Papaya’s bright flesh inside seems like signals of the loaded nutrition it can bring to our body. With the host of nutrients, one can get from it, and maybe it’s good to start first with its antioxidant capabilities.
This capability is one of the best health benefits of papaya. It is so good at neutralizing the free radicals wreaking havoc inside our bodies. That’s good news because free radicals can aggravate oxidative stress in our body, leading to various diseases. This also improves digestion and promotes bone health. Besides that, papayas are also good for the heart because it lowers the risk of heart diseases and will surely make you healthy!
In general, papaya trees are produced from seeds that are harvested from ripe fruit. If you use fruit from a grocery store, it will most probably be a bisexual plant. To ensure germination, you should plant several seeds per pot. Seedlings can emerge in about two weeks under full sunlight. Plants can be set out after they are a foot high and spaced 8 to 10 feet apart.
Typically, you would not put papaya in your grocery cart. But when you want to venture beyond your comfort zone and look beyond your everyday purchases, this fruit is a top pick. For the taste buds, this is not just a flavorful treat. It’s also made of minerals and has many health advantages. Here’s what you need to know about papayas, including their nutritional information and tips for selecting papayas.
Can You Eat its Seeds?
Papaya seeds are commonly discarded because many people are unaware of the BIG nutrients packed inside these tiny seeds.
My young, curious brother once asked me: “Can you eat papaya seeds?”, close to saying no, I googled it and found out that yes, I can! We can eat it! There are various ways to eat it, like putting it in a soup, blending it, using it as a dressing, and many more.
Here’s a list of the different ways on how to eat it:
- Scatter raw seeds on a soup
- Blend papaya seeds to use as a dressing
- Slice papaya in half and scoop out the seeds
- Mix papaya seeds with vinegar and spices to make a hot sauce
- Mix it in the marinade of your chicken, steak, or pork
- Seeds can be dried-out to use as a seasoning.
- A dried Papaya seed can be a substitute for black pepper roots.
Amazing Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds
After cutting the fruit, some people throw papaya seeds away. Bear in mind that the seeds are edible, too, so eating them is perfectly okay. The seeds have a crunchy texture and a slightly peppery taste for several dishes, making them the ideal seasoning. Only scoop the seeds out and save them for later on. You may use a strainer and rinse them in water after extracting the seeds. Rub the roots with your hands to remove any residue, and then put them on your kitchen counter to air-dry on a towel or baking sheet. Before you add them to the meal, you can crush or grind the seeds.
One of the most notable benefits of papaya seeds comes from their anti-inflammatory properties. It helps the body ease the swelling and joint pain from inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Papaya also helps strengthen the immune system as a rich source of vitamin A and C by eliminating toxins from the body. It helps to prevent diseases and infections. Have a cup of papaya in your daily routine to assist you with your weight loss strategy. Holding unwanted hunger pangs away, the low-calorie content coupled with fiber helps keep us fuller for longer.
The presence of vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and papaya fiber keeps the arteries safe, promoting blood flow. It is understood that this increased circulation decreases the levels of cholesterol in the body, which helps minimize the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is said that the presence of the papain enzyme serves as a natural painkiller that helps to reduce the body’s inflammation. How is it happening? Papain, a group of proteins, is said to increase the body’s development of cytokines that help control inflammation. Hence, it is considered one of the healthiest fruits around the world.
Quick Facts About its Tree
- The Papaya tree has three types: the female plant, the male plant, and the bisexual plant. The female and bisexual plants are the ones who only produce fruit.
- A Papaya tree can reach up to 30 feet into maturity.
- Papaya is native to Central America and exists in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world.
- Botanically, papaya is a berry. It may look like it comes from a tree, but in fact, papaya is the fruit of a herb. The papaya tree will grow over 10 feet high and a tall one at that.
- Usually, papayas are grown from seed. Their growth is fast, with fruit being produced before the first year’s end. A plant can live five years or more under favorable conditions.
- There was a period when papaya, since it was found in Mexico and Central America, was considered to be an exotic fruit. But today, it is one of the most commonly grown fruits in the world.
- It is a rapidly growing tree that can bear fruit within six months to 12 months of the tree’s planting date.
- The papaya is a tree that is sparsely branched. It has a single stem, and typically the spirally arranged leaves are located on the top of the trunk.
- The lower trunk is fraught with scars. These scars are left behind in areas where the tree bears leaves and fruits.
- The papaya tree’s leaves are broad and lush. There are seven lobes on each plate. The leaves create an umbrella-like structure because of their position on the tree.
