Native to Central America and southern Mexico, papaya is among the world’s most popular fruits not just for its sweet taste but also for its wide variety of health benefits. In the 1500s and 1600s, Spanish and Portuguese invaders took the seeds to other tropical parts of the world, including the Philippines and India, hence making it a global fruit.
Papaya is known by several different names across the world. It is called “pawpaw” in Australia, “kepaya”, “lapaya”, or “tapaya” in Southern Asia. It’s known as ‘figueir des îles’, or ‘fig of the islands’ in France.
This vibrant color, pulpy tropical fruit contains high levels of antioxidants; vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as fiber and healthy plant compounds.
Nutritional Value of Papaya
Papayas have immense benefits as they are an excellent source of vitamin C, and one single medium fruit provides 224 percent of recommended daily intake.
This table represents several nutrients and their amounts present in 100gm of Papaya:
|Serving of 100 grams Papaya has Approximately|
|Nutrients (in 100 grams of Papaya)||Its amount|
|Total Carbohydrate||11 grams|
|Vitamin A||19 %of RDI|
|Iron 1%/td>||19 %of RDI|
Papayas are also a good source of folate, vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, copper, fiber, vitamin K, and lycopene.
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Glycemic Index of Papaya
Papaya has a medium glycemic index of 60, which means it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels too rapidly. Notably, the Glycemic index (GI) is a method to calculate the ability of a carbohydrate food to increase the level of glucose in the blood. The GI scale categorizes foods into three categories: low, medium, and high glycemic index, with low-GI meals scoring 20 to 49, moderate-GI foods scoring 50 to 69, and high-GI foods scoring 70 to 100.
In addition, the glycemic load (GL) is calculated by multiplying the carbohydrate content in grams by the GI of the food and dividing by 100. Less than 10 GL is considered low, while a GL of more than 20 is considered high. It is recommended that you keep your daily glycemic load under 100 for optimal health.
The glycemic load of papaya is equal to 5.5, making it a low glycemic load fruit.
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Health Benefits of Papaya
For centuries, papaya has been used in traditional medicine for its various medicinal properties. Papaya is high in essential nutrients and has various health benefits. They may help protect against a number of health conditions such as the reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, aiding in digestion, improving blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and improving wound healing.
Including this sweet-fleshy fruit in your daily diet can work wonders for your health.
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Digestion and Reduced Inflammation
Primarily found in papaya, Papain, and chymopapain- are two types of enzymes that are anti-inflammatory agents and help aid in digestion and reduce inflammation by digesting proteins. They may also assist with acute pain, such as that caused by burns or bruising, as well as chronic inflammatory disorders such as arthritis and asthma. Some over-the-counter digestive pills contain papain to aid with moderate stomach distress.
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Foods that are rich in Vitamin-C help to boost your immune system. As papaya has vitamin C in abundance, including it in your daily diet can allow the body to fight off bacterial and viral illnesses. Papaya is also a good source of antioxidants, and Vitamin A, which makes it part of an immune-healthy diet.
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Protects Against Cancer
Papaya gets its bright orange color from a natural pigment called Lycopene, which is linked to lowering the risk of prostate cancer.
Adopting a high-lycopene diet can considerably lower the incidence of prostate cancer.
Beta-carotene antioxidants in papayas lower the risk of cancer.
Papaya Helps in Asthma
People who consume a high amount of certain nutrients, such as beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which are found in fruits like papaya and help to prevent and reduce inflammation in the lungs, have a lower risk of developing asthma.
Consumption of Papaya benefits smokers since it helps to decrease lung inflammation.
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Good for Bone Strength
Papaya has Vitamin K which is important for bone health. The enzyme chymopapain present in papayas has a considerable impact on improving bone density and strength. An adequate amount of vitamin K is important for better bone structure, as it improves calcium absorption and reduces urinary excretion of calcium, hence retaining more calcium in the body to strengthen and rebuild bones.
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Papaya for Diabetics
Pre-Diabetics who eat a high-fiber diet have lower blood glucose levels, whereas people with type 2 diabetes may have better blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels. As papaya has a medium glycemic index and low glycemic load with small papaya consisting of 3 grams of fiber, and roughly 17 grams of carbs, it is safe to eat small portions of papaya for diabetics.
