Paw Paw or Papaya is the fruit of the Carica papaya plant. It grows in tropical climates in many other parts of the world. It has a green outer layer when unripe and orange when ripe, while the flesh is yellow, orange, or red with tiny round seeds which are also edible but bitter. It’s mostly enjoyed alone or used in making tasty drinks, smoothies e.t.c. There are so many reasons why you should love pawpaw and these reasons include the health benefits of the fruit as well as the seeds and Leaves. Papaya has many different names all over the globe. In Australia, it’s called pawpaw. In southern Asia, it’s sometimes called a kepaya, lapaya, or tapaya. Its name in French is sometimes “figueir des iles,” or fig of the islands. Some Spanish names for papaya include “melon zapote,” “fruta bomba,” or “mamona.”
Pawpaw – Nutrition, Health Benefits & Uses (WATCH)
Types & Varieties
There are various types of papaya and may encounter many varieties across the world, including:
- Kapaho solo (also known as puna solo)
- Hortus gold
- Honey gold
- Improved Peterson
- Guinea gold
- Coorg honeydew
One small papaya (152 grams) contains:
- 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.
How PawPaw Is eaten
Pawpaw is a delicious fruit that is best enjoyed ripe. It can be eaten alone or easily combined with other foods that complement its flavor. When perfectly ripe, pawpaw should be yellow to orange-red in color, although a few green spots are fine. Like an avocado, its skin should yield to gentle pressure. Its flavor is best when cold, so it’s a good idea to keep it refrigerated whenever possible. After washing it well, you can cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and eat it out of the rind with a spoon, like a cantaloupe or melon. The seeds of the papaya are also edible with lots of benefits but have a bitter, peppery taste. Using a spoon, it is possible to scoop out the soft flesh of the fruit.
Health Benefits Of Paw Paw
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAWPAW FRUIT:::
The possible health benefits of consuming papaya include a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, aiding in digestion, improving blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and improving wound healing
1. Pawpaw Has Powerful Antioxidant Effects
Antioxidants such as the carotenoids found in papayas, can neutralize free radicals which are reactive molecules created during your body’s metabolism. They can promote oxidative stress, which can lead to disease. The reduction in oxidative stress is attributed to papaya’s lycopene content and ability to remove excess iron, which is known to produce free radicals.
2. Pawpaw is Loaded with Nutrients
The papaya is an incredibly healthy tropical fruit. It’s loaded with antioxidants known as carotenoids — particularly one type called lycopene which can neutralize free radicals that can reduce inflammation, fight disease and help keep you looking young. It is a tropical fruit high in vitamins C and A, as well as fiber and healthy plant compounds. It also contains healthy antioxidants
3. Pawpaw Has Anticancer Properties
Research suggests that Consuming the antioxidants beta-carotene & lycopene in papaya can reduce cancer risk by reducing free radicals that contribute to cancer. It may also be beneficial for people who are being treated for cancer. Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer,
4. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant found in papaya which filters out harmful blue light rays. It is thought to play a protective role in eye health, and it may ward off macular degeneration. However, a higher intake of all fruits has been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
5. Pawpaw Protects Against Skin Damage
Excessive free radical activity is believed to be responsible for much of the wrinkling, sagging and other skin damage that occurs with age. In addition to keeping your body healthy, papaya can also help your skin look more toned and youthful. Due to its vitamin C and lycopene content which may help reduce these signs of aging
6. PawPaw May Improve Digestion
The papain enzyme in papaya can make protein easier to digest. People in the tropics consider papaya to be a remedy for constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
7. Pawpaw is good for Hair Health
Papaya is also great for hair because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production, which keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. Adequate intake of vitamin C, which papaya can provide, is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAWPAW SEEDS
Papaya seeds are often overlooked, but they offer several potential health benefits when consumed in moderation:
Digestive Health: Papaya seeds contain an enzyme called papain, which aids in the digestion of proteins. This can help prevent digestive problems and may alleviate constipation.
Antioxidant Properties: Papaya seeds are rich in antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Antiparasitic Effects: Some studies suggest that papaya seeds may have antiparasitic properties and could help combat intestinal parasites, although more research is needed.
Liver Health: The antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in papaya seeds may support liver health by promoting detoxification and reducing the risk of liver damage.
Anti-Inflammatory: The seeds contain anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases.
Weight Management: Papaya seeds are often used to aid in weight management. They may help suppress appetite and support healthy metabolism due to their high fiber content.
Cardiovascular Health: The antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in papaya seeds may contribute to heart health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, factors associated with heart disease.
It’s essential to note that while papaya seeds offer potential health benefits, they should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption can lead to digestive discomfort. If you’re interested in incorporating papaya seeds into your diet, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAWPAW LEAVES
Papaya leaves, often overshadowed by the fruit, also offer a range of potential health benefits when used thoughtfully and in moderation. Here are seven health benefits associated with papaya leaves:
Immune System Support: Papaya leaves are a rich source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which plays a vital role in supporting the immune system, helping the body fight off infections and illnesses.