How useful are its Leaves?
Like Papaya seeds, papaya tree leaves should not be taken for granted because it is also oozing with so many health benefits that can even help combat a life-threatening disease. One of the best services of papaya leaves is that they can be a weapon to combat Dengue. It has antimalarial properties that fight off the malaria virus inside a person’s body. It also increases one’s platelets to undo the damages done by the virus.
To think that Papaya can fight off a severe and deadly disease shows that we should take this fruit more seriously. But aside from that, Papaya leaves also make it healthier to digest. This involves making hair healthier, growing the development of blood platelets, and potentially battling cancer.
Besides, there are several enzymes found in excellent papaya leaves. The leaves contain proteases and amylase alongside papain and chymopapain. They encourage the proper breakdown, which helps the digestion of carbohydrates and proteins. Consequently, papaya leaves extract is also positively related to remedies to digestive or gastric issues, including stomach ulcers.
Also, the papain and other proteolytic enzymes present in papaya leaves break down fibrin protein. In the process of creating a protective layer for cancer cells, this protein is involved. Researchers have been interested in their ability to kill the protective layer of cancer cells and have developed several studies using papain-rich drugs as part of cancer care. Papaya leaves have so many health benefits and use as well.
In addition to the many benefits of papaya leaves, a boiled papaya leaf extract could be a great way to protect your body. Boiled Papaya Leaf Extract helps the body battle almost all kinds of viral infections by battling thrombocytopenia (reduced platelet count in the bloodstream) and purifying the bloodstream in a very literal sense of the word, no matter how serious, to better prepare the human immune system to fight infections.
Papaya Leaf-The Recipe for Boiled Extract
Required Ingredients & Equipment:
- Approximately 50 grams of raw, fresh papaya leaves
- A gas stove/heater induction/hot plate
- A Cooker for Pressure
- A Strainer
- Wash about 50 grams of raw papaya leaves, freshly plucked. The younger the plate, the higher the quality of the extract.
- In a pressure cooker, put the leaves and add drinking water until the leaves are fully submerged.
- Boil the leaves in the pressure cooker until the cooker has five whistles, then turn off the heat.
- Remove the solution from the pressure cooker and, once cooled, strain it.
- Put aside the strained leaves (these will not be used), and return the green looking water extracted to the pressure cooker.
- Turn the heat back on, set to medium, or simmer the flame (heat).
- Let this solution evaporate some of the water so that the extract gets thicker in concentration. This is achieved so that consuming a smaller quantity of the section achieves more significant results.
- Let it cool again until the amount of this liquid has halved.
- Serve the patient with the cooled papaya leaf extract (with flu symptoms) in doses of 30ml to 60ml, about three to four times a day. Give more frequent doses for extreme high fever cases and a low history of recovery/low immunity. The extract tastes salty, but when the formula is followed correctly, it acts like a charm.
Nutrition from its Fruit
The papaya fruit is known for its sweet taste and vibrant color. It is a soft, fleshy fruit used on various dishes, salads, and smoothies. When it is mature, the best way to enjoy the fruit is raw.
Though papaya fruit is traditionally eaten raw (more on that below), in America, Eastern Europe, and Asia, its juice has been used as a healing mechanism for centuries. Unripe papaya juice is rich in an enzyme called papain, which has been used for wounds, rashes, stings, and burns as a topical remedy.
Aside from that, here are the top benefits of papaya fruit that can undoubtedly give a favor to your body:
- It is used for Asthma prevention.
- It promotes bone health.
- It improves digestion
- It promotes hair health.
- It lowers the risk of heart disease.
- It lowers the risk of Diabetes.
- It aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.
- It promotes wound healing and prevents infection from burned skin areas.
- It helps in weight loss due to its laxative characteristic.
- It boosts our immunity.
- It reduces the risk of cancer.
- It strengthens vision
- It prevents inflammation
When Is It Ripe?
“When is a papaya ripe?” is one of the most common questions that papaya buyers usually ask. Here’s how to know it:
- A Papaya is ripe when its color is already 80% golden.
- You will see more dark spots, which is only natural, as the Papaya is already ripe.
- When you press your finger on the Papaya and feel it soft, then it means it is already ripe.
You can slice it and eat it straight once you have ripe papaya, throw it in a salad, whip it up in a salsa, or place it in the fridge to slow down the ripening process and keep it ready for a while longer.
Here’s a quick list of Papaya’s nutrition facts:
- Vitamin A- Papaya is also great for hair because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient needed to produce sebum that keeps hair hydrated. For the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair, vitamin A is also required.
