Do you know what are the main benefits of papaya? The fruit that originates from Central America is widely consumed in Brazil and is considered one of the five most nutritious fruits to eat daily, as it can supply all caloric and nutritional needs. ( 1 )
Cultivated in parts of Asia, Africa and the American continent, the papaya or Carica papaya is a perennial plant that is part of the Caricaceae family and can reach more than ten meters in height. The fruits of the tree have a wide range of sizes and are sweet, juicy and bright orange when ripe.
In addition, the papaya fruit is rich in several vitamins, minerals and other types of nutrients considered essential for the maintenance of good health. Along with its versatility in consumption, it has become a popular fruit in many parts of the world.
Because of the importance of fruit, Homemade Remedy prepared this article showing the 10 main benefits of consuming papaya according to science and also how to choose and incorporate fruit in meals.
Benefits of consuming papaya
Papaya is a very popular fruit in Brazil. Mainly because the fruit can be grown in all regions and does not require great care. Furthermore, the fruit is tasty and full of health benefits. Check out which are each of them below.
1. Fight bacteria
Both the pulp and the papaya seeds have bactericidal properties . That is, the consumption of these parts are able to inhibit the proliferation and exterminate some types of bacterial colonies that can be harmful to health.
This was first mentioned in a study published in 1982 by the University of Nigeria, when papaya’s properties were discovered in preventing harmful microorganisms from proliferating in the body, helping to prevent various types of diseases. ( 2 )
Another study, published in 2003, found that these effects are also visible in the seeds of the fruit. Her extract was very effective against different types of bacteria. ( 3 )
2. Helps control blood pressure
Another study, published in the 2000s in Phytotherapy Research by Nigerian researchers, revealed that papaya fruit pulp also has hypotensive properties.
In other words, when consumed in moderate amounts, the fruit helped to lower not only blood pressure, but also kidney pressure in hypertensive rats. In addition, the extract made with papaya pulp has also been shown to be a natural relaxant for the arteries. Thus, improving cardiac functioning and preventing various diseases related to organ malfunction.( 4 )
3. Facilitates the treatment of diabetes
In addition to having the ability to help regulate blood pressure, papaya is also hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic. That is, the fruit can act directly in reducing glucose and cholesterol in the blood of people living with diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is divided into two types and is characterized by chronic excess blood sugar, which can lead to several problems. In addition, people who suffer from the disease are also likely to have higher-than-recommended bad cholesterol levels.
Therefore, consuming papaya regularly can help control these two problems and act in conjunction with normal medication. ( 5 )
4. Protect the cells
Another benefit found by science in papaya is that it is rich in antioxidant substances . The main ones are called phenolic compounds, polyphenol compounds such as tannins and flavonoids. The latter are considered the most powerful antioxidants found in plants. ( 6 )
In addition, the fruit is also rich in carotenoids, which are composed of lipids that dissolve in water and are responsible for the colors yellow, orange and red in nature.
In the body, these compounds are responsible for protecting the body against different types of diseases and muscle and heart degeneration. Also acting as a powerful antioxidant. ( 7 )
5. Improves bowel function
Papaya contains large amounts of an enzyme called papain. In the body it acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and healing agent. But in addition, this enzyme improves the digestion process and the functioning of the intestine.
For example, a study published in 2017 in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences showed that people who have a gluten allergy did not experience any symptoms when eating processed products with papaya.
