Papaya or pawpaw is a delicious tropical fruit of the “Papaya” tree. Italian explorer Christopher Columbus called it “fruit of the angels” because of its soft and buttery consistency. It provides many health and beauty benefits as it has essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc.
Health Benefits of Papaya
Some major health benefits of papaya are as follows
(1) Good For Digestive System
Papaya is good for our digestive system as the “papain” enzyme in it breaks down proteins, inhibits protein to fat conversion, kills intestinal worms, and cleanses the digestive tract.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in papaya protect our digestive system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
Dietary fibers in papaya are natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, aid in stool elimination, and relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
(2) Promotes Weight Loss
Papaya promotes weight loss as it has a low calorific value of 43 calories per 100 grams.
Dietary fibers in papaya provide stomach satiety, controls our urge to eat again and again, and thus controls overeating which is a prime cause of obesity.
Papaya contains about 91 percent water that helps with weight management as it reduces calorie overload, controls overeating, improves digestion, and increases absorption of nutrients.
(3) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Anti-inflammatory compounds like Vitamin C (antioxidant), dietary fibers, choline, and enzymes such as papain and chymopapain in papaya relieve pain and inflammation of inflammatory conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma and bronchial asthma, etc.
Choline in papaya reduces chronic inflammation.
(4) Relieve Toothache And Strengthen Bones & Teeth
Papaya makes our bones and teeth stronger as it contains bone-strengthening minerals like calcium, potassium, vitamin K and magnesium, etc.
Calcium promotes the growth and development of the bones and reduces the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium neutralizes acid load, reduces loss of calcium from the bones, and thus improves bone density.
Magnesium contributes to bone health by improving bone density.
Manganese in papaya enhances calcium absorption and improves the bone mineral density of the spinal column.
Anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C in papaya reduce pain and inflammation caused by toothache.
For relieving toothache, make a paste of fresh papaya roots and gently massage it on teeth and gums for a few minutes.
Other nutrients like zinc, phosphorus, and folate, etc also aid in making our bones healthier.
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(5) Protection From Various Cancer(s)
Papaya contains antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc.
These compounds protect our cells from free radical damage and minimize the risk of several cancers like colon cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
(6) Aids in Managing Cholesterol
Vitamin C and dietary fibers in papaya reduce LDL cholesterol from the body and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls.
It is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
(7) Regulates High blood pressure
The vasodilating properties of potassium in papaya relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, relieves high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension affects millions worldwide and gives rise to health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
Zinc and magnesium in papaya aid in regulating high blood pressure.
If you are already on blood pressure medication, then consume papaya after having a word with your doctor to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Eat papaya moderately as potassium over-intake may drop blood pressure abnormally causing symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
(8) Keep Cardiovascular System Healthy
Papaya improves our cardiovascular health as it contains antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc that protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in papaya reduce LDL cholesterol and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems.
Papaya contains potassium that relaxes our blood vessels and controls hypertension or high blood pressure that causes several cardiovascular and other health problems.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, etc in papaya also contribute to our cardiovascular health.
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(9) Maintains Ocular Health
Beta-carotenes and vitamin A in papaya maintain our ocular health as they improve vision, prevent dryness of eyes, and reduce the risk of night-blindness.
Vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in papaya protects our eyes from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma, etc.
(10) Regulates Irregular Periods In Women
Papaya generates heat in the body.
Carotene in papaya stimulates estrogen hormone and induces periods in women experiencing an irregular period.
(11) Eating Papaya During Breastfeeding And Pregnancy
Eating Green papaya or unripe papaya is good for breastfeeding mothers as it increases the production of oxytocin hormone, and stimulate breast milk production. However, avoid unripe papaya during pregnancy as latex in it acts as a natural contraceptive that interrupts the estrous cycle and induces abortions.
Ripe papaya ( with fully yellow skin) can be eaten during pregnancy after consulting with a doctor.
It is loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals that maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds in papaya protect from free radical damage.
Because of its laxative properties, it eases digestion and provides relief from constipation. However, eat them under the doctor’s supervision.
