the beverage smoothens.Pour it into the glasses and drink them immediately.

Nutrient Values Per Glass

Energy: 141 calProtein: 3.2gCarbohydrates: 20.5gFibre: 0.6gFat: 4.1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 16.7mg

Papaya Juice

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Number of servings: 2

Ingredients

Medium-size papaya: Half Fresh pineapple juice/ orange juice: Half cup Fresh lemon juice: 2 teaspoons Honey: 2 teaspoons Black pepper powder: ⅛ teaspoon Coldwater: Half cup Salt to taste

Method

Peel the papaya and remove the seeds. Dice it into small pieces.Add the papaya pieces, pineapple juice, fresh lemon juice, sugar, black pepper powder, half cup cold water and salt. Then blend them and check for consistency.If it is still thick, add more water or pineapple juice. Again, make changes as per your tastes.Pour and serve it immediately. Your papaya juice is ready!

Tips and Variations

To make the juice slushy, blend it with some crushed ice.Choose papaya with yellow-orange skin and a sweet aroma.

Papaya: Things to Remember

When buying a Papaya at stores, there are things you need to remember. First, green Papayas are not yet ripe. Therefore, they lack the flavour and texture of the ripe fruit. However, cook and eat them for their immense benefits. 

Now, let us look at the precautions we should take for the effective use of papayas.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Do not take papaya in medicinal amounts if you are pregnant. Unprocessed papain may poison the fetus. It may also lead to congenital disabilities. In addition, there is a lack of evidence about the consumption of papayas during breastfeeding. So, avoid consuming higher than the required amounts.Diabetes: Fermented papaya can lower blood sugar. While consuming papaya, you should take care of the adjustments in the medications.Papain Allergy: If you have a papain allergy, do not eat papayas or products containing them.Latex Allergy: If you have a latex allergy, you might also be allergic to papayas. In such cases, do not eat papayas or products containing them.Surgery: Papaya might negatively affect the levels of blood sugar in the body during and after surgery. You should stop eating it before two weeks of the scheduled date.Unripe Papayas, however, contain latex that induces nausea and diarrhoea symptoms.Red or Orange Papayas are ripe, which can be consumed raw. If you want unripe Papayas to ripen up, keep them at room temperature.When eating Papayas, consume the soft orange part. Discard the skin and seeds.

Always consult your doctor or specialist to know your allergies. In addition, it is advised to pregnant women to avoid unripe Papayas while carrying. 

Summary

Papayas contain various antioxidants and enzymes that help in bettering the body in every way. Consuming papayas regularly can help one. As a result, skin starts looking younger, and the digestive tract improves drastically in a good way.

In short, Papayas are beneficial for your whole body. Therefore, include a bowl of papayas in your daily diet for a better and healthy you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are the benefits of eating papaya?

A. Papayas lower cholesterol, boost immunity and aid weight loss.

Q. Who should not eat papaya?

A. Pregnant women, people with papain allergy and ones undergoing any surgery should not eat papaya.

Q. What are the disadvantages of papaya?

A. Papayas may be harmful to pregnant women. It could also lead to digestive issues and may not go well with medications.

Q. Does papaya burn fat?

A. Papaya improves digestion. But there is no convincing evidence that it burns fat.

Q. Can we eat papaya everyday?

A. Yes, you can eat papaya every day to keep you energised and immune to several diseases.

Q. Why does my stomach hurt after eating papaya?

A. While papaya is a source of fibre and is suitable for digestive health, eating too many may have a laxative effect, causing diarrhoea and an upset stomach.

Q. Does papaya give you gas?

A. Yes,  excessive consumption of Papaya may cause flatulence and loose motions. 

Q. How many calories is 1 kg of papaya?

A. 1 kg of papaya approximately has 120 calories.

Q. Is papaya a low-calorie fruit?

A. Yes, papaya is a low-calorie fruit. For example, one cup of diced papaya contains only 62 calories.

Q. Can I eat papaya at night?

A. Papaya acts as a good laxative. So if you’re looking for a good bowel movement, you should eat Papayas at night before going to bed.

Q. Is papaya good for losing weight?

A. Yes, papaya is perfect for losing weight. It is low in calories, has a moderate GI, and is a good fibre source.

Q. Can I eat papaya empty stomach?

A. Eating Papayas on an empty stomach can clean your digestive tract and clear toxins.

Q. What is the nutritional value of papaya?

A. Papaya has a high nutritional value. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B9 or folate and potassium.

Q. Is it OK to eat papaya every day?

A. Yes, it is ok to eat papaya every day to keep you energised and immune to several diseases.

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