Papayas are popular all over the world and for good reason. The tropical fruit is loaded with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, as well as niacin, magnesium, potassium, protein, carotene, and natural fiber. Every part of a papaya tree, from the fruit to the leaves, contains some medicinal properties.
In addition to the fruit pulp, the seeds of this fruit are also edible but they have a pungent, peppery taste. They are rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds, protein, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Papaya seeds are also high in fat and should be consumed in moderation.
Precaution: Pregnant women and people with latex allergy or papain allergy should also avoid eating papaya or its seeds.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of papaya and papaya seeds.
1. Protects Against Heart Disease
Regular consumption of papayas can prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E, all very powerful antioxidants.
2. Improves Digestion
The high amount of the digestive enzyme called papain present in papayas helps break down tough protein fibers and aids the natural digestion process.
3. Protects Eye Sight
According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three or more servings of papaya per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, as compared to those who ate less than 1.5 servings daily.
4. Helps Treat Arthritis
Papaya contains several anti-inflammatory enzymes that help relieve pain caused by arthritis. The two most unique protein-digesting enzymes present in papaya are papain and chymopapain, which can greatly lower inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Improves Complexion
Papaya has several healthy components that are great for your skin. Papaya can be used as a face pack to enjoy maximum skin benefits.
6. Nourishes Hair
Papaya is also very beneficial for your hair. Rich in several minerals, vitamins and enzymes, papaya can boost hair growth and strength. It can also help increase your hair volume by nourishing the hair shaft. Papaya is also used for controlling dandruff.
7. Prevents Cancer
There are several important compounds in papaya that can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers. The rich antioxidant content, especially lycopene, beta-carotene and carotenoid known as beta-cryptoxanthin, is particularly beneficial in reducing cancer risk.
8. Helps Maintain Healthy Weight
Papayas are high in vitamin A and C, folate, fiber and potassium. These nutrients are good for your health. Moreover, the fruit is rich in fiber that makes you feel fuller for longer and also prevents constipation. A small papaya provides almost 11% of the recommended daily value of fiber required in the diet.
9. Helps Treat Hypertension
Papaya is a good source of potassium, a kind of mineral that counteracts the effects of sodium and helps keep blood pressure levels within a normal range.
10. Boosts Immune System
Papaya contains a high amount of vitamin C that helps increase white blood cells and protects cells from free radical damage.