In addition, fruits are also rich in fiber, which helps to improve the functioning of the intestinal tract. So helping to prevent problems with constipation. ( 8 )
6. Protects the liver
The consumption of ripe papaya fruits also helps to protect the liver from damage caused by external toxic agents. Such as the accumulation of fat in the region, alcohol abuse and some medications that are also metabolized by the organ. Since this is one of the main uses of the fruit in some regions of Brazil and Asia. ( 9 )
7. Helps prevent cancer
Papaya also has phytochemicals that help prevent many types of cancer and even inhibit the growth of malignant tumors. Especially when it comes to breast, cervical and pancreatic cancer. ( 10 )
In addition, the fruit also has anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce cases of necrosis, which is when the death and decay of cell tissue occurs. Thus, this fruit improves the quality of life of patients with the disease. ( 11 )
This benefit is derived from the large amount of antioxidants that are present in the pulp of the fruit and also from papain, which is a heat resistant enzyme and helps to dissolve muscle fibers, which involves several types of cancers and makes treatment difficult. ( 8 )
8. It can prevent the appearance of ulcers
Consuming papaya regularly can also help prevent and treat stomach ulcers. This is because the phytochemicals present in the fruit help prevent the breakdown of blood cells and also protect the stomach from possible damage. ( 10 )
Furthermore, as already mentioned the fruit has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects . Thus, its consumption prevents the proliferation of ulcer-causing bacteria and helps to reduce the inflammation of lesions.( 2 )
9. Boosts the immune system
Papaya is also responsible for helping to strengthen the immune system, which is the body’s defense against various beneficial diseases, ie, which appear when the body’s defenses are not working properly.
Part of this is due to the fruit’s antioxidant action, which prevents cell degeneration and also the large amount of vitamin C present in the pulp. This vitamin is known to help improve the body’s defenses. ( 10 )
10. Treat skin problems
Finally, ripe papaya pulp can also be applied directly to the skin. It is widely used in the treatment of injuries, inflammation and even dryness in the region.
This fruit is considered many times more effective than conventional treatments, mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and bactericidal action of the fruit. ( 9 ) Because of this, ripe papaya pulp is also used as a natural acne mask and sunscreen.
In addition, it also has lightening properties, reduces oiliness and removes excess dead skin. It can be applied directly to the skin, as a face mask. ( 10 )
Nutritional table and properties of papaya
As previously mentioned, papaya is a fruit rich in several nutrients and other phytochemical substances essential to keep the body healthy.
Ripe fruits contain good amounts of protein, good fat and fiber that help the gastrointestinal tract function. In addition, papaya is also rich in carbohydrates, antioxidants and health-beneficial amino acids. ( 9 )
A 100 gram serving of papaya contains on average just 43 calories. With high amounts of vitamin C, A, E, K and some that belong to the B complex.
The same serving delivers nearly 10% of the daily dietary fiber intake and contains about 90 grams of water. Finally, ripe fruit is also rich in several minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper. ( 11 )
Papaya is a fruit appreciated in all Brazilian states. It is most often consumed in its natural state or in the form of sweets or jellies. However, it is possible to use the fruit in different ways and vary the menu a little. While enjoying all the benefits of papaya.
With that in mind, the Homemade Remedy has separated some simple and practical recipes with papaya, which you can make at home and spend little money. Check it out and enjoy.
One of the most traditional ways to consume ripe papaya is making the famous vitamins. This one takes fruit as its main ingredient and is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Furthermore, there is no need to add sugar, as papaya already fills the need for sweets.
- Half ripe papaya
- 200 ml of milk of your choice. It can be whole, skimmed or vegetable
- One tablespoon of rolled oats
The way of preparation is very simple, just put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until everything is smooth. Ideally, it should be consumed right after preparation, as papaya spoils easily.
green papaya salad
It’s not just the ripe fruit that can be eaten, as the unripe fruit also contains nutrients and can be used in tasty recipes. Most commonly they are the main ingredients of jellies, but it is possible to prepare a refreshing and healthy salad using the ingredient, check it out.
- Four cups of peeled and grated green papaya
- Two cups of diced chopped tomatoes
- A cup of diced chopped onion
- Two tablespoons of fresh mint leaves
- A cup of finely flaked oatmeal
- juice of a lemon
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt to taste for seasoning
First, let the grated papaya drain for a few minutes. After all the water in the fruit is removed, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Finally, season with oil, lemon and salt and serve immediately afterwards.
cold papaya soup
In addition to salads, papaya also goes well with other savory dishes. This recipe here is for a cold soup, also called gazpacho, which is very refreshing and can be consumed during the summer.
