Papaya; Types, Nutritional Value, Uses, Papaya Health Benefits

Papaya
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Papaya is a cerise-orange colored juicy fruit, which is not only fragrant and delicious but also very healthy. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body. It is famous for its luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics and can be eaten as a fruit in the raw form, a smoothie, a milkshake, or as a vegetable in various recipes.

The whole fruit, including other parts of the tree, are beneficial to health in several ways. Papaya in raw form contains enzymes, which are used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums. Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help improve cardiovascular health and protect against colon cancer.

Nutritional Value of Papaya

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 179 kJ (43 kcal)
Carbohydrates
10.82 g
Sugars 7.82 g
Dietary fiber 1.7 g
Fat
0.26 g
Protein
0.47 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.

beta-Carotene
lutein zeaxanthin
6%

47 μg

3%

274 μg

89 μg
Thiamine (B1)
2%

0.023 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
2%

0.027 mg

Niacin (B3)
2%

0.357 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)
4%

0.191 mg

Folate (B9)
10%

38 μg

Vitamin C
75%

62 mg

Vitamin E
2%

0.3 mg

Vitamin K
2%

2.6 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
2%

20 mg

Iron
2%

0.25 mg

Magnesium
6%

21 mg

Manganese
2%

0.04 mg

Phosphorus
1%

10 mg

Potassium
4%

182 mg

Sodium
1%

8 mg

Zinc
1%

0.08 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Water 88 g
Lycopene 1828 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Health Benefits of Papaya 