- Magnesium is an essential mineral, playing a part in the human body’s over 300 enzyme reactions. Its several roles include assisting with muscles and nerves, controlling blood pressure, and strengthening the immune system.
- Copper- For a healthy immune system and healthy bones, a sufficient intake of copper is essential. Copper also acts with iron to generate blood cells and reduce the risk of papaya anemia.
- Fiber- Papaya is very rich in fiber and water and is well known for its digestive ability. As it has almost twice as many threads, the “Formosa” papaya variety is even more laxative than the common papaya.
- Folate- During periods of rapid development, such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence, adequate folate intake is essential.
- Carbohydrates- Papaya is a tasty fruit with a mere 62 calories in a cup. The bulk of the papaya calories come from carbohydrates. A serving of papaya with fiber and naturally occurring sugars contains almost 16 grams of carbohydrate.
- Potassium- Papaya contains potassium, which could help in maintaining a healthy body. In your body, potassium helps to balance fluids and minerals. It also helps to maintain normal blood pressure in your body. Potassium helps contract your muscles and commonly work with your nerves.
- Vitamins B1, B3, B5, E, and K- It has potent antioxidant effects because papaya contains many vitamins and minerals, decreasing oxidative stress and lowering your risk of many diseases.
- Calcium- Calcium is responsible for encouraging healthy teeth, muscles, bones, and so much more. Besides, it is also one of the most plentiful minerals essential for health in the human body.
- Lycopene- Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid in plants and is one of the essential papaya compounds.
Given that your Papayas has 55 calories, these Papaya calories will enable you to burn energy to do one of these things:
- 5-minute swimming
- Eight minute-cycling
- 6-minute jogging
- 15 minutes walking
Is it suitable for Pregnant Woman?
When eaten with caution, a ripe Papaya can undoubtedly provide health benefits for a pregnant woman and make the mother and the baby very healthy. Still, soon-to-be mothers should know that there are health benefits and health risks to consuming Papaya during pregnancy. One of the benefits of Papaya for pregnant women is its rich Vitamin A, B, and C, which also has high antioxidant content, boosts immunity, dark room suitable to grind the papaya perfectly for the heart.
However, one major drawback, though, is it heightens the risk of delaying fetal development, which can be a source of other implications. Besides, because of papaya latex presence, which may induce early labor and uterine contractions, it is recommended that pregnant women take precautions in consuming this fruit.
How to Eat: Fun and Easy Ways
There’s no denying the fact that one of the most nutritious fruits is papaya. At most of our breakfast tables, this bright orange fruit is a popular one. For culinary and therapeutic purposes, sweet fruit and its leaves, seeds, and flowers are also widely used.
It would be impossible to see Papayas remain in their Golden skin, because the next thing you know, you’ll see it in salads, smoothies, kebabs, soup, and would take in various forms like ‘atsara’ (pickled form), dried, all the way to becoming a soap.
The long list of Papaya recipes proves how Filipinos love it so much. Aside from satisfying our tongues and tummies, it also benefits our health needs through its nutritions that are practically packed in its every part, down to its seeds.
Best and Healthy Papaya Fruit Salad
Papaya Salad is a traditional side dish made from green papaya fruit mixed with savory vegetables, herbs, and the right amount of spice. It is super healthy and only requires minimal preparation and cooking time. With the right amount of sweetness, the recipe strikes the perfect balance between tart, crunchy and vibrant. Shrimps and other garnishes can also be added!
Best and Healthy Atsarang Papaya
Atsarang Papaya is a pickle made from grated unripe Papaya. It is often served as a side dish for fried or grilled foods. Its taste is a combination of sweet and sour, with a mild hint of spice. This recipe is one of the best recipes that could never be absent from any Filipino table.
To make this Atsarang papaya, toss the grated papaya in a wide bowl with 1/4 cup of salt; allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain the papaya liquid and thoroughly clean. In the center of a large piece of cheesecloth, place the papaya and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible from the papaya. In a clean, wide bowl, combine the papaya, carrot, red bell pepper, ginger, green chili peppers, and raisins; blend. Move the mixture to clean, dry jars with lids. In a small saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water, sugar, and one teaspoon salt; bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jars, making sure the liquid is fully immersed in the vegetables. Enable the vegetables to marinate in the juice for a minimum of 1 day before use—refrigerator storage between applications. Enjoy!
