What do you see when you cut open a papaya fruit? A yellow, juicy flesh with numerous small black seeds in the center, right? People around the globe love to eat papaya but throw away the seeds, considering them useless and non-edible. What if we tell you that these seeds are small packets of nutritive value for everyone? Let’s delve into the details.
What are Papaya Seeds and where do they come from?
The discovery of this amazing fruit history backs in 1526, when a Spanish writer Oviedo discovered it from the coast of Panama and Colombia. After this discovery, there was abundance of papaya seeds and people started use them as herb. It was used for a long period in different parts of Central America and South America. Soon the hype led to Europeans discovering them and benefitting from amazing health benefits.
Papaya seeds were also used by Ancient Mayans who used to worship Papaya Trees and called them ‘Tree of Life’.
Today, papaya trees are mostly cultivated in Hawaii or Mexico. Papayas from Mexico weighs up to 10 pounds whereas in Hawaii, they are up to 1 pound only.
The proper way to use Papaya Seeds
Cut open a papaya to find seeds in the centre. On looking closer, you will find the seeds enclosed in a thin sac like pouches. It is recommended that seeds should be consumed after removing that layer as this allows the parasite fighting properties to reap. scoop out the seeds with the spoon, rinse thoroughly with cold water and spread them on a tray leaving them to dry. After all the moisture has dried up, shift them to a mortar and grind coarsely.
Interesting Facts about Papaya Seeds
There is an interesting fact about the taste of papaya seeds. When you first put the seed in your mouth you will find them bitter in taste but when as you keep on chewing, you will soon feel the zesty flavor just like a horseradish. wait there is more! The flavor of seeds differs from one fruit to another fruit. Moreover, the size of the papaya also affects the flavor of seeds.
Many people have different likeness for papaya seeds. Some consume the seeds along with the flesh of the fruit and some grind them after drying and use them in various recipes as seasonings. We would like to tell you that dry seeds have mild taste as compared to fresh seeds that have a stronger taste.
Although there are numerous benefits of papaya seeds but the recommended daily allowance for a person is only 1 teaspoon. The papaya seeds, when eaten in limited quantity, render tremendous health benefits on our body. as they are source of many health friendly nutrients and micro nutrients.
Benefits of Papaya Seeds
Rich in minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous, papaya seeds are a favourite among the food experts for a reason. Let’s look at some of the health benefits of papaya seeds are as follows:
1. Weight Management
The seeds contain fiber and fiber is the best and primary food component when someone wants to lose weight. The fibre content in them ensures a smooth bowel movement while taking cholesterol out of the body with it. People fighting against obesity, should consume such seeds. The fiber also controls the blood pressure level of our body which in turn helps to prevent many heart diseases.
2. Presence of Antioxidants
Papaya seeds are high in two compounds that is Polyphenol and Flavonoids. These two compounds act as antioxidants that fight against many chronic diseases as well as prevent the body from oxidative stress. Studies have shown that people who incorporated papaya seeds in their diet had a reduced risk of certain diseases caused by oxidative stress mainly heart disease, cancer and diabetes .
3. Maintaining Cholesterol and Preventing type 2 Diabetes
As papaya seeds have good amount of unsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid, they are very helpful in controlling the blood sugar level in type 2 diabetic patients. The papaya seeds also reduce the cholesterol levels in our bodies which makes them a heart friendly option as well.
4. Fight against Infections
According to some studies, papaya seeds are very effective for 3 strains of fungi, which also includes a specific pathogen that causes yeast infection. Papaya seeds also have the ability destroy certain types of parasites.
5. Reduction in Risk of Cancer:
Because of high nutritive values of papaya seeds, some studies prove that these seeds may reduce the risk of many cancers. Seeds especially black papaya seeds minimize the growth of prostate cancer cells.
6. Healthy Gut or Stomach
Specific studies shows that due to presence of proteolytic enzymes, papaya seeds kill many parasites or bacteria in our intestine. This maintains a healthy balance of gut bacteria in our body which is quite essential for a healthy body. Papaya seeds are most beneficial for people having any kind of intestinal parasites but these are not so beneficial for people living in tropics. Caprine, the substance present in papaya seeds, helps in destroying parasites in human intestines while keeping it healthy.
7. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Pains and cramps during periods are relieved if one consumes papaya seeds as they have relaxing effect on the muscle cramps.
8. Repair Damaged Skin
Papaya seeds are best for people who have damaged skin. These seeds are full of antioxidants that help in repairing damaged skin.
Side effects of overconsumption of papaya seeds
Just like cruciferous vegetables, papaya seeds have benzyl Isothiocyanate, present in them. This compound has many health benefits but when taken in controlled amount. Very large amounts can be dangerous, as some papaya seeds can be poisonous. These seeds can be toxic for many healthy cells and can have harmful effects on DNA also. Some studies conducted on animals have shown that if papaya seeds eaten in large amounts, it may lead to infertility in animals. But this study is still to be conducted on humans to study the effect.
Though papaya seeds are nutritious and they have numerous health benefits, which includes preventing cancers and also protecting kidneys, but moderation should be maintained as excess amounts of these seeds can be harmful and have negative effects on human bodies. Even DNA can be affected by the overdose of these.