Papaya is used to cure a variety of gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers in traditional medicine.
High in dietary fiber, papaya is beneficial for our digestive system. This wonder fruit also includes papain, a protein-dissolving digestive enzyme that relieves stomach discomfort and facilitates digestion.
Papaya aids digestion by breaking down proteins, cleaning the digestive tract, and reducing protein conversion to body fat.
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Takes Care of your Heart
The high content of fiber, potassium, vitamin, and antioxidants such as lycopene in papaya benefits lowering the risk of heart disease. Diets high in fiber and antioxidants help to decrease cholesterol levels, as antioxidants prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. When cholesterol oxidizes, it increases the risk of forming blockages, hence, including papaya in your diet may help to lower your risk of heart diseases.
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Helps in Healing Wounds
When applied topically, mashed papaya helps wound healing and prevents infection in burnt areas. Papaya’s healing properties are due to the proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain. Ointments with the papain enzyme are also used to treat decubitus ulcers and bedsores.
Include Papaya in your Diet with these Recipes
There are several easy ways to incorporate this soft, versatile fruit into your diet. Raw papaya is delicious to eat but you can also explore more ways by giving it interesting twists and making this tropical fruit tastier. Consider the following simple methods to prepare tasty and healthy dishes from papaya:
Papaya Salad or Som Tum
Papaya salad or famously known as Som Tum in Thai, this raw papaya salad is the best appetizer when it comes to eating healthy.
Shredded green papaya: 3 cups
Green chili: 2
Fish sauce: 2 tablespoons
Lime juice: tbsp
Cherry tomatoes: 10
Shrimps: 1 cup washed & dried
Green beans: 10
Raw peanuts: 3 tbsp, roasted
Directions to Make Raw Papaya Salad
Step 1: Start the preparation by placing cherry tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Add dried shrimp/prawns and peanuts, as well as the fish sauce to it.
Step 2: Add the lime juice to the mixture, along with the sliced green beans.
Step 3: Mix all of the ingredients well. Now season it with a pinch of salt.
Step 4: Now comes the star ingredient, add the shredded papaya and green chilies. Gently mix the ingredients. Now you can serve the raw papaya salad.
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Papaya Punch Recipe
Papaya Punch is a mocktail prepared with orange juice, apricots, and cinnamon. This non-alcoholic recipe is perfect for hot summer days and easy to make.
Ingredients Required for Papaya Punch
Orange juice: 1/2 cup
Cinnamon: 1 piece
Papaya: 1/2 cup
Apricots: 1 handful
Ice cubes: As per requirement
Step 1: Bring the apricot pieces to a boil and drain them. Set the liquid aside to cool.
Step 2: In a shaker, add the papaya puree and the remaining ingredients.
Step 3: Fill the shaker with the strained apricot liquid. Serve this mocktail with ice cubes.
Papaya Halwa Recipe
This nutrition-dense, sweet-fleshy tropical fruit offers you a variety of health advantages. You can enjoy this pulpy fruit in many ways like Papaya halwa, a delicious dessert. You can cook it easily with basic kitchen ingredients such as milk powder, sugar, green cardamom, ghee, and, of course, papaya.
Papaya: 5 cups grated
Sugar: 6 tablespoon
Milk powder: 2 1/2 tbsp
Ghee: 4 tbsp
Green cardamom: 4 powdered
Cashews: 15 gm halved
Step-wise Recipe to Make Papaya Halwa
1. To make papaya halwa, melt ghee in a deep-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the grated papaya to the melted ghee and simmer for about 10 minutes. Continue to stir until the fruit has released all of its juices and has changed color.
2. Add the sugar and heat until the ghee separates in the cooked or roasted papaya.
3. Now add milk powder and green cardamom powder to the halwa and let it simmer for another 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
4. Garnish the halwa with halved cashews and serve immediately.
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Papaya Side Effects and Allergies
Although papaya is normally safe to eat, some people may have adverse responses to it. Pregnant women should avoid papaya (raw and semi-ripe papayas) as it contains latex in abundance which is responsible for inducing uterine contractions and can lead to abortions. Papaya contains natural sugars, so if you’re trying to avoid sugar for whatever reason, consume only as much as you need.
