Papaya Is Yet Another Superfood You May Not Have Heard About
Our latest blog looks at a superfood that is not commonly talked about as anything other than an exotic fruit. Well there’s a lot more to the Papaya than meets the eye.
Papaya isn’t the most common fruit in supermarkets, and is therefore one of those imported ones that commands a higher price tag. But, we’re pleased to report that the flesh and seeds of this lumpy fruit are pretty healthy, and even have some benefits and side effects which you might not expect.
The first thing we’re obliged to say is that the papaya contains contain certain compounds known to work as a contraceptive or otherwise interfere with the human reproductive cycle, so don’t eat the fruit or the seeds if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. They also shouldn’t be fed to young children for digestive reasons. The best way to find out whether it’s safe to eat papaya is to consult your doctor for the most accurate up to date information.
Anyways, the great thing about papaya is the fruit (particularly the unripe fruit) contains high amounts of an enzyme known as papain, as do the seeds. This enzyme works great as a digestion aid for breaking down protein, so it’s a good way to augment your digestion if you eat meat. The less ripe the fruit is the more it contains, but we seriously stress readers stick with the ripe or over-ripe fruit.
The ripe fruit also contains a lot of beneficial vitamins and compounds – such as beta-carotene and lycopene, the famous carrot extracts that are said to be good for the eyes and the skin. It also contains vitamin C and vitamin E. The unique papain compound is also good for the skin too, so it’s a great all-rounder if you’re into keeping your skin clear.
Anyway, you might be wondering about these effects on reproduction – well, in India people have been eating papaya seeds for hundreds of years because it’s said to have an effect on both men and women as a contraceptive. It’s not fully understood, but studies on male animals have shown they affect sperm without having an effect on hormone levels like other forms of male birth control.
It’s safe to say we’d definitely take the use of it in traditional birth control with a pinch of salt – as it’s a theory not fully adopted into accepted science as of today, but in the future this may change as it’s studied more. For those interested in the animal tests, the results can be found here – draw what conclusions that you will from them, and remember that using the seeds should be done at your own risk. Again, consult your doctor for more information on this if you’re unsure.
Of course, the beneficial side effects of eating large sweet fruit are many, particularly on your digestion, and these should always be incorporated into your life as part of a balanced diet. Including papaya in your weekly or monthly shop is a good idea, but it’s also good to mix, match and pick a broad range of other fruits too.
But in any case, give it a try today – ripe papaya is certainly delicious and colourful in a fruit salad paired with melon and pear for instance. Add it to your shopping list next time you head out – local traditional grocers may also have more exotic or organic varieties to try.