What is Papaya?
Papaya, (Carica papaya), also called papaw or pawpaw, succulent fruit of a large plant of the family Caricaceae. Its origin is in the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighboring Central America.
Papaya is a small, bushy tree with a hollow trunk, large palmate leaves, and oblong smooth-skinned fruits (melons). The melons are usually picked in a green state and allowed to ripen. When ripe, the flesh is sweet and juicy and similar in taste to other melons. papaya is cultivated for its edible ripe fruit; its juice is a popular beverage, and its young leaves, shoots, and fruits are cooked as a vegetable. The fruits are a source of flavoring used in candies, jellies, preserves, and ice cream, salads, pies, juices.
Shallow cuts on the surface of fully grown but unripe fruits cause a milky sap or latex to ooze that is collected, dried, and termed “crude papain.” Papain has many industrial uses, as well as milk-clotting (rennet) and protein-digesting properties.
Can you eats Papaya Seeds?
Unfortunately, Papaya seeds are often overlooked when eating the juicy fruit but their unique health benefits are not something that should be ignored. What they don’t realize is that the seeds are not only edible but also highly nutritious.
There are many benefits that come from eating papaya seeds, but as with anything, they are best to use in moderation. When it comes to taking good care of our skin, pawpaw’s skin can be very useful. Such is the richness of pawpaw that even its seeds contain most surprising health benefits.
Lets check out the health benefit;
They are Highly Nutritious: Papaya seeds are a good source of many important nutrients, monounsaturated fats and fiber.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.
- Has powerful Antioxidant Effect: Papaya has powerful antioxidant effects, which may reduce oxidative stress and lower your risk of several diseases.
- Can Help Fight Infections: Studies show that papaya seeds can destroy certain types of fungi and parasites.According to one test-tube study, papaya seed extract was effective against three different strains of fungi, including the specific pathogen responsible for causing yeast infections .Another small study found that drinking an elixir made from dried papaya seeds and honey was significantly more effective at killing intestinal parasites than a placebo.
- May Improve Digestive Health: Like other seeds, papaya seeds are a good source of fiber. Fiber moves through your gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to your stool to promote regularity.Studies have found that papaya seeds could help fight infections, promote kidney health, protect against cancer and enhance digestive health.
- Could have Anti-Cancer properties: Thanks to their impressive nutrient and antioxidant profile, some studies show that papaya seeds could have anti-cancer properties. Similarly, another test-tube study showed that black papaya seeds were effective in decreasing the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Although papaya seeds have been associated with various health benefits, some potential health concerns surround them. Eating too many could may be harmful.
Animal and test-tube studies have found that compounds in papaya seeds may reduce fertility and could have toxic effects on cells and DNA when administered in concentrated amounts.
- Papaya is a tree-like herb that can reach 16 to 33 feet in height.
- The papaya fruit is actually a large berry. It usually takes a spherical shape or the shape of a pear.
- It is a fast growing tree and can bear fruits within 6 months to 12 months from the date of planting the tree.
- The papaya is a sparsely branched tree. It has a single stem and the spirally arranged leaves are placed usually on the trunk top.
- The leaves of the papaya tree are large and green. Each leaf has 7 lobes. Because of their location on the tree, the leaves produce an umbrella-like structure.
- People usually eat only the brightly colored flesh of the papaya. However, that’s not the only edible part of the fruit.
- The flowers of the papaya tree have a sweet scent and they open up during the night. They depend on moths for pollination.
- Did you know that even the small black seeds of the papaya are edible? They actually taste pretty much like black pepper and there are countries where the papaya seeds are used as black pepper alternative.
- The fruit, when unripe, will have green skin. However, when the fruit becomes ripe, the skin will turn yellow-green or amber. The flesh of a ripe papaya has an orange-pinkish color.
- There are usually two variants of the papaya that are cultivated and sold throughout the world. The first one is the Hawaiian papaya and the second one is the Mexican papaya.
- Papayas are perennial plants. In the wild, they can live up to 20 years.
- Male plants will always produce pollens. They will never produce fruit. Female plants on the other hand will produce fruits whether pollinated or not.
- When not pollinated, female plants will produce fruits that are very small and not at all edible. They will produce edible fruits only when they are pollinated.
- There was a time when papaya was considered as an exotic fruit because it was found in Mexico and Central America. Today however, it is one of the most widely produced fruits across the world.
- There is an enzyme called papin in unripe green papaya fruit and even the papaya leaves. Apart from several medical benefits, this papin is known to be a natural meat tenderizer. Today, commercial meat tenderizers have papin in them.