- 400 grams of ripe papaya
- two medium tomatoes
- a small cucumber
- Coriander or parsley to taste
- a quarter of a lemon juice
Coarsely chop the papaya, tomatoes and cilantro and blend them in a blender. When everything is a homogeneous mixture, place on a plate to serve and finish with small cubes of cucumber, which adds an extra crunch to the recipe.
Finally, a recipe for those who can’t do without something sweet like dessert, which in addition to being delicious is quite simple and will please everyone. Check out how to prepare a baked papaya candy.
- A medium ripe but firm papaya
- one third cup of sugar
- a cup and a half of water
- two stick shanks
- Lemon peel and juice
First, take the peel off the papaya and cut the fruit into medium pieces. Then place it in a pan with water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice.
Cook everything over medium heat until it comes to a boil, but don’t oversimmer. Once that’s done, remove from heat, add the lemon peel and it’s ready to serve hot or cold. In addition, it can be kept in the refrigerator with the syrup.
What are the main types of papaya?
According to the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), all the trees known as papaya belong to a single species that would have originated between Central and South America, the Carica papaya .
However, within this group, there are several varieties of the fruit that have their own characteristics. In Brazil, which is one of the largest producers in the world, nine papaya varieties are grown, which are divided into two groups: the soil group and the formosa group.
In the solo group are the Sunrise solo varieties, popularly known as Hawaii papaya or papaya. It has a darker pulp and the part where the seeds are has a star shape.
Another variety is the golden, which has a salmon tone, the improved sunrise solo line, which has the same characteristics as the Hawaiian papaya, but is more resistant and the short one from Santa Amelia. The latter usually has smaller, softer fruit and a reddish-orange tone.
Other very common varieties are Taiwan, Kapoho Solo, Waimanalo and Higgins. They all tend to bear medium weight fruits and are the most common in the world.
In the formosa group, the hybrid species Tainung nº 1 is included, which is popularly known as papaya formosa. This variety is usually larger, tasty and more resistant to transport than the others already mentioned. ( 12 )
How to choose the best fruit?
As with any fruit or vegetable, you need to be careful when choosing the papaya. Since through a good superficial evaluation it is possible to verify the quality of the fruit.
For example, according to Embrapa, the fruit must be firm, with a yellowish-green skin and no harm caused by transport or poor storage. This is because the papaya finishes ripening after harvesting. If it is bought when it is very mature, it can spoil quickly if it is not consumed on the day of purchase.
Fruits with many bruises on the skin may be too soft or already spoiled. Therefore, they must be avoided at all costs.
Furthermore, even when stored in the refrigerator, papaya has a short shelf life, as it is delicate and spoils very quickly. Therefore, it should be consumed shortly after purchase. ( 12 )
Uses for papaya seeds
As already mentioned, it is not only the papaya pulp that is edible and has health benefits, the fruit seeds are also widely used in some regions. Mainly because they are rich in protein, fiber, papaya oil and some enzymes that are good for the body.
Also, when toasted and ground, they can be used as a seasoning, as they have a spicy taste, and are often used as a substitute for black pepper. ( 8 )
The seeds are also used in folk medicine in some countries as a home treatment for lesions on the skin or internal organs and as a natural male contraceptive.
A study published in 2014 in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences indicated that consumption of fruit seed extract decreases sperm count in adult rats. ( 11 )
Finally, the seeds also contain large amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects, being used as a tonic to give energy and boost the body’s immunity. ( 9 )
Care and contraindications
The consumption of ripe papaya pulp is safe. Thus, it can be introduced in the diet of children, pregnant women and the elderly without any harmful effect on the body. Except in cases where there is any allergy to fruit. ( 13 )
However, consumption of unripe fruit and seeds should be avoided by pregnant women. This is because in this state the papaya is abortive, as it stimulates uterine contraction, due to the action of papain, which acts by inducing the production of hormones that are released only during childbirth. ( 10 )