The papaya, papaw or pawpaw is the plant Carica papaya, one of the 22 accepted species in the genus Carica of the family Caricaceae. Here are some health benefits of papaya:
-Lowers cholesterol (Papaya is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants which help in preventing cholesterol build up).
-Helps in weight loss (Papaya is great for weight loss as it contains just 120 calories. Also, this tropical fruit is also packed with a good amount of dietary fiber that aids weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness).
-Boosts immunity (A single papaya fulfils more than 200% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immunity).
-Good for eyes (Papaya is a great source of vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein. These help in keeping the mucus membranes in the eyes healthy by preventing them from damage).
-Shields against arthritis (Eat papaya to lower risk of developing arthritis. As it has anti-inflammatory properties, it’s good for the bones).
-Improves digestion (A digestive enzyme known as papain is present in papaya along with fiber which helps improve your digestive health).
-It can cure menstrual pain and irregular periods (The fruit helps in contracting the uterus muscles, which eases the painful flow during that time of the month. Also, it contains carotene, that helps in regulating the hormone estrogen in the body, thereby inducing regular periods).
-Prevents infections (Papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with them).
-Skin care (The papain kills dead cells and purifies the skin. The beneficial properties and healing enzymes help treat sunburn and irritated skin while lycopene reduces wrinkle formation in post-menopausal women).
-Anticancer properties (Papayas are effective in the fight against breast, pancreatic and other cancers).
-Improves heart health (The seeds of papayas are good for keeping your heart healthy. Having three powerful antioxidant vitamins – namely vitamin A, C, and E, means papayas are helpful in preventing problems such as atherosclerosis and diabetic heart diseases).
Side effects of papaya are:
-Pregnant women (Latex, present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, causes uterine contractions which might lead to miscarriage. Avoid eating raw papaya if you are pregnant).
-Gastrointestinal irritation (eating too many papayas can cause a powerful laxative effect in the intestines. Avoid eating large quantities of papaya, especially if it is in its raw form. Unripe or raw papaya can cause pain in the intestines or stomach and can sometimes cause esophageal perforations).
-Seeds (The black seeds of the papaya contain traces of an enzyme called carpine, which is a potentially toxic substance. This enzyme can make the nerve centers numb, which could lead to paralysis or cardiac depression and in some cases, the narrowing of blood vessels is also seen, which is caused due to carpine).