Papaya is a fruit of the tropics. If Mango is the queen then papaya is a prince. When ripe it has a sweet taste, a mild flavor and a buttery texture with a rich yellow-orange color. Columbus termed it the fruit of angels. Considering its benefits the title is well deserved. Apart from taste you also get numerous benefits. You can eat it raw. You can enjoy the ripe fruit. Each has its advantages. Eat it or use it on your skin. Papaya benefits are numerous as you will see.
Papaya benefits – The fruit and its nutrition
There are different variants of papaya. Some varieties are round, while some oblong. Some have a rich yellow golden color when ripe. Also, some of them are orange-pink. Papayas range in size from 5 inches to 15 inches. You will find seeds that are edible and said to possess medicinal properties. Regardless of type or size, each type has plenty of nutritive qualities and making it part of your daily diet can give you a host of papaya benefits.
Papaya has plenty of nutrition. It is low in calories and you get high amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. From 150 grams of ripe papaya you will get only 59 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, protein 1 gram, Vitamin A 33% of RDI, Vitamin C 157% of RDI, Folate 14% of RDI, 11% of RDI. In addition you will find papayas to be rich in antioxidants, especially lycopene. Raw papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme that also finds use as meat tenderizer. It helps improve digestion. Ripe papaya contains relatively less amount of papain. Papaya also contains trace amounts of potassium, copper and magnesium. You can buy papayas all year round and enjoy papaya benefits for health.
Next, take a look at all the different ways papayas give you untold health benefits.
Raw papaya benefits
Papaya is ideal for those with digestion problems. You will find high amounts of papain and chymopapain enzymes that help to break down protein, carbohydrates and fats. Raw papaya contains fiber that cleanses the colon. If you have acidity, piles, diarrhea and constipation then you must consume raw papaya. Latex in raw papaya is a great cleanser and helps to alkalize your body. There are other raw papaya benefits too:
Raw papaya is white on the inside but it has high amount of carotenoids along with minerals and Vitamins. Research shows that the body better absorbs carotenoids found in raw papaya.
Papaya benefit for skin
Raw papaya benefits your skin too. Check out the point below to know them:
- If you have acne then rub a slice of raw papaya on your skin. You can also make a paste and mix in honey as well as lemon juice. Your acne and black spots will vanish with this treatment. Papain enzyme you find in raw papaya dissolves dead skin cells. You will find it easy to remove the dead skin layer. Pores of the skin remain open and there is less likelihood of infection due to blackheads.
- Raw papaya paste is also a beauty treatment. Mix raw papaya paste with honey and turmeric powder. Apply it to your face before you go to bed. Wash it the next morning. Do this for three months and your skin tone and texture improves. You become fairer. Your skin becomes smoother.
How to eat raw papaya
There are various ways you can consume raw papaya and enjoy raw papaya benefits.
- If you like you can cook raw papaya pieces along with lentils or other vegetables.
- Grind raw papaya to a paste and add to curries to make rich gravy.
- Grate raw papaya, sprinkle lemon juice and consume as salad, either alone or with other vegetables.
- Grate raw papaya and sauté it lightly if you do not like the raw taste. Make it tasty this way: Put some oil in a pan, let it heat. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Add diced green chillies and chopped curry leaves. Then add grated raw papaya and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add a dash of lemon juice.
- Peel raw papaya, cut into pieces and blend it into a juice along with mint. Add lemon juice and honey and drink this first thing in the morning. It is a great detoxifier and cleanser.
- Grate raw papaya and stuff it into whole wheat flour dough. Roll out to make flat chapatis. Roast with butter on a flat pan.
Here is a tip: people usually discard the skin. Do not do it. It is full of goodness. Grate raw papaya along with the skin. It is much better that way if you want all of the raw papaya benefits.
Now that we have done with raw papaya you can go on to ripe, luscious papaya and the benefits of ripe papaya.
Ripe papaya benefits
Raw papayas look luscious and taste great. Unlike other fruits papaya does not have a sour, acidic taste. It is mild and sweet. Talk of sweetness and you will find that papayas are not cloyingly sweet. This fruit contains just the right amount of sugars but not too much, making it ideal for diabetics too. Before you know about all the ripe papaya benefits learn about how you can consume it.
Different ways to eat ripe papaya
The best ripe papaya is one that is not too ripe or raw. Fresh ripe ones taste the best. Here are a few ways you can consume ripe papaya.
- Instead of your breakfast of eggs, toast and tea or coffee you can start your day with ripe papaya. Dice into medium sized pieces, sprinkle lemon juice and a bit of pepper powder. Add some honey if you like. Enjoy a healthy, nutritious breakfast!
- Dice ripe papaya. Mash them. Add some sugar or honey, lemon juice and some pepper powder. Let it remain in the fridge for some time. It will set to a jelly like consistency. Top with strawberry, banana slices and cherries or other fruits. One of the papaya benefits is that it contains high amount of pectin, a soluble fiber.