  • Treats Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye. In this condition, the ocular cells degenerate, which results in blurred vision and can cause blindness as well. This is an age-related illness and adding papayas to the diet is beneficial for reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration. An antioxidant named beta-carotene gives papaya its orange color. Just as carrots help improve the eyesight due to the presence of beta-carotene, papayas are also known to be effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, a consumption of 3 or more servings of this fruit on a daily basis day may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
  • Treats Constipation – The presence of folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E in papayas reduces motion sickness by producing a tonic effect in the stomach and in the intestines. Papaya juice and the ripened form of papaya also aid in digestion. The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements. Improved bowel movements help ease the passage of stool, thereby reducing the effects of constipation. In one study, participants with chronic indigestions and dysfunctions of the gastrointestinal tract were treated with papaya. It was found that papaya improved constipation and bloating symptoms and overall contributed to the maintenance of digestive tract (17).
  • Regulates Menstruation – Papaya juice can be of great help to women with irregular menses. Consumption of green, unripe papayas can normalize the irregularity in one’s periodic cycle. Papayas are considered as a ‘hot food’, meaning that they produce heat in the body. [4] This excessive production of heat in the body stimulates the estrogen hormone. This induces periods in the females. Hence, papayas can be beneficial in handling difficult menses.
  • Antioxidant Properties – Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, oils, and nuts contain antioxidants essential for health. Antioxidants reduce the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Bioactive ingredients or additional food ingredients also provide benefits to health (4). A test tube study found that a daily intake of papaya can strengthen the free radical scavenging potential and decrease oxidative stress (5). Another study found that when Papaya was used in a fermented preparation for 2 weeks, it had a significant improvement in the general health status of several organs targeted by oxidative stress in people with diabetes. This was revealed through C-reactive protein, LDL/HDL ratio and uric acid levels (6).
  • Wound Healing Properties – Wounds can get infected if not cared for properly. Papaya has traditionally been used to treat various skin disorders, including wounds. Papaya fruit was used in rats with diabetes and wounds. The study showed that wound healing increased when compared to the control group. Although promising, studies in humans are needed before papaya can be recommended to treat wounds (7,8,9).
  • Delaying the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease – Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative disease where brain matter is destroyed and causes memory and thinking issues. It is well-known that tissue is sensitive to oxidative stress. Increased production of reactive oxygen species, reduced antioxidant systems, and decreased efficiency in repairing mechanisms have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. A study found that papaya may be helpful at counteracting reactive oxygen species in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (10). This study shows promising signs in delaying the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Decreasing the Risk of Heart Disease – High levels of triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels are indicators of increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke (11,12). A study showed that papaya taken over 14 weeks improved inflammation and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (13). These results show that papaya can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Anti-cancer Properties – Cancer is the spread of abnormal cells throughout the body causing illness and death. Papaya extract has been seen to prevent or retard the spread of malignant cells in a test tube study (14). Red fruits and vegetables, such as papaya, contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Many studies confirm that dietary supplementation with lycopene reduce the risk of developing cancers in many organs, but also retard the growth of the tumors (15). Lycopene has also positive effects against other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, male infertility and inhibits the toxic action of other agents (16).
  • Promotes Cardiovascular Health – Papaya is one of the healthiest fruits available, and it can help keep your heart healthy. This exotic fruit is rich in vitamins A and C. They help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which stops it from clogging the blood vessels (13). This helps reduce the risk of heart attacks.
  • Prevents Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration is the gradual loss of vision that usually affects the elderly. Papaya can help stop this loss in vision. Papaya has an antioxidant called zeaxanthin that filters out rays that harm the retinas (14). This reduces the risk of macular degeneration. Additionally, papayas contain vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and lutein. These keep the mucous membranes in the eyes healthy and protect them from damage (23). So, it is a good idea to have a papaya daily to improve your vision.
  • Boosts Immunity – Papaya is rich in antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals that have a negative impact on your immune system (15). This boosts your immunity.
  • Heals Wounds – Applying crushed papaya seeds to wounds can help in their faster healing. Papaya seeds show significant antimicrobial activity that helps kill the bacteria in the wound and promotes faster healing (16). The juice you get from green papayas is a wonderful natural remedy to prevent swelling and pus formation when applied to wounds.
  • Aids Digestion – Papaya can help keep your digestive system healthy. In folk medicine, it was used to treat all kinds of stomach ailments, including indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers. Papaya is a rich source of dietary fiber, which is very good for your digestive system (17). Also, as explained earlier, papaya contains a protein-dissolving enzyme called papain that eases many stomach ailments and aids digestion.
  • Has Anticancer Effects – Studies show that papaya seed extracts can have chemotherapeutic effects. Papaya seeds are rich in flavonoids that can reduce the risk of cancer by arresting the development of cancerous cells (18).
  • Prevents Arthritis – Arthritis is a painful disorder that causes inflammation in the joints. Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the pain that results from arthritis (19).
