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What do you look for in your daily intake of fruits and vegetables? Of the many superfruits out there, papaya is often overlooked and passed over due to the inconvenience of finding it at local stores or a lack of knowledge surrounding the fruit.
You may be surprised to learn that papaya is actually one of the best fruits you can put into your body. With its protein-digesting enzyme papain, it’s the perfect choice for improved gut health. It also provides that boost in antioxidants - specifically vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene - that you may be looking for in your fruit intake.
Maybe you already knew all this about papaya fruit, but most people don’t know about the health punch that papaya leaves as well as the seeds pack in. If you’ve eaten papaya in the past, you would probably scoop out the seeds and eat the fruit by itself, but by doing this you are missing out on the many health benefits they provide. The following are reasons why you should always eat your papaya seeds.
Papaya seeds have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine for improving vital functioning of the liver. Because of the cleansing benefits of papaya seeds, they can sometimes be used in people with excessive alcohol consumption.
Papaya as a whole aids in digestive health due to the powerful enzyme papain that it contains, and that goes for the seeds as well. Papaya seeds have a high amount of this enzyme, which supports a healthy digestive tract. If you’re dealing with indigestion or other well known digestive issues, a daily intake of papaya seeds can do wonders for keeping a healthy gut.
As well as aiding in every day digestion issues, papaya seeds can also help with cleansing your gut from parasites, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Similar to how papain helps digestion through breaking down undigested protein waste, it can also break down parasites and their eggs because it views them as excessive proteins and toxins. The enzyme carpaine is also present in papaya seeds, which is an anthelmintic alkaloid and known to help dispose of parasitic worms. With this said, you should still always consult a physician when fighting intestinal parasites.
There are plenty of health benefits that I could go into about papaya, but the seeds are one part of the fruit that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Many people just focus on the fruit, but there are many ways to use the leaf and seeds of the papaya for health, especially if you use them as supplements as part of a daily health regiment.
Lastly, if you’re wondering about the best way to include papaya seeds in your diet, they have an earthy taste to them so they are best used in eggs, salads, yogurts, or blended with smoothies. They can also be used as a black pepper substitute and freshly ground as such. They can be air dried for 2-3 days and then blended or you can simply pop a few in your mouth if you don’t mind the earthy taste.
So, next time you eat a papaya, save a scoop of those seeds for later. Your body will thank you.
Note: Papain, an enzyme in papaya, is safe in amounts commonly found in foods, and is likely safe in medicinal amounts, but should not be taken in excessive doses. Papain is not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it may cause birth defects or miscarriage. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming unripe papaya, as well as papaya seeds. Stop taking papain two weeks before scheduled surgery.