- If you cannot be bothered simply slice papaya, remove the seeds and bite into the fruit.
- If you think munching on papaya is a bore do not worry. You can turn it into a smoothie. Run it in a blender with some milk and honey. You have a delightful creamy mix.
Enjoy papayas for breakfast and in a month or so your skin takes on a healthy glow and your eyes sparkle.
Papaya benefits eyes
Papaya benefits your eyes and that is one very good reason to eat it every day. If you cannot eat it every day then at least eat it every other day. Papaya has beta carotene and zeaxanthin. Both are good for eyes. Zeaxanthin protects your eyes against harmful UV rays and prevents macular degeneration. You enjoy good eyesight till a ripe old age. Your eyes sparkle with good health.
Acidity and digestion
Given that people are habituated to eating foods and drinking coffee and tea it is no wonder acidity is a common problem. If you have this issue the solution is to eat ripe papaya. Eat it for breakfast. Have a bowl of ripe papaya after lunch. Your digestion improves. Acidity reduces. The fiber in papaya binds to toxins and prevents oxidative damage. Your colon health improves. The risk of colon cancer decreases when you make papaya a part of your daily diet.
Papaya reduces inflammation
Papaya is like manna from heaven. Of the many papaya benefits one thing you will like is that it reduces inflammation. The enzymes promote digestion and also reduce inflammation. Inflammation increases with advancing age. It can worsen conditions like asthma and arthritis. Eat papaya and you stay protected against inflammation.
Papaya benefits your bones
Calcium is important for bones. Vitamin K is even more important because lack of it makes your bones vulnerable to fracture. Make papaya a part of your diet and you get calcium as well as Vitamin K that promotes calcium absorption. Those above 50 years of age must eat papaya at least thrice a week. Menopausal women also benefit by papaya.
Diabetics may not consume grapes or fruits that are overly sweet. However, papaya is safe. It has minor amount of sugar and lots of pectin as well as insoluble fiber. Fiber helps regulate sugar levels in your blood. It is filling too. You can enjoy a large portion without any adverse effects.
If you have a family history of asthma then you must eat nutrient rich foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Papaya is ideal since it contains anti-inflammatory compounds, flavonoids and beta carotene.
Inflammation aggravates arthritis. Papaya helps to combat inflammation and that makes it ideal for people with arthritis. Your joints remain well lubricated. Your bones stay healthy. Reduced inflammation means better flexibility and less pain. Papaya contains choline in ample amount and it helps people with arthritis.
Better sleep, better memory and better muscles
Choline in papaya gives you a number of benefits. Consume papaya before you go to bed and you will enjoy better sleep. If your work requires mental concentration then enjoy a bowl of ripe papaya for lunch. Choline benefits the central nervous system and helps you in better absorption of fat.
Papaya for weight reduction
One problem you face when you wish to reduce weight is to find foods that are low in calories, give nutrients and keep you feeling full. Papaya matches these criteria. Begin your day with papaya and you will stay energized. Eat one whole papaya, about 500 grams to 1 Kg. Instead of a regular lunch you can enjoy papaya and you will not feel hunger pangs. Your digestion improves and your body metabolism improves.
Papaya as a beautifying agent
- This is for you ladies. You wish to give your skin a healthy glow and a soft tenderness. The natural way to achieve your goal is to use ripe papaya. Mash a piece of ripe papaya. Rub it into your skin and let it remain overnight. Wash it off in the morning. Do this for a month and you will be amazed at the result. Your skin becomes clear. Blemishes vanish. The papain in papaya peels off dead skin, lightens color and gives skin a nice soft texture.
- Enhance the effect. Add a bit of lemon juice, honey and aloe vera juice to mashed papaya.
- By the way, papaya is not just beautifying; it can also help heal skin and improve collagen texture.
If your skin becomes beautiful so can your hair when you use papaya. Eat plenty of papaya. It has Vitamin A, K and B that are vital for hair health. Plus, mash papaya and use it as hair mask. Your hair becomes soft and more manageable. Papain in papaya “tenderizes” the hair protein.
Healthy heart with papaya
Papaya means good cardiovascular health. Eat a papaya religiously and you take in fiber, vitamins and potassium. Potassium particularly helps your heart stay strong and healthy.
Better immunity with papaya
Eat papaya and you take in plenty of beta carotene and Vitamin C. These nutrients improve your immunity. You resist infections and flu much better when you are on a papaya diet.
Prostate cancer protection
Papaya is good news for men. Eat papaya regularly and drink green tea. You stay protected against chances of developing prostate cancer. Start your day with a generous helping of ripe papaya and finish it with a cup of unsweetened green tea.
These are but a few of the benefits of eating papaya. Enjoy papaya health advantages and a lovely treat at the same time.
The papaya you see being sold in the markets are either half ripe or too ripe. Avoid the over ripe ones. Select papaya that has very little of green and feels firm but springy to touch. If it is somewhat raw you can wrap it in newspapers and let it ripen for a day and then bite into it to get your dose of papaya benefits.