This orange-colored tropical fruit is blessed with many healthy and refreshing nutrients including dietary fiber, vitamins, calcium, potassium, and other minerals that help fight cancer, reduce weight, treat cardiovascular diseases, and much more. Papaya is culturally famous for its nutritive as well as medicinal worth. Maybe that’s why Christopher Columbus once called this fruit the “fruit of the angels”.
You can get all your vitamin and nutrients fix with this exotic fruit. It’s soft like a mango, but extremely sweet and thirst-quenching to taste. It’s one of the fruits that can boost your body’s complete immune system, fight against severe infections, and improve metabolism. (1)
So it’s a good thing that this fruit grows all year round.
1. Papaya leaves can help relieve nausea
When you think of papaya, the juicy, butter-like orange-flesh of the fruit comes to mind. But what about the rest of it? The leaves of papaya are usually left behind when you’re bringing them home. But what you don’t know is that it has the power to effectively treat variety of conditions.
Nausea is characterized by the uneasy and sick-like feeling that is often followed before or after by vomiting. People suffering from nausea often experience food poisoning, gall bladder diseases, metabolism problems, heart attack, and many such conditions.
Nausea is not a disease, it’s a symptom of many diseases. Nevertheless, it must be treated immediately. The leaves of papaya help improve all digestive problems. A study conducted on Carica Papaya Leaf Juice concluded that the leaves have many antimalarial and antispasmodic properties.
This helps in increasing appetite, relieving constipation, and reducing the feeling of nausea in individuals. So drinking papaya leaf juice along with other fruit juices is an healthy alternative to treat nausea. You’ll also be interested to know that the leaf juice also helps enhance white blood cells and liver cells for optimal functioning. (2)
Key Takeaway: The green part of any fruit has its own nutritive value. Fortunately, the leaves of papaya has them in abundance for treating digestive symptoms such as nausea. It contains plenty of flavonoids, alkaloids, and active phyto compounds that contribute for proper health and well-being.
2. Papaya can treat Dengue Fever
Dengue is one of the most common diseases in the world. It spreads by serious mosquito bites. Since it’s a mosquito-borne disease, it can happen to anyone at anytime.
Dengue is bound and determined by high dengue fever, muscle pain, constant headache, weakness, and skin itchiness. If you’re suffering from a severe case of dengue, it can lead to bleeding and extreme fatigue.
To treat