  • Reduce Inflammation In The Lungs – Smokers, both active and passive, can develop lung inflammation. Papayas have vitamin A that can help prevent and reduce this inflammation. Drink a glass of papaya juice if you experience bouts of coughing.
  • Treats Throat Disorders – When green papaya juice is mixed with honey, it can help reduce the inflammation of tonsils – a symptom of diphtheria and other problems related to the throat. It helps to dissolve the membrane and prevents the spread of infection.
  • Treatment For Ringworm – Papaya milk contains carotene, and this compound, if consumed daily, can treat ringworm infection (21). Thanks to papaya milk’s anti-inflammatory properties, it eases inflammation and redness caused by the infection.
  • Helps In Muscle Tissue Renewal – Papaya milk not only revitalizes your body but also helps in the renewal of muscle tissues. This is because it is a rich source of protein, which is required for optimal muscle health and repair.
  • Activates Human Growth Hormones – Dried papaya nourishes the endocrine system and promotes the production of arginine in the body. Arginine is a type of essential amino acid that is known to activate the human growth hormones (HGH) (22). These hormones play a key role in rebuilding bones, muscles, skin, and liver cells, and promote overall cell rejuvenation.
  • Helps Ease Menstrual Pain – While menstruation is a natural process and a part of every woman’s life, the painful cramps Aunt Flo brings along every month can leave you tossing and turning in bed until the pain goes away. Over the counter, drugs can help to a certain extent, but they can mess with your menstrual cycle when taken on a regular basis. Hence, I suggest you opt for a natural solution like papayas. Papayas are often recommended to those who have painful and irregular periods. The papain enzyme helps regulate and ease the flow of blood during menstruation. Papaya also stimulates the production of estrogen, thereby normalizing the period cycle (24).
  • Helps Reduce Stress – We all face stress on a daily basis in different areas of our life – relationships, work, kids, etc. Having a plateful of papayas can help reduce stress. This sweet fruit contains active enzymes as well as vitamin C that help restore your energy levels. Several studies have shown that our body needs about 200 mg of vitamin C to regulate the flow of stress hormones, and one large papaya contains a whopping 476 mg of vitamin C!
  • Aids Weight Loss – Looking for a natural and effective way to lose weight? Snack on a bowl of papayas.How many calories in papaya? Well, 100 grams of papaya contains only 43 calories – making it an ideal weight loss food. The fiber content in papaya will make you feel full and clear your bowel movement. This makes it easy for you to lose those pounds. The presence of powerful antioxidants burns the extra flab, leaving you fit and fine (25).
  • Good For Diabetics – Papaya can be an amazing option for those who have diabetes since it is low in sugar (only 8.3 grams in a cup of diced papaya) (26). Many studies have concluded that papaya extract can actually slow down the development of type-II diabetes, where the pancreas completely loses its ability to make and secrete insulin.
  • Treats Piles – Hemorrhoids (also called piles) are swollen and inflamed veins that are found in and around the rectum or anus. Having papayas on a regular basis will soothe the swollen blood vessels in that area, offering relief from those painful hemorrhoids.
  • Cures Vitiligo – Approximately 1.5% of the world’s population is suffering from vitiligo – a condition where white patches appear on the skin. Papayas are one of the most effective home remedies to cure vitiligo. Applying a paste of ripe papaya on the affected area will boost the melanin production, restoring skin to its normal color. You can also consume papaya juice to aid the internal healing of vitiligo.
  • Prevents Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Papayas contain 12% fiber, with 60% of it being soluble fiber. This soluble fiber helps prevent the symptoms of IBS. Papayas are also rich in a number of proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes that aid proper bowel movement (27).
  • Treats Nausea And Motion Sickness – Papaya is beneficial for pregnant ladies when it is consumed in small quantities. It helps ease morning sickness, nausea, and motion sickness due to the presence of vitamins C and E and folate (28). For instant relief, consume a blend of papaya and pineapple juice.
  • Helps Increase Platelet Count – Consuming papaya and papaya leaf juice can help increase the platelet count of those suffering from dengue fever.
  • Keeps Blood Pressure Under Control – Touted to be one of the ‘silent killers’, high blood pressure can be caused due to lifestyle and dietary factors like high sodium intake and less or no physical activity. Low levels of potassium in the body also lead to high blood pressure. 100 grams of papaya contains 182 mg of potassium, which is an essential mineral to keep your blood pressure under control (29). Potassium counteracts the effects of sodium, thus ruling out the chances of a sudden hike in the blood pressure.
  • Used For Birth Control – Papaya fruit and seeds have been used as a form of birth control since ages, especially in the Indian subcontinent and some parts of Southeast Asia. Women consume a large quantity of unripe green papaya to avoid pregnancy. It is also known to cause abortion when directly applied to the uterus.
  • Good For Babies – This easily digestible fruit is also considered to be good for babies, which is why it is one of the first foods introduced to them (30). It is usually introduced to infants when they are 7 to 8 months old. Papaya assists in proper bowel movement and keeps babies healthy and happy.
  • Good For Pregnant Women – As explained earlier, papaya is considered to be good for pregnant ladies due to its high vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate content, but only when taken in moderate quantities (31). It helps to relieve acidity, heartburn, constipation, and several other stomach disorders and promotes the growth of the fetus (32). Many women consume a tonic made of ripe papaya, milk, and honey. This mixture is a rich source of nutrients for pregnant ladies and lactating mothers.
  • Treats Gout – Gout is caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the blood. This excess acid forms crystals, inducing swelling, redness, and pain in the joints. Papaya is a tried and trusted remedy to treat gout. Papain is an enzyme found in papaya that is a natural anti-inflammatory agent (33).
  • Aids Breast Enlargement – Sounds impossible, but papaya is one of the trusted natural methods for breast enlargement. For rapid breast growth, drink a blend of papaya juice and papaya every morning. The proteolytic enzymes present in papaya help in the quick digestion of proteins, supporting breast growth.
  • Helps Increase Lactation – Lactating mothers should include raw papaya a galactagogue in their diets to improve breast milk production (34).