Platelet Support: Some studies suggest that papaya leaf extract may help increase platelet counts, which can be especially important for individuals dealing with conditions like dengue fever.
Digestive Health: Papaya leaves contain enzymes like papain that aid digestion, reduce bloating, and alleviate constipation. They can also help improve overall gut health.
Anti-Inflammatory: The phytochemicals in papaya leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and ease pain associated with various conditions.
Antioxidant Properties: Papaya leaves are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, which help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. This protection is crucial for overall health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Liver Health: Some studies indicate that papaya leaves can support liver health by promoting detoxification processes and reducing the risk of liver damage.
Skin Health: When used topically, papaya leaf extract can help treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It promotes healthy skin by reducing inflammation and encouraging the healing of skin wounds.
It’s important to note that while papaya leaves have potential health benefits, they should be used cautiously, especially in concentrated forms like extracts or teas. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using papaya leaves for medicinal purposes, and ensure they are sourced and prepared in a safe and hygienic manner.
PAWPAW FRUIT :
- Papaya can be eaten when it’s ripe or unripe. However, unripe papaya should always be cooked before eating — especially during pregnancy. This is because unripe pawpaw is high in latex, which can stimulate contractions in pregnant women. When eaten unripe Pawpaw may cause reactions. For this reason, medical sources recommend that pregnant women do not consume pawpaw fruit.
- Pawpaw is usually safe when consumed as food. However, health agencies have reported that people have suffered from nerve toxicity, vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions when consuming the fruit
PAWPAW SEEDS :
- There are also concerns about consuming pawpaw seeds. Studies show that parts of the pawpaw plant—including the seeds—contain alkaloids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, tannins, flavonoids, and acetogenins. These compounds may have beneficial effects, but may also have pesticide qualities.
- Acetogenins can be found in pawpaw twigs, unripe fruit, roots, skin, and bark. Researchers found that overconsumption of acetogenin compounds from pawpaw fruit relatives (such as soursop) and tea made from the leaves of these plants may lead to an increased risk of atypical Parkinsonism later in life. They suggest that an assessment of the potential human health risks of pawpaw overconsumption should be pursued.
Culinary Uses Of PawPaw:::
Papaya, also known as pawpaw in some regions, is a versatile tropical fruit that can be used in a variety of culinary applications. Here are some common culinary uses of papaya:
Fresh Fruit: Enjoy papaya on its own as a refreshing and nutritious snack. Simply peel, remove the seeds, and cut it into slices or cubes.
Smoothies: Papaya adds a creamy texture and natural sweetness to smoothies. Blend it with other fruits like bananas or berries and some yogurt or milk for a delicious and healthy beverage. Check out this papaya smoothie HERE
Salsas: Papaya salsa is a popular condiment that pairs well with grilled meats, fish, or as a dip for tortilla chips. It typically includes papaya, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro.
Fruit Salads: Papaya is a great addition to fruit salads. Its vibrant color and sweet, tropical flavor enhance the overall taste of the salad.
Papaya Boat: Create a “papaya boat” by halving a papaya, removing the seeds, and filling it with other fruits, yogurt, or cottage cheese. It makes for a visually appealing and tasty breakfast.
Papaya Lassi: Make a papaya lassi by blending papaya with yogurt, sugar, and a pinch of cardamom. It’s a popular Indian drink.
Desserts: Papaya can be used in desserts like papaya sorbet, papaya ice cream, or papaya pie. Its natural sweetness complements these sweet treats.
Chutneys: Papaya chutney is a condiment with a sweet and tangy flavor. It can accompany a variety of dishes, particularly Indian cuisine.
Preserves and Jams: Papaya can be used to make homemade preserves and jams. The natural pectin content helps thicken the mixture.
Curries: In some Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines, papaya is used in savory dishes like curries. Green papaya, in particular, is used in Thai green papaya salad (Som Tum).
Beverages: Papaya can be blended into juices, cocktails, or non-alcoholic mocktails, adding a tropical twist to your drink menu.
Grilled Papaya: Grilling papaya slices caramelizes their sugars and creates a smoky flavor. This can be used as a side dish or even as a topping for grilled meats.
Papaya Seeds: Papaya seeds can be dried and ground into a spice similar to black pepper. They have a peppery taste and can be used as a seasoning.
Papaya Bread: Use mashed papaya in place of bananas to make a unique and moist papaya bread or muffins.
Papaya Soup: Papaya can be used to make chilled soups, often with the addition of yogurt and spices.
When working with papaya, keep in mind that it contains enzymes (like papain) which can break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. Because of this, people have used papaya to tenderize meat for thousands of years. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious when using papaya in marinades for meat, as excessive marination can make the meat overly tender. Additionally, ripe papayas are typically sweeter, while green or underripe papayas have a more neutral flavor and firmer texture, making them suitable for different culinary applications.