Papaya is a fruit of a thousand qualities and brings many health benefits. Did you know that it is also used as a natural contraceptive? Let’s find out all the properties, benefits and contraindications of papaya.
The properties of papaya make it an attractive exotic fruit from many points of view. We do not know exactly where it originated: Malaysia and Mexico are the two most accredited hypotheses.
It is cultivated in tropical countries; the ideal climate for its growth is, in fact, humid heat. Although it comes from far away it is quite easily found in our supermarkets; to be sure you are buying a good quality and naturally ripened papaya, however, it is better to get it in shops specialized in exotic fruit.
Papaya ripens especially in the warmer months; in reality, however, the tree also produces fruit in other seasons, which is why we can almost always find it.
Papaya: calories and nutritional values
Sweet and soft like butter, papaya is mainly composed of water; it also has a good amount of carbohydrates and is low in fat and protein. Also low in calories: 100 grams of papaya provide only 43 kilocalories.
From the point of view of micronutrients, papaya contains a lot of vitamin C and then again vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, copper, pantothenic acid, flavonoids. The seeds are also edible; some of the properties of papaya depend precisely on the composition of the seeds.
Nutritional values per 100g of papaya:
- Waterfall: 88.06 g
- kcal: 43
- Proteins: 0.47 g
- Fat: 0.26 g
- of which saturated: 0.081 g
- Carbohydrates: 10.82 g
- of which sugars: 7.82 g
- Fibers: 1.7 g
- Soccer: 20 mg
- Magnesium: 21 mg
- Potassium: 182 mg
- Zinc: 8 mg
- Vitamin B2: 0.027 mg
- Vitamin B5: 0.191 mg
- Folate: 37 µg
- Beta-Carotene: 274 µg
- Lycopene: 1828 µg
- C vitamin: 60.9 mg
- Glycemic index: 60
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Benefits of papaya
The presence of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals gives papaya useful properties to support health from many points of view. In short, papaya is good for you because it is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, aids digestion and is beneficial to heart health. Now let’s see an in-depth analysis of all the benefits that regular consumption of this fruit brings.
Papaya, especially when fully ripe, contains a good amount of substances with antioxidant properties, known for their ability to protect the body from cellular aging. The regular intake of antioxidant foods helps to protect oneself better from all those diseases that have cellular aging among the causes, especially tumors and cardiovascular disorders.
✓ Heart health
Papaya, therefore, is a valid ally for heart health. The antioxidant substances in papaya help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Cholesterol, oxidizing, thickens and can form those atherosclerotic plaques that often cause heart attacks and strokes.
Furthermore, papaya is an excellent source of fiber; A high-fiber diet has been shown to help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood. Therefore, this fruit cannot be missing from the diet that protects the heart.
✓ Gastrointestinal health
Papaya, especially when it is not completely ripe, contains papain, an enzyme that acts in the same way as gastric juices, thus helping digestion; this feature makes it a suitable fruit, for example, at the end of a large meal.
The fibers contained in the papaya help the regularity of the intestine. Furthermore, according to scientific studies, these fibers bind to colon cancer toxins keeping them away from healthy tissues; thanks to this quality and the aforementioned antioxidant properties, we can consider papaya a valid aid in the prevention of colon cancer.
How much papaya to eat
A standard portion of papaya is, like other fruits, equal to about 150 grams of edible portion. This quantity can be compared, in broad terms, to a medium-sized slice. Regular consumption of papaya, to the extent of a few servings per week, is enough to guarantee us all the benefits we have seen above. If we opt for fermented papaya -based supplements, however, it is good to follow the instructions provided on the package.
What does papaya taste like?
Papaya has a typically exotic taste that can be described as a mix of melon, apricot and pear. As with other fruits, the riper it is, the sweeter and juicier the flavor will be. The consistency of the pulp is soft and buttery (which can recall a mixture of avocado and melon) while the smell of ripe fruit is quite marked.
How to choose and eat papaya
Let’s see now how to choose this fruit. To know the degree of ripeness of a papaya and avoid buying a fruit that is too unripe or too ripe, it is important to first check its color: a papaya at the right degree of ripeness will have a green skin with some yellow marks, the more yellow the peel the more is mature. Furthermore, the fruit must be firm but soft to the touch and the smell must not be too pungent. If you find only unripe papaya (therefore with green skin) it is necessary to ripen it at home, keeping it out of the fridge for a few days.
But how do you eat a papaya? Once the purchase has been made, to eat the papaya it is necessary to open it: we must cut it in half with a knife and remove the seeds inside. Then we peel the fruit and our papaya is ready to be used. At this point we can cut it into cubes, into thin slices or, alternatively, if it is ripe enough we can consume it with a teaspoon without even peeling it. Papaya seeds are also edible and packed with benefits. To eat the seeds of this fruit we can simply consume them as they are or blend them and add them to our recipes (smoothies, salads, smoothies, etc.) or, again, insert them directly into the extractor.
Papaya can be eaten for breakfast to start the day with energy, as a snack or after a large meal to aid digestion. Furthermore, papaya lends itself very well to the preparation of delicious extracts or smoothies, either alone or combined with other tropical fruits such as a mango or a pineapple, or combined with local fruits such as watermelon or melon. It also lends itself well to more sophisticated preparations, such as spicy papaya salad or the preparation of desserts.
Fermented Papaya: what is it all about?
Fermented papaya is a supplement derived from the fermentation of previously pulverized papaya. This product is known for its strong antioxidant properties, making it a valid ally to counteract the action of free radicals. It is the fermentation that increases the antioxidant content present in fermented papaya. Furthermore, this supplement is also used for the digestive qualities which, as we have seen, also characterize the fruit of the papaya.
Contraindications and side effects
Papaya seeds, taken daily by humans, are considered an excellent natural contraceptive used for centuries in many cultures, especially in various Asian countries. According to some scientific studies conducted on animals, the prolonged use of papaya seeds could however lead to male infertility; from research conducted on rabbits it seems, however, that this is a reversible infertility; the rabbits, in fact, once the intake was stopped, returned to fertility after 45 days.
Pregnant women need to be wary of papaya consumption; the fully ripe fruit is not considered risky, but unripe papaya contains a lot of papain, a substance that, in addition to the aforementioned digestive properties, can induce uterine contractions. Papaya contains latex, so it can cause reactions, even severe ones, in people allergic to this substance. Pay attention to the consumption of seeds in case of diverticula.