Christopher Columbus dubbed papaya as “the fruit of the angels” after discovering its luscious taste, soft butter-like consistency, and rich fragrance. The origins of this cerise-orange fruit can be traced back to Central America and Southern Mexico, from where its good name has traveled far and wide to reach every corner of the world. Once considered to be a rare and exotic find, papaya is presently grown in a number of tropical regions – including the Caribbean, Florida, and India – and is available all year round.
Even a brief glimpse of the nutrient-dense profile of papaya will let you know that its global acclaim is not for nothing. The fruit’s juicy tenderness is brimming with vitamin A, C, E, and K, and possesses antioxidant properties. It also contains magnesium, potassium, niacin, carotene, protein, fiber, and an enzyme called ‘papain‘ that accounts for a number of papaya’s treasured health benefits.
Not just the fruit pulp, but even papaya leaves, flowers, seeds, and skin are credited with some potent medicinal goodness. This, along with the fact that papaya is delectable to consume fresh and can be put to good use in a variety of culinary preparations, just goes to show that all this papaya-gushing within health circles is quite well founded. Some might consider papaya’s slightly bitter aftertaste to be its sole drawback, but a peek into its nutritional wealth can force them to reconsider.
Freshly cubed papaya makes for the perfect addition to your mixed-fruit bowl, Greek yogurt, and salads and can just as easily be incorporated into your smoothies, milkshakes, or cereal mix. Additionally, the latex derived from raw papaya is often used to tenderize meat due to its capability to break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. It is also used in the manufacturing of several cosmetic, skin, and hair care products. Papaya-flavored chewing gums are no surprise to anyone either.
Nutritional Value of Papaya
A brief glimpse of the nutrient-dense profile of papaya will let you know that its global acclaim is not for nothing. The fruit’s juicy tenderness is brimming with vitamin A, C, E, and K, and possesses antioxidant properties. It also contains magnesium, potassium, niacin, carotene, protein, fiber, and an enzyme called ‘papain‘ that accounts for a number of papaya’s treasured health benefits.
Nutritional value of papaya per 100 grams:
- Water – 88.06 g
- Energy – 43 kcal
- Protein – 0.47 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.26 g
- Carbohydrate – 10.82 g
- Fiber, total dietary – 1.7 g
- Sugars – 7.82 g
- Calcium, Ca – 20 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 21 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 10 mg
- Potassium, K – 182 mg
- Sodium, Na – 8 mg
- Vitamin C –60.9 mg
- Niacin – 0.357 mg
- Folate – 37 mcg
- Vitamin A – 47 mcg
- Vitamin K – 2.6 mcg
Precautions When Using Papaya
- Papaya is only fit to be eaten raw when the fruit is optimally ripe. You can tell that the fruit has matured sufficiently enough if the skin is yellow to orange-red in color, with possibly a few green spots, and the skin yields to mild pressure.
- As for unripe papaya, it is imperative to cook the fruit before consumption, especially in the case of pregnant women, since it contains a high percentage of latex, which can stimulate contractions.
- The enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids in papaya may irritate the skin, especially sensitive skin. Always apply a test patch on your inner elbow to confirm if papaya is suitable for your particular skin type.
Amazing Benefits of Papaya for Skin and Hair
Here are some beauty uses of papaya.
1. Fades Skin Spots
One of the most effective beauty benefits rendered by papaya is increasing cell turn over. This revitalizing property can be attributed to the papain enzyme and alpha hydroxy acids present in the fruit. These two skin-regenerative agents gently remove dead skin cells to bring new layers that are devoid of any sun damage to the surface and thereby help you get rid of those pestilent dark spots.
Enriched with vitamin A, C, and E along with several antioxidants, this skin-friendly fruit is the antidote to a wide array of skin problems, including black spots, acne spots, brown spots as well as dark elbows and knees. Papaya also helps tone your skin and improve your complexion as it contains natural hypopigmentation properties.