Raw and Dried Papaya
There are three ways you can make a dried Papaya: first is drying it through the oven, second is through sunlight, and third is through a food dehydrator. To maintain its dry state, you should keep your dried Papaya in glass or plastic jars, plastic freezer pouches, or airtight containers.
Drying Papaya in the Oven
- Lay the slices in one layer on a cookie sheet after you’ve washed and cut the papaya. As a replacement for the cookie sheet, you can also use muslin, cheesecloth, or a thin, absorbent cloth. Set it to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in your oven. For 12 hours, bake the papaya slices.
- Leave at least 2 to 4 inches of the oven door open. This will cause the dampness to escape from the papaya. Before doing this, ensure that small children or your pets do not enter the oven.
- After 6 hours of baking, check the slices. Track them every hour after that. They are ready for storage until they’re dry, brittle, and cool to touch.
- Within a sealed jar, put the dried papaya inside. Store them in a cool, darkroom.
- If you have an outdoor temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of less than 60%, you can sun-dry the papaya. Spread the papaya slices onto racks or clean screens once you’ve rinsed and sliced the papaya.
- They are using muslin, cheesecloth, or thin, absorbent cloth to cover the slices. This will avoid the laying of eggs by insects on your produce. Ensure the racks are out of the control of young children or pets. To ensure proper drying, turn the slices once a day.
- When they’re dry and delicate, place them for some cooling time under room temperature. Place them in a sealed container and store them in a quiet, cool place.
Drying Papaya in the Food Dehydrator
- Spray the papaya with lemon juice after you have finished washing and cutting the papaya into thin slices. Lemon juice can help avoid the browning of the papaya. You can put the lemon juice within a spray bottle and spray a small amount on the slices.
- On the rack, put the slices. Make sure there is no overlap, except for dehydration. This will keep the portions from sticking together as well.
- It is recommended that a fresh batch with a slightly dry batch does not dehydrate. Doing so determines the quality of the products.
- If you intend to dehydrate them along with other fruits and vegetables, place the papaya slices on the bottom rack. This will guarantee that the different products do not consume the juice of the papaya.
- Follow the time and temperature specified in the user’s manual for your dehydrator. Set the temperature at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise.
- The drying of papaya using a dehydrator should be completed after 6 hours, depending on your room’s humidity. Every two hours, turn the slices over.
- Once the slices look dry, rugged, and bendable, the process is complete. Put them back inside the dehydrator if you can still see the moisture. Check them out each hour.
- Place the slices and store them properly in a clean, airtight jar.
Best Papaya Juice for Digestion
It’s time to include Papaya juice in your daily diet routine if you plan to lose weight. This drink, rich in fiber, keeps you happy for longer hours and eases bowel movements. A glass full of Papaya juice is also all you need to increase your levels of immunity. Thanks to its high content of Vitamin C, it serves 200 percent of vitamin C’saily requirement, thus enhancing immunity and resistance.
To make a perfect Papaya juice, all you need are diced ripe Papaya (500 gm), 1 cup of orange juice, three tablespoons of honey. Mix it all and grind it by spoon, but you may use a blender to perfectly grind the papaya.
Best Papaya Smoothie for Digestion
The best way to begin your day is with a papaya smoothie. This helps maintain balanced digestion and helps to lose weight. This makes a decadent and nourishing breakfast and can limit mid-morning snacks. In many respects, this smoothie preserves stomach health. A high amount of dietary fiber is contained in it. For an extended period, this high fiber will hold your whole. Besides, the enzyme helps with digestion and prevents constipation.
Were you planning to make a Papaya Smoothie? Then, here are what you will need: 1 cup of milk, ¼ cup of Greek Yogurt, one teaspoon of Vanilla extract, one small ripe banana, peeled and sliced, 1 cup ice cubes, and of course, ½ large, ripe Papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped. Mix it all in the blender, and there you have it, a fresh cold Papaya Smoothie!
Healthy Papaya Shake
Here’s what you need for your tasty and nutritious Papaya shake: 1 cup chopped Papaya, 1 cup cold milk, two ice cubes, one tablespoon Honey or Sugar. Put them together in a blender for 30 seconds. Pour your shake in a serving glass, and enjoy.
Most jams and jellies are filled with preservatives and additives, but they can be turned into a more natural product with a few simple changes. Mix in two cups of puree, using ripe papaya, and mix in 1⁄4 cup of sugar if necessary. Heat the mixture in a saucepan until the consistency is thick and turn off the heat. Mix well, let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice. Top up with sprouted grain toast, oats, and jam in any other form you want.
