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The Benefits of Paw Paw (Papaya)

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Last Updated Aug 16, 2021

The Benefits of Paw Paw (Papaya)

Paw Paw (or papaya) is a soft, fleshy tropical fruit that is being cultivated in tropical regions and is easily available throughout Australia. Most Australians enjoy eating paw paw because of its delicious taste but increasingly, research has shown that its health benefits may be even greater than its delicious taste. As a matter of fact, paw paw and paw paw-based products are being used for various medicinal and therapeutic purposes both by natural health practitioners and in conventional medicine.

The Benefits of Paw Paw

No one is questioning the health benefits of the fruit, but paw paw is special because of the large quantities of major vitamins and minerals in it which include dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins A, C, and E. It also carries small amount of riboflavin, calcium, iron, niacin, and thiamine. It is also rich in antioxidant nutrients, flavonoids and carotenoids, high in vitamin C plus A, and low in calories and sodium.

Nothing in the fruit goes to waste; not even its seeds. Did you know that high amounts of fatty acids, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic and stearic acids, can be obtained from papaya seeds? These unsaturated fats make the fruit's seeds worth considering as a raw ingredient in the manufacture of food-grade oils and skincare products, according to several studies. Palmitic and stearic acids are primarily used in cosmetics as they contain natural cleansing agents that wash away accumulated oil and dirt on the skin that clog the pores. Palmitic is also a natural emollient that locks in skin's natural moisture.

The high content of linoleic and oleic acids in papaya seeds can help prevent heart disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases resulting from oxidative damage to the cells in the body. Linoleic is especially beneficial to people with diabetes as it helps maintain low blood sugar levels.

Apart from these, paw paw is rich in important antioxidants and an excellent source of fiber, which reduces the risk of colon cancer. At the same time, it is low in sodium and calories but contains citric acid, making it an excellent fruit for maintaining kidney health as citric acid prevents the formation of kidney stones. If these reasons are not enough for the fruit to be a part of your diet, it also contains unique ingredients that are not found, or found in limited concentrations, in other fruits. Papain and chymopapain are digestive enzymes found in the fruit that help in breaking down proteins and converting them into amino acids, making paw paw an excellent solution for indigestion and other digestive health issues.

Paw paw also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help in reducing the severity of the symptoms brought by rheumatoid arthritis and in the recovery from sport injuries or other conditions caused by or exacerbated by inflammation. These include properties in treating the common cold to more serious diseases.

Continuing studies also reveal that paw paw and paw paw-based medications show promise in providing relief from the side effects of cancer treatments such as difficulty in swallowing and mouth ulcers, as well as providing a boost to the production of immune system cells. And like many coloured fruits that contain lycopene, paw paw just might be the answer to every man's problem, especially those who are at risk of prostate cancer. Eating fresh papaya once in a while may help improve their sperm counts and fertility. 

Paw Paw for Weight Loss

Paw paw is a must-have in your diet plan if you're looking to shed off the unwanted pounds and achieve a figure to behold. Because of its high fiber content, the fruit gives you the feeling of fullness longer, which helps reduce your calorie intake as you seldom get hungry and eat.

Raw papaya is just as tasty and healthy as its ripe version. Green papaya (which is how the fruit looks in its raw form) can be added to soups, sliced thinly and mixed into salads or juiced up. However you decide to take your paw paw, you will definitely enjoy its taste without adding another inch to your waist.

Paw Paw and Antioxidants

The antioxidants found in the fruit are extremely beneficial to your health and are said to be among the most important reasons why you should make fruits and vegetables a large and regular part of your diet. Antioxidants have shown to scavenge the free radicals that are pivotal in the development of life threatening diseases such as cancer that have become prevalent in modern society, where processed and unhealthy foods have become a large part of our life.

In other words, the health benefits of paw paw are potentially enormous. There are benefits both from the natural fruit and the natural paw paw supplements. While many health care professionals have recommended consulting a holistic doctor with knowledge of both natural and conventional medicine for existing or suspected diseases, taken regularly, paw paw may play an important role in preventing those diseases from occurring.

Make paw paw a staple in your diet to improve your health. A nutritionist can help you come up with some delicious recipes, a good way of reaping the benefits of papaya.

Originally published on Jan 05, 2018

FAQs About Paw Paw or Papaya

How do you eat papaya?

Papaya is often served ripe and sweet. Unripe papaya is hard and impossible to bite into, so it has to be cooked first. To eat the fruit, slice it down the middle lengthwise then remove the black seeds. Next, cut both sides of the papaya into thick slices and remove the skin before eating.

Can dogs eat papaya?

Yes. Papaya is rich in fiber which aids digestion. However, be sure to remove the seeds of the papaya, which can cause bowel obstruction, peel and cut it into cubes before feeding it to your dog.

What does papaya taste like?

The taste of papaya really depends on the state of the fruit. If it's orange yellow in colour, your papaya fruit is ripe and sweet. On the other hand, if it's green and hard, it's unripe and bland. But that's not to say that unripe papaya doesn't taste good. In fact, it's palatable when cooked as a vegetable or mixed in stew.

Can papaya be frozen?

Yes. Although ripe papaya does not last long, its shelf life can be extended when it's placed in the freezer. Before freezing the fruit, slice it down the middle, remove the seeds and then peel it. Next, cut it into cubes, put them in a ziplock plastic bag or airtight container, and then freeze at 0 degrees Celcius.

Can papaya cause miscarriage in early pregnancy?

Eating ripe papaya is beneficial to pregnant women and their babies. However, unripe papaya should be avoided at all costs as it contains a substance called latex that could cause uterine contractions and miscarriage.

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