The flesh of the papaya is packed with health benefits, including being able to fight inflammation, disease, and retain your youthful looks.
Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that can break down the protein chains in muscle meat.
These chains are fairly tough, and for thousands of years, this fruit has been used to tenderize meat.
This helps to improve digestion and makes it a smoother process.
Ripe papaya can be eaten raw but if it is unripe, it should be cooked before consuming.
This is especially important in pregnancy, as unripe papaya contains high amounts of latex, which has the ability to stimulate contractions.
Papayas contain essential nutrients such as vitamin C, A, B9, and potassium.
It also contains trace levels of magnesium, calcium, and vitamins K, E, B1, B3, AND B5.
Carotenoids which are healthy antioxidants can be found in abundance in this fruit.
The body is able to absorb these antioxidants from papaya compared to other fruits and vegetables, as it is much more bioavailable.
The antioxidants in papaya can help fight free radicals, these reduce oxidative stress which helps to prevent or reduce the risk of disease.
Papaya has a high vitamin C and lycopene content which has the ability to improve heart health and can even reduce the risk of heart disease.
Along with being able to keep the body healthy, this fruit can also keep the skin looking young and fresh.
The antioxidants help combat free radicals which often have the effect of causing wrinkling, and sagging skin.
Vitamin C and lycopene helps protect the skin, and can even reduce the signs of aging.
Do you take the seeds out of papaya?
It is easy enough to remove the seeds of the papaya, as they slip away quickly.
Many choose not to consume them as they leave rather a bitter taste that contradicts the sweet buttery flesh of the papaya.
The seeds are covered by a jelly-like covering, with the hard seed in the center of this.
The internal hard seed has a rough texture and does not have quite as strong a scent as the jelly covering.
The seeds taste fairly bitter, and as you keep chewing, they begin to develop a peppery taste.
The seeds can be saved to use raw, and fresh in recipes or they can be dried out.
When dried out, they can be used as a seasoning.
Dried seeds have a much weaker taste compared to fresh seeds, the dried seeds have a similar taste to a black peppercorn.
They are often used as a substitute for ground black pepper.
The seeds contain a lot of nutritious benefits, including essential micronutrients, antioxidants, and mono fatty acids.
Fatty acids help to regulate cholesterol levels, as it reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.
They are a great source of fiber, which is important for digestive health.
If your body is in need of more fiber, consuming papaya seeds will help to increase your dietary fiber intake.
The digestive enzyme, papain helps break down fiber and is beneficial for the digestive tract.
The high-fiber content helps regulate bowel movements, and maintain a healthy gut.
In some countries where dengue fever cases were high, papaya seeds have in fact been used to calm down the fever.
The papaya leaf juice has also been used successfully in treating dengue fever.
Just as the papaya flesh is rich in antioxidants, so are the seeds.
These antioxidants help to fight inflammation, maintain cardiovascular health, and maintain the health of the skin.
The vitamin C in the seeds also helps to fight inflammation.
Papaya seeds side effects
Papaya seeds have been shown to destroy some fungi and parasites.
They are often used to ‘de-worm’ as it is believed that they can kill off parasites in the body.
One study shows that a mix of dried papaya seeds and honey was much more effective at killing intestinal parasites than a placebo.
Whilst this is good, it can lead to various side effects.
Especially if you are unaware you have a parasite(s).
Parasite die-off can cause symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and vomiting.
Further studies are needed to fully understand how these seeds can affect fungal or parasitic infections.
Papaya seeds have a compound, known as benzyl isothiocyanate.
Research suggests that in large amounts, this compound can be harmful.
A test-tube study showed that administering this compound into individual cells caused damage to the DNA.
When administered to live rats however the same effect did not occur.
A study on rats found that this compound had a toxic effect on healthy cells.
These studies were focused on concentrated amounts of benzyl isothiocyanate, further research needs to be carried out to understand how one serving of papaya seeds can affect humans and indeed if this compound has any harmful effects for humans.
In animal studies, it has been found that papaya seeds can reduce fertility.
One study administered large doses to monkeys causing a condition known as azoospermia, identified as a lack of sperm in the semen.
A rat study found something similar, with papaya seed extract reducing sperm count.
However, after 45 days of stopping the consumption of the extract, this was reversed.
This is why some view the seeds as potential male contraception.
Further studies will need to be carried out in order to see if this has the same effect on humans.
It is also worth noting that the amount of papaya seeds consumed in these studies is much higher than is typically eaten.
Who should not eat papaya?
People with diabetes who take medication that lowers their blood sugar should not eat papaya that has been fermented.
This is because it can have the effect of lowering blood sugar, making it too low.
Blood sugar should be closely monitored, and medication doses potentially changed in order to ensure blood sugar levels do not go dangerously low.
Some also recommend avoiding consuming papaya around 2 weeks before surgery.
This is because fermented papaya can affect blood sugar during and after surgery.
Those who have a papain or latex allergy should avoid papaya.
Papaya contains similar compounds to those in latex, and people who have latex allergies are often also allergic to papaya.
It has been suggested that the seeds and roots of papaya can cause problems in pregnancy.
Although ripe papaya is deemed safe, it might be best to avoid the seeds whilst pregnant.
Eating papaya at night is good or bad?
Some people may benefit from eating papaya at night as it has laxative properties.
This may help those who suffer from constipation.
However, you should not eat fruit too close to meals as this can cause digestive distress.
Fruits digest fast, and if your last meal is still being digested this can cause some distress when the fast-digesting food meets your slow dinner.
If you do want to consume papaya at night, ensure you eat it well after your dinner has digested.
You might prefer to consume it in the morning as its laxative properties allow your body to carry out healthy bowel movements.
On an empty stomach, it cannot mix with other foods causing any issues.
If you find that your bowel movements are too loose, consuming papaya could make things a little worse.
If you notice this happening after eating papaya, avoid eating it until your digestive distress has improved.
Papaya is packed with a whole range of health benefits.
It contains high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin A, E, and C. A diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and is great for the skin.
It is also high in fiber, which is important for digestive health.
The enzymes in papaya, papain, and chymopapain help to digest protein which is important for aiding digestion, and reducing inflammation.
The vitamin C present helps boost the immune system.
Papaya seeds are edible and can be digested by the body.
They are sometimes avoided due to their bitter, peppery taste, and odd texture.
They do however contain essential micronutrients and fiber which is important for overall health.
Papaya seeds are often used as a home remedy to kill off parasites, further studies do need to be carried out to study the effects of parasite seeds on parasites in the body.
A compound in the seeds, benzyl isothiocyanate, is considered harmful in large doses.
Although more research does need to be carried out, generally such large doses won’t be consumed by one person in a single sitting.