Papaya, also known as papaw or pawpaw, is one of the fruit that offers lot of documented health benefits, but it also has some counter indications. Please consult your diet specialist about you include papaya in your diet.
A produce of tropical and subtropical regions, papaya was introduce to India around the 16th century by the Portuguese and/or Spanish travellers. Circa 2000, India is the biggest producer of papaya plantation in the world and most of it is consumed locally.
Papaya is one of the most mass consumed fruit in India. Papaya, green and ripe, its stem and leaves are also cooked as a vegetable and as a traditional medicinal plant. The latex sap of the green papaya produces papain, an enzyme used to tender meat.
Papaya is a popular fruit because of its vibrant colour, sweet taste, and soft texture. The edible part of this fruit is the orange coloured flesh, which is present internally. This fruit is sweet but it accompanies a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Nutritional facts of Papaya
Papaya is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. It also contains alpha and beta carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin pigments, lycopene, tocoferols, and vitamin K. It is a high source of potassium and calcium.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, small papaya weighing approximately 157 gm contain 68 calories, 2.7 gm of fiber, 31 mg of calcium, 286 mg of potassium, 33 mg of magnesium, 0.13 mg of zinc, 58 mcg of folate, 95.6 mg of vitamin C, 0.47 mg of vitamin E, and 4.1 mcg of vitamin K.
Potential Health Benefits of Papaya…
1/5. Protect the eyes
1. The high amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin present in papaya protect the eyes and prevents eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration.
2. The antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect retinal cells from damage and filter out ultraviolet rays.
3. The vitamin A content of papaya benefits the eyesight.
2/5. Protects the heart
1. The potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidant content of papaya fights against the free radicals thus, promoting blood flow and protecting the heart. They decrease the risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
2. The antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C present in papaya prevent the cholesterol build up in the arteries thus, lowering cholesterol levels.
3. The antioxidants present in papaya enhance the effects of “good” HDL cholesterol.
4. The high potassium content and low sodium content of papaya lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3/5. Eases menstrual pain
The enzyme papain, present in papaya aids in easing and regulating smooth flow during menstrual cycles.
4/5. Prevents asthma
The abundant amount of beta-carotene in papaya helps in reducing the risk of asthma.
5/5. Other possible Benefits…
Papaya produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as maintains good bone health, heals skin wounds, promotes skin and hair health, eradicates ringworm lesions, lowers blood pressure,reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,protects against certain types of cancer, boosts immunity, lowersblood sugar, regulates inflammation, improves digestion, aids weight loss, protects against arthritis, helps ease digestion, prevents wrinkles and signs of ageing, reduces stress, and maintains kidney health.
Though one of the most nutrition filled fruits, papaya is one the few fruits that has a few do’s and dont’s. Papaya is not recommended to pregnant women, can hamper food pipe, trigger allergic response, lowers blood sugar, trigger toxicity, if consumed excessively.
How to incorporate Papaya in the Diet?
Papaya can be used in various dishes. They can be consumed either in the raw or cooked form. Some of the ways in which papaya can be incorporated in the diet are as follows…
- To prepare a dessert.
- Prepare a fresh salsa.
- Added in a fruit salad.
- Added to the smoothie.
- Use as a topping for fish tacos.
- Used to prepare juice or milkshake.
- Mix into a glass of lemonade or iced tea.
How to prepare Singzu (Manipuri raw papaya salad)?
Take 1 whole raw papaya and peel it. Wash it under running water.
Chop the papaya into small pieces and keep it aside.
Roast 2-3 green or red chilies and fermented dry fish. Mash them together to make a paste
Roast 2tbsp sesame seeds and make a paste.
Mix all the ingredients in a plate and garnish it with a handful of chopped coriander leaves and serve it.