The active enzymes in this fruit also work as cleansing agents that help clear the skin of impurities. This is further compounded by the healing and revitalizing effect of vitamin C present in papayas, which helps protect skin cells from sun damage. Whether it be papaya juice, pulp, peel, or seeds, each one possesses impressive skin-healing potential that can be tapped in a number of ways.
- Rub the fleshy part of a thin slice of ripe papaya on your face, neck, hands, and legs. Allow it to dry, and then wash it off with cold water. Repeat this remedy 3 to 4 times a week.
- Another option is to make a face pack by mixing ½ cup of mashed ripe papaya and the juice of 1 lemon. Massage the mixture all over your face and neck. Leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Do this at least once a week.
- Also, you can blend 1 cup of green papaya and 1 teaspoon each of vitamin E oil, honey, and plain yogurt into a paste. Gently massage the paste onto your skin. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
2. Hydrates Skin
Owing to its rich water content, papaya supplies and seals moisture into dry rough skin patches and keeps your skin looking soft, smooth, and moisturized.
When blended properly, it can be used as an excellent face mask to hydrate your skin.
- Blend a ½ cup of ripe papaya into a fine paste. You can also add a little raw honey. Apply the paste all over your face and neck. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse it off carefully with cool water, and pat dry your skin.
- Include ripe papaya in your diet. You can enjoy this fruit as it is or blend it with other hydrating ingredients, such as watermelon and cucumber, to make smoothies.
3. Keeps Aging Signs at Bay
The vitamin A in papaya helps remove dead skin cells and keeps the skin soft and supple. The alpha hydroxy acids in it help dissolve dead skin cells to prevent signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. The vitamin C and E in papaya rejuvenate your skin to help you enjoy young-looking skin.
- Thoroughly mash a ½ cup of overripe papaya.
- Mix in a few drops of raw honey and 1 tablespoon of milk.
- Apply it on your face and neck.
- Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
- Use this face mask once or twice a week.
Also, eat papaya daily to nip premature aging in its bud.
4. Reduces Acne and Pimples
The papain enzyme in papaya has skin-cleansing properties that help get rid of clogged pores. This, in turn, prevents the occurrence of acne and pimples. Papaya also aids in reducing skin inflammation. In addition, the exfoliating effect of papaya removes dead skin cells to help unclog pores and reveal fresh, undamaged layers of skin.
- Extract the juice of a few raw papaya pieces. Apply the juice on the affected skin using a cotton ball. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Use this remedy once daily to get rid of acne and pimples.
- You can also simply rub a piece of raw papaya gently on the affected skin for 10 minutes. Then, wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily.
To prevent acne, pimples, and blemishes, include raw and ripe papaya in your diet.
5. Treats Wrinkles and Crow’s Feet
You can also use papaya to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and crow’s feet. Papaya has antioxidant properties that help reduce the appearance of crow’s feet around the outer corners of the eyes and wrinkles around the mouth or forehead.
In addition, the vitamin C and A in papaya help fight off free radicals that damage the skin’s collagen and elastin.
- Rub a small piece of raw papaya gently around the eye area for 5 minutes once daily to get rid of crow’s feet. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
- Another option is to mix 1 tablespoon of ripe papaya pulp with a little bit of olive oil. Apply it on the affected area and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash it off with cool water and apply a moisturizer. Repeat every other day.
6. Heals Cracked Heels
Cracked heels cause red or flaky patches, peeling skin, itchiness, bleeding from the cracks, and pain. Ripe papaya can treat cracked and dry heels, mainly due to its moisturizing properties.
- Mash 1 cup of ripe papaya into a smooth paste.
- Apply it on your freshly cleaned heels and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Wash your feet gently with some warm water and pat dry.
- Apply some olive oil and wear a pair of socks overnight.
- Do this daily before going to bed to enjoy soft and smooth heels.
7. Controls Dandruff
- Blend 1 raw papaya thoroughly until there are no lumps.
- Add ½ cup of yogurt and mix well.
- Apply this mixture on your scalp and hair for extra shine.
- Leave it on for 30 to 40 minutes, and then wash it off with cold water.
- Finally, shampoo your hair.
- Use this remedy once or twice a week to treat dandruff.
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