Papayas aren’t only super delicious, but pack in tons of health benefits, especially if you consume the seeds too!
One small papaya (152 grams) contains (S):
- Calories: 59
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
- Folate (vitamin B9): 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 11% of the RDI
- Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E and K.
- Papayas also contain healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids — particularly one type called lycopene.
Health Benefits of the flesh:
- Papain: It aids digestion and reduces inflammation. It has particularly been shown to decrease joint pain and stiffness.
- Carotenoids and other eye health supporting nutrients like lycopene.
Health Benefits of the seeds:
- Plenty of plant molecules (polyphenols and flavonoids) that serve as antioxidants which fight off free radical damage in your cells (S)
- Healthy monounsaturated fats called oleic acid (S)
- Aid in lowering triglycerides and the the bad kind of cholesterol (VLDL) (S)
- Fight fungal (candida!) (S) and parasitic infections (S).
- Support kidney function (S).
- Have anti cancer properties: Papaya seeds contain benzyl isothiocyanate, a compound also found in many types of cruciferous vegetables. In test-tube studies, this compound has been associated with a number of health benefits, especially when it comes to cancer prevention (S, S).
- However, some research suggests that it could be harmful in large amounts (S).
- There is also research suggesting that ingesting raw, unripe papaya may induce contractions in pregnant women, and should therefore best be avoided (or eat ripe/ cooked!) (S).
- There is further research that eating raw papaya may inhibit the production of progesterone, and as such lower fertility (S).
- So stick to the ‘everything in moderation’ rule: eating half a papaya a couple of times per week, including the pips, will be great, but maybe don’t have several each day, and avoid raw papaya during pregnancy and the second phase of your cycle (day 15 to 28) when you want that progesterone to be ramped up, not only for fertility but also for overall hormone health reasons (progesterone is important to reduce PMS, breakthrough bleeding, anxiety, endometriosis, unwanted growths and much more).
- If eating the papaya slightly more on the not quite ripe side, its sugars come in a form called resistant starch, which feeds your good gut bacteria rather than spiking your blood sugar levels.
- Dry the seeds and put into your pepper grinder for a different flavour and that extra health kick for your meals.
Comment below on how you best like to incorporate papaya! xx