It is not for nothing that Christopher Columbus called it the fruit of the Angels.
Though unknown to many, the usage of pawpaw and its products for medicinal purposes is on the rise. And this is not limited to natural health practitioners alone, doctors as well as nurses also encourage its use.
The fact is that pawpaw, as a fruit, is being enjoyed for its sweetness across the world, but research is steadily showing that its delicious content is less important in comparison to its health benefits.
However, while the fruit is packed with nutritional value, other parts of pawpaw from its seeds to its peels, to its leaves and many more are also known to be very beneficial to our health.
As a matter of fact, it is reputed to carry the most health benefits of any fruit.
With a lot of hidden benefits for skin, health and hair, coupled with its deliciousness, pawpaw now ranks as one of the most beneficial gifts nature has blessed us with.
What are the health benefits of Pawpaw?
The benefits of pawpaw, which is also known as papaya are appreciated only as the knowledge of its nutritional content is made known.
Papaya contains dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, C and E. It also contains small amount of calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and niacine.
Pawpaw is very rich in antioxidant nutrients flavonoids and carotenes; very high in vitamin C plus A, and low in calories and sodium. It also contains the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Owing to above information, it becomes easy to understand why pawpaw is reputed amongst other fruits for being the most beneficial when it comes to health.
Here are some of the health benefits of pawpaw
1. It lowers cholesterol
Papayas are rich in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants that prevent cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Too much cholesterol build-up can block the arteries, causing a heart attack.
But with pawpaw, the building up of the cholesterol in the arteries, is made impossible.
2. It helps boosts immunity
It is important to realize that your immune system is your first line of defence against various infections that can make you really sick.
Amazingly, a single papaya can fulfil more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, making it great agent of a stronger immune system.
3. Great eye care
Papayas are rich in Vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein, which keep the mucous membranes in the eyes healthy, preventing them from damage.
Also, the Vitamin A in pawpaw helps prevents the development of age-related macular degeneration
4. Helps ease menstrual pain
Although this might sound a bit strange, it is true. Women who experience menstrual pain should help themselves to several servings of papaya because there is an enzyme in pawpaw called papain. This papain helps in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods.
5. Promotes hair growth
Apart from keeping the skin healthy, papayas are very effective for maintaining healthy hair. Vitamin A in them is utilized in the production of sebum, a compound that is crucial for keeping the hair smooth, shiny and moisturized.
6. Anticancer properties
Researchers have come to discover that papayas are effective against breast, pancreatic and other cancers.
Additionally, a recent experiment showed that papaya leaf extract contains anti-carcinogenic properties that are effective against tumor cells.
7. Anti-inflammatory effects
The enzymes present in papayas, especially the papain and chymopapain, reduce the inflammation in different parts of the body.
It's important to note that Papaya is classified as a harmful substance for pregnant women. It is considered as a ‘hot’ fruit.
There is a high concentration of latex in raw and semi-ripe papayas, which can cause uterine contractions and might lead to abortions.
It is, therefore, advisable for expectant mothers to avoid eating raw pawpaw.
Also, consuming large quantities of papaya 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.