Papaya, the long, curvy, yellow coloured fruit that has tiny black pepper-like seeds in it, evokes different emotions in different people. The very sight of papaya on the dining table might not be very appetising for some while some take it as ‘prescribed by the doctor’ whereas some see it as ‘nanima ke nuske’. There are also those who simply love it for its taste and those who take it religiously for its laxative properties and other innumerable health benefits. This fruit could very well be the best thing to have happened to mankind. Plus, it has no side effects.
Some doting mothers and housewives pack papaya in the lunch box as a snacking item for their husbands and little champs. There is a sad part though as they miss out on something really special.
Most of us discard papaya seeds while slicing papaya. What benefit could the pungent black seeds have? The real taste lies, we believe, in the flesh of the papaya and not in its most unpalatable seeds. Little do we know that the papaya seed is a complete powerhouse of nutrition and offers protection from various ailments.
Papaya, with its origins in Central America, was called the ‘fruit of angels’ years ago by Christopher Columbus. It’s an all-season fruit, ripe and yellow, added sometimes in curries to give that unique flavour. You can also use it as a face pack or for digestive, nutritive and medicinal purposes.
But one of the best parts of a papaya is its seeds that are a traditional herbal medicine having multiple benefits – anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and analgesic and used to treat stomach ache and ringworm infections.
Clearly, papaya seeds have as many medicinal qualities as the fruit. So Grandma was right when she ate papaya seeds to stay in the pink of health. The seeds help ward off infections through their antibacterial properties and cure numerous diseases such as dengue, typhoid and piles.
Next time, when you slice a papaya, do not throw away the seeds as you will miss out on tons of health benefits.
Seven Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds
Here are 7 reasons why you should include papaya seeds in your regular diet.
- Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Parasitic Nature
Papaya seeds have an alkaloid ‘Carpaine’ that is known to eliminate amoebic parasites and bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus which infect the gastrointestinal tract.
In their book, ‘Genetics and Genomics of Papaya’, Ray Ming and Paul H. Moore say that papaya seeds have been used for centuries in many countries as a suitable medicine to destroy parasitic worms. Recent laboratory studies confirmed that extracts of papaya seeds can effectively kill helminth, a parasitic worm. (Rohan Kermanshai, et al)
In order to expel parasitic worms from your body, consume a half teaspoon of papaya seeds with warm water in the morning, ideally before breakfast. Follow it up two hours later with 50ml castor oil and 350ml milk on an empty stomach. Pursue this regimen for 2 to 4 days to get best results.
An elixir made of air-dried Carica Papaya seeds and honey proved to be effective in removing parasitic worms in children in a study conducted on 60 children. (Okeniyi JA, et al)
- Anti-Cancerous Benefit
The seeds of papaya have ‘Benzyl isothiocyanate’ that halts the growth of cancerous cells and tumours. This proves to be of great advantage when it comes to treating cancer of the colon, lung, prostate, breast, leukemia, and many more cancers. Papaya seeds also have high levels of fatty acids such as oleic and palmitic acid that are believed to safeguard our body from cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory Power
Papaya seeds help combat inflammation of the joints, thereby soothing arthritic pain, swelling and redness and making body movement easy and flexible. This proves to be very useful for ageing men and women and those who are bogged down by aching joint pains.
Papaya seeds are blessed with nutrients that aid in healing liver cirrhosis. To enjoy the benefits, simply crush or grind five to six papaya seeds and take them with lime juice for a period of thirty days. At the same time, eat the seeds on a regular basis in order to detoxify the liver and keep liver-related diseases at bay.
Kidneys are the body’s best filter mechanism; they remove waste and toxins from the body and maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. Papaya seeds protect the kidneys and play a role in preventing toxin-induced renal failure.
Instead of consuming the usual medicines such as paracetamol to reduce fever, mix crushed papaya seeds with vinegar and apply it on the skin for optimum results. Papaya seeds are so full of nature’s healing qualities that you should include them in your regular diet and not just the enjoy the fruit.
- Improves Digestion
Dried and crushed papaya seeds, like pepper, can be sprinkled over food. This adds enzymes to your food and improves your overall digestion.
Fruit Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing
Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1 papaya
- 2 kiwi
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- 1 pear
- 1 apple
- 2 TBS papaya seeds
- 1/4 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 1 TBS honey
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- Cut papaya in half and scoop out seeds. Save for dressing. Cut off peel and cut into cubes. Peel kiwi and slice. Cube apple and pear and add strawberries. Toss all together with dressing.
- Blend all dressing ingredients together in blender,including papaya seeds, drizzling oil a little at a time at end.
Serves 4 as a side dish
Nutritional Profile of Fruit Salad with Papaya Seed Dressing
Next time around, don’t mindlessly throw out the papaya seeds. Use it regularly in your diet and enjoy its goodness. After all, good things come in small packages!
Do you have more recipes on using papaya seeds in Indian dishes? We’d love to try out your recipes so do share them in the comments below.
‘Genetics and Genomics of Papaya’, Ray Ming and Paul H. Moore (Pg.392), Springer Science & Business Media, 13-Aug-2013