Here is some potential health issue a person can have if he/she eats papaya in excess or have any medical history:
Can Affect the Central Nervous System
Papaya and its black seeds contain amounts of a potentially poisonous enzyme carpine or carparine, which can numb nerve centers and may induce the constriction of blood arteries, resulting in paralysis or cardiac depression in some people.
Although papaya has many benefits, it may cause esophageal discomfort in people who are sensitive to papain, an enzyme found in unripe papaya fruit which is linked to triggering latex allergy. People with latex allergy should use caution with papaya as it can induce diarrhea.
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Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
People with diabetes should consume papaya in a moderate quantity as due to its high fiber content papaya is known to reduce blood sugar levels, which can be harmful. Papaya can also interfere with the medication for diabetes, and may further lower your blood glucose levels. It is always better to seek medical advice, especially if you’re a diabetic on medication.
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Can Trigger Other Allergies
Papain present in the fruit or pollen from the blossoms can trigger certain allergies. Swelling, disorientation, headaches, rashes, and itching are some of the possible side effects.
The papain enzyme in papaya is an allergen that can set off respiratory problems such as asthma, congestion, and wheezing.
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Papin can also be harmful to the skin & might trigger some allergies. This is the reason some people may develop discomfort & allergic reactions.
Papaya for Diabetics
Diabetes is a health condition in which the body does not produce enough (or any) insulin or does not utilize it properly. Notably, insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that aids in the absorption of glucose (sugar) into cells. Sugar cannot be used by your cells if there is insufficient insulin; instead, it accumulates in your blood and may be the cause of type 1 diabetes.
To treat diabetes, people usually take medicine and control their blood sugar levels with exercise and a good diet. Although fruits are a healthy element of a balanced diet, certain fruits have more natural sugars than others, thus consuming too much might spike blood sugar. Similarly, it is confusing for a diabetic person to decide whether or not to eat papaya.
Fruits are naturally sweet. Eating fruits packed with natural sugar may influence blood sugar levels, hence making people apprehensive of fruits. However, papaya is a good source of many micronutrients so consuming it in moderation is fine.
Also, with a glycemic index of 60, Papaya doesn’t spike blood sugar levels too rapidly.
One cup of fresh papaya contains roughly 11 grams of sugar, which means for most women it is not more than 100 calories per day or around 6 teaspoons of sugar. And for guys that work up to around 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons of sugar.
To assist manage blood sugar in the desired range, patients with diabetes should restrict their intake of added sugars and should avoid no more than half of their daily discretionary calories.
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Papaya has many benefits like it is high in nutrients and tasty to eat. Its potent antioxidants, such as lycopene, may lower your risk of a number of ailments, particularly those associated with heart disease and cancer.
Eating papaya in moderate quantities can not only complete your daily requirement of several micronutrients but will also aid your digestive system, soothe period cramps and boost immunity.
To get the most out of it, eat papaya in small quantities to avoid any negative side effects.
What is a good time to eat papaya?
Papaya is good to be consumed at night since it is a laxative and cleanses the colon and helps to relieve constipation.
Fruits, on the other hand, should be avoided for at least 4-5 hours after meals. So, if you want to eat papaya at night, make sure you eat it hours before hitting the bed.
Can diabetics eat papaya?
The nutritional value of papaya demonstrates that, despite its sweet flavor, it is high in fiber and very low in sugar, hence making it a good snacking alternative for diabetics. Also, it is believed that eating papaya on a regular basis slows down the progression of type-2 diabetes.
Can eating papaya give you diarrhea?
While papaya is high in fiber and beneficial to digestive health, consuming too much of it can have a laxative effect, resulting in abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.
Can eat papaya cause miscarriage in pregnant women?
Often pregnant women are advised not to eat papaya as it may induce miscarriage. However, doctors recommend eating fully ripe papaya as raw or slightly ripped ones contain papaya latex, which contains an enzyme called papain. Taking large amounts of papain is linked to inducing uterine contractions and can lead to abortions.
As papaya has so many health advantages, it’s a good choice to eat it while pregnant. Eating papaya during pregnancy is okay, but it should be ripe.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/7-incredibly-delicious-papaya-recipes-you-must-try/photostory/69726054.cms?picid=69726074Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.