Skin Related Benefit of Papaya

Papaya can make your skin flawless, courtesy the active enzymes present in it. It helps reduce pigmentation and controls acne breakouts and wrinkle formation. Read on to know the best papaya benefits for skin

1. Moisturizes Skin

Papaya can be a boon for those with dry skin. Using a papaya face pack can make your skin soft and supple. The enzymes present in papaya remove all traces of dry and flaky skin and hydrate it (3).

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon mashed papaya
  • 1 teaspoon honey
What You Have To Do

1. Mix the papaya and the honey.
2. Apply the mask to your face. Keep it on for 30 minutes.
3. Rinse with cold water.

2. Clears Pigmentation

If about of acne has left you with scars, or if you are suffering from uneven pigmentation, papaya can come to your rescue. Papaya has skin lightening properties that help clear blemishes and pigmentation (4). Also, the beta-carotene, enzymes, and phytochemicals present in papaya help promote fairness. The enzyme papain, along with the alpha-hydroxy acids, acts as a powerful exfoliator and dissolves inactive proteins and dead skin cells (6). This, in turn, will make your skin lighter and softer.

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon papaya juice
  • Cotton balls
What You Have To Do

1. Soak the cotton balls in the papaya juice.
2. Apply this to the affected areas.
3. Keep it on for 15 minutes and rinse with cold water.

You can also make your skin tone lighter by using the method below:

What You Need
  • 1/4 cup papaya pulp
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
What You Have To Do

1. Mash the papaya pulp to make a lump-free puree.
2. Add lemon juice and honey to the mix and blend well.
3. Wash your face and pat it dry.
4. Apply this paste as a face mask and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Use lukewarm water to gently wipe off the mask.
6. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
7. Follow this process once a week for fair skin.

3. Reduces Wrinkles

Papaya peel can help reduce the signs of aging. Some claim it to be as effective as Retin-A. The peel contains enzymes that remove dead cells from the surface of the skin (5). This helps remove wrinkles and age spots.

What You Need

Papaya peel

What You Have To Do

1. Rub the papaya peel all over your face and neck.
2. After 20 minutes, rinse with cold water.

4. Reduces Under-Eye Dark Circles

Using green papaya pulp on dark circles is a good way to get rid of them. Since it is a natural bleaching agent, green papaya helps erase skin discoloration.

What You Need

1/4 cup mashed green papaya

What You Have To Do

1. Apply the mashed paste on your dark circles and leave it on for at least 10 minutes.
2. Rub your skin gently with your fingertips and then wipe the paste off with a clean cloth.
3. Wash with lukewarm water.
4. Do this daily to banish those dark circles.

5. Cures Eczema And Psoriasis

Our ancestors used papaya to heal scars, burns, and skin diseases.

As discussed earlier, the enzyme papain in papaya exfoliates dead skin cells to cure skin impurities (7). When mashed and applied directly to the affected area, raw papaya can help prevent itching and redness. You can also have a glassful of papaya milk daily to prevent skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.

6. Treats Melasma

Papaya can help treat melasma due to its exfoliating properties. Apply ripe or unripe papaya on the pigmented skin to make it smooth and supple and impart an even skin tone.

7. Removes Tan

This exotic fruit contains vitamins A and C in abundance. In combination with papain, they help lighten your skin (8). Use the below method to get rid of that annoying tan within a few uses:

What You Need
  • 4 cubes ripe papaya
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
What You Have To Do

1. Mash the raw papaya cubes.
2. Add turmeric powder and honey.
3. Mix well to form a thick paste.
4. Apply it on your clean face evenly and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
6. Use this paste once a week for the healthy and glowing skin.

8. Controls Acne Breakout

Papaya treats acne and prevents future breakouts as well.

Again, the proteolytic enzyme papain makes papaya an effective treatment for acne (9). Apart from the fruit itself, the leaves, skin, and seeds also contain certain enzymes that can diminish scars and blemishes. Use the thick and even pulp of a ripe papaya as a face mask and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Wash this paste with cold water. With regular application, you will notice a marked difference.

Papaya Benefits For Hair

Use papaya to get long and healthy hair. Keep reading to know the amazing papaya fruit benefits for hair:

1. Stimulates Hair Growth

One of the little-known benefits of papaya.

Papaya has folic acid that helps improves circulation to the hair follicles and promotes hair growth (10).

Include papaya in your meals and get ready to flaunt long and healthy hair.

2. Controls Dandruff

One of the best papaya seeds benefits is that it can help reduce dandruff when used in a hair pack.

One of the main causes of dandruff is a fungal infection. The antifungal properties of papaya seeds help in controlling and preventing dandruff (11).

What You Need

½ papaya with the seeds intact

What You Have To Do

1. Peel the papaya and blend the pulp and the seeds to make a smooth paste.
2. Massage the paste into your scalp and apply it to the rest of your hair as well.
3. Leave it on for one hour and then shampoo as usual.

3. Conditions Hair

Papaya can restore the life of your hair and make it soft and hydrated.

Due to its high vitamin A content, papaya promotes the production of sebum (12). Sebum is your body’s natural oil, and its production keeps your hair conditioned.

What You Need
  • ½ ripe papaya
  • ½ cup yogurt
What You Have To Do

1. Remove the skin and the seeds of the papaya and blend until a smooth paste is formed.
2. Add yogurt to the papaya paste and mix well.
3. Apply this mixture to your hair, starting from the roots to the very ends.
4. Keep it on for an hour and rinse using a mild shampoo.

References

  1.  https://books.google.co.in/books?
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374564/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24820939
  4. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1985/2
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaya
  6. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/8-benefits-papaya/
  7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-papaya.html
  8. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2305?
  9. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-papaya-for-skin-and-hair

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