Chicken Tinola could never be considered Tinola without papaya. This has been the perfect partner that every Filipino would crave for especially during the cold season.
Traditionally, it consists of chicken flavored with ginger, onion, and fish sauce cooked in broth. Then, green papaya and pepper leaves are added later. This is one of the best comforts you must-have during the cold season!
This tinola recipe is simple and straightforward. For beginners, I highly recommend this. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger first. Do this by heating a cooking pot with oil. Add the garlic and onion. You can first put any of the ingredients, followed by the ginger strips.
Be sure to saute them before they soften the onion. When you begin to detect the pleasant fragrance of the aromatics you are preparing, you are almost finished. The scent fills the kitchen slowly, and it can linger for a while. Add pieces of chicken. It does not matter the size of each piece. Your choice depends on it. For 3 to 5 minutes, cook the chicken or until it turns light brown. Add water and other sauces.
Let it boil until the chicken tenderizes, cover the pot, and simmer. When the chicken gets tender, add the papaya. Boil it for 5 minutes, and then add the leaves of hot pepper or malunggay. You are almost done. The last part is to season with either salt or fish sauce and ground black pepper with your chicken tinola. Your choice would depend on the number of ingredients. Enjoy!
Medicinal Papaya Soap
Papaya soap is a natural, gentle soap that lacks the chemicals used by mainstream soaps in the market, which are harsh for our skin. As Papaya’s nutritions lands on our skin, it will now be clear that Papaya is an overall solution for our health needs. When you see Papaya soap benefits, like exfoliation, acne relief, insect sting pain relief, and skin lightening, you will know that it can make all of these things without using harsh chemicals because the very agent that does the magic can be naturally found on the Papaya itself. It is also an effective stain-remover that lets you dissolve those hard-to-remove stains on your clothes.
Medicinal Papaya Extract
A Papaya extract will let you take advantage of every bit of nutrients and benefits that a Papaya has. Extracting unlocks the densely packed nutrients inside any Papaya parts like the fruit, seed, and leaves. It is a natural way of experiencing nature benefits because its extracts serve as a medicinal cure that is better than ready-made capsules available in drugstores.
Papaya, like the color of its flesh, shouts benefits and oozes with nutrients. From being an edible fruit to being a whitening soap, Papayas serves their purpose. After learning all the right things it can do to your body, I’m pretty sure you are thinking of having papaya now. Grab one!
When taken by mouth
For most individuals, papaya fruit is likely healthy when taken in quantities typically contained in foods. Papaya leaf extract, when used as medicine for up to 5 days, is Probably Healthy. Rarely has nausea and vomiting occurred. When taken by mouth, the unripe fruit is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Papaya latex, which contains an enzyme called papain, is found in unripe papaya fruit. Taking large quantities of papain by mouth can damage the esophagus.
When applied to the skin
When applied to the skin or gums for up to 10 days, papaya latex is probably Healthy. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use unripe papaya fruit to the skin. Unripe papaya fruit contains papaya latex wherein specific individuals can cause extreme inflammation and allergic reactions.
When consumed in normal food quantities, ripe papaya fruit is probably healthy. When taken by mouth during pregnancy, unripe papaya fruit is potentially unhealthy. There is some evidence that unprocessed papain, one of the chemicals in unripe papaya fruit, might poison the fetus or cause congenital disabilities.
Allergy to latex
If you are allergic to latex, there is a fair chance that you are allergic to papaya. If you have a latex allergy, stop eating papaya or using papaya-containing items.
Allergies of papain
Papaya includes papain. If you are allergic to papaya, stop consuming papaya or drinking papaya-containing items.
Papaya that has been fermented can reduce sugar in the blood. This type of papaya may, in principle, affect blood sugar during and after surgery. You can quit two weeks before surgery if you are taking papaya.
Now we have come to an end, and we hope to enlighten you regarding the benefits and other information you could get from papaya. We have provided some health benefits, tips, quick facts, recipes, and products you could make from this fruit.
Papaya is a sweet-tasting fruit with low calories that is full of vitamins and minerals. And the best part is that every piece of the fruit, from its flesh to its seeds, can be enjoyed. So, papaya is a versatile fruit that can do more than please your taste buds, whether you want to lose weight, exfoliate your skin, or season the main dish.
Enriched with the goodness of nature, it is difficult to resist the soothing and sweet taste of this delicious fruit, and the sweet nectar’s cold drips cure all the exhaustion of a hot summer day. Hence, this is the perfect time to take another look at this nutrition-packed fruit because it holds many promises to improve our health even better.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!