Folate or the folic acid in papaya helps in the brain development of the fetus and reduces the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and neural tube defects.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium, etc also play a significant role during pregnancy.
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(12) Strengthens Immunity
Papaya strengthens our immune system, the defense mechanism of the body that prevents and treats various microbial infections, diseases, and as well as injuries, and wounds.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in papaya protect our immune cells or the white blood cells from free radical damage and thus strengthens our immune system.
Vitamin C enhances the production of white blood cells, and further strengthens our immunity.
When our immunity is strong, we are at lower risk of getting a cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc.
Papaya is antimicrobial and reduces the risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Other nutrients like zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate, etc in papaya also contribute to better immune health.
(14) Improve Respiratory Health
Papaya contains antioxidants and antioxidantal compounds like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, phytonutrients, polyphenols, flavonoids, etc that protect the respiratory system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of lung cancer.
Anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, dietary fibers, papain, and chymopapain, etc in papaya reduces pain and inflammation experienced during respiratory problems like asthma and bronchial asthma.
Other nutrients like potassium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese, etc in papaya also improve our respiratory health.
(15) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Papaya has a moderate glycemic index of 60 and decelerates the release of sugar into the bloodstream. This prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level and aids in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers in it decrease sugar absorption by the bloodstream and help in controlling blood sugar levels.
If you are on diabetic medication, consult your doctor before adding papaya to your diet to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
Eat papaya in moderation as otherwise, it may decrease blood sugar abnormally giving rise to symptoms like shakiness, dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability or moodiness.
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(17) Reduces Stress
It’s important to keep stress and anxiety under check as otherwise, they may damage our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium, etc. in papaya helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
Vitamin C reduces stress hormones from the blood.
It also reduces other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress such as weight loss, enlargement of adrenal glands, diminution of the thymus gland, etc.
Magnesium interacts with GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces nerve activity calms our nervous system, and encourages sleep.
Getting quality sleep reduces cortisol ( primary stress hormone) from the blood.
Zinc inhibits cortisol secretion in the blood.
Flavonoids in papaya also help.
(18) Cures Ulcers And Wounds
Papaya aids in curing ulcers and wounds as it is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
Vitamin k in papaya helps with blood clotting and vitamin C synthesis collagen that helps with cell regeneration for quick healing of wounds.
Anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C and papain in papaya reduce pain and inflammation caused by wounds and injuries.
As papaya is antimicrobial, it protects the wounds from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Beauty Benefits of Papaya For Skin
Some major beauty benefits of papaya for skin are as follows.
(1) Protects From Premature Ageing
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds like vitamin C, vitamin A, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in papaya protects our skin cells from the free radical damage
It keeps various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and in doing so they cause oxidative damage to them.
Vitamin C enhances the production of collagen, an amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and saggy skin.
Alpha hydroxy acids in papaya dissolve dead skin cells and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
To fight premature aging, mix a few drops of honey, one tablespoon of milk, and half a cup of mashed overripe papaya to make a paste.
Apply the paste on your face and neck and after 15 minutes, rinse off with cold water.
(2) Improves Skin Complexion
Papaya is good for the skin as it contains essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, etc.
These nutrients nourish our skin, improve skin health, and make it soft and radiant.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds like vitamin C, phytonutrients, and polyphenols in papaya protect our skin from free radical damage and lighten skin tone.
Papaya can be applied to the skin to improve skin tone.
Some of the methods are
- Rub the flesh of fresh papaya slices on the face, neck, and other exposed areas of the skin. After 15 minutes, wash off with cold water. Repeat 3-4 times a week.
- Mix juice of one lemon to half cup mashed ripe papaya, and massage all over the face and neck. After 30 minutes, rinse off with cold water. Repeat weekly.
- Blend one cup of unripe banana, one teaspoon vitamin E oil, one teaspoon honey, and one teaspoon yogurt to make a fine paste. Gently apply it on the skin and after 15 minutes, rinse off with cold water.
(3) Hydrates And Moisturizes Skin
Papaya moisturizes and hydrates our skin because of its rich nutritious profile and abundance of water (around 91 percent) in it.
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc in papaya nourish our skin and make it soft and radiant.
It prevents skin dryness and provides anti-aging benefits.
Consuming papaya as a fruit, juice, or smoothie helps, and it can also be applied to the skin.
For this, blend half a cup of raw papaya and some raw honey to form a fine paste.
Apply the paste on your face and neck. After 15 minutes, rinse off with cold water and pat dry skin.
(4) Controls Acne And Pimples
Papaya benefits against skin problems like acne and pimples.
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, dirt, impurities, and other unwanted substances within the skin pores.
The dietary fibers in papaya eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system.
When there are fewer toxins, they are less likely to accumulate in skin pores, and thus minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.
Dietary fibers control the secretion of excess oil from skin glands and prevent acne from worsening.
The papain enzyme in papaya is a wonderful skin cleanser that unclogs skin pores by removing impurities from them.
Papaya is a wonderful exfoliator that aids in getting rid of dead skin.
For treating acne, apply the juice of some freshly cut papaya slices on the affected skin area using a cotton pad.
Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water
Rubbing freshly cut raw papaya slices on the affected area for ten minutes, and then rinsing off with lukewarm water also helps.
(5) Diminishes Skin Spots
Papaya helps in diminishing skin spots such as black spots, brown spots, acne spots, dark elbow, knee spots as well as a suntan.
For this, mix one tablespoon of lemon juice, ½ tablespoon of raw honey, and ¼ cup of mashed raw papaya to make a paste.
Apply it to the affected area, after 15 minutes wash off with cold water.
Use 3-4 times a week.
(6) Treats Wrinkles and Crow’s Feet
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant in papaya helps in diminishing wrinkles around the mouth or forehead, and also for reducing crow’s feet at the outer corner of the eyes.
For this, gently rub a raw papaya slice around the eye area for 5 minutes.
Wait 10 minutes and rinse off with cold water.
Another method is: mix one tablespoon of ripe papaya pulp and little olive oil to make a paste.
Apply the paste on the affected area, after 20 minutes wash off with cold water and apply moisturizer.
(7) Heals Cracked Heels
Cracked heels can cause pain, inflammation, itching, red or flaky patches on sin, bleeding from heel cracks, etc.
The moisturizing properties of papaya aids in healing cracked heels.
For treating cracked heels, mash one cup of ripe papaya and apply the paste on the clean heels.
Wait 15 minutes and wash off with warm water.
Apply some olive oil on the heels and wear a pair of socks overnight.
Repeat every night to soften the heels.
Beauty Benefits of Papaya For Hair
Following are the major beauty benefits of papaya for hair
(1) Provides Nourishment To Hair
Consuming papaya as fruit or as juice nourishes our hair follicles and scalp.
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes, etc in papaya nourish our hair follicles and scalp.
These nutrients and enzymes promote hair growth and strengthen hair follicles.
They bring out the natural shine of the hair, improve hair thickness and fight baldness. Proteins in papaya reduce split ends.
For nourishing hair, mix and blend one cup of ripe banana, one cup of ripe papaya, one teaspoon of yogurt, and one teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil to make a paste.
Apply the paste on the moist hair and cover with a shower cap for 30 minutes.
Rinse off with warm water.
(2) Helps Controlling Dandruff
Papaya helps in treating dandruff, a common scalp problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by poor scalp health.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in the papaya protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage and make them healthy.
Papain and other enzymes in papaya prevent the buildup of oil and impurities on the scalp and minimize the risk of dandruff.
For treating dandruff, blend raw papaya and mix half a cup of yogurt to it.
Apply the mixture on hair follicles and scalp and leave it for 30-40 minutes.
Wash off with cold water.
(3) Lightens Unwanted Facial Hair
The papain enzyme in papaya aids in getting rid of facial hair.
For treating unwanted facial hair, mix half a cup of raw papaya and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to form a paste.
Apply the paste to the affected area and let it dry for some time.
Scrub off the paste and rinse with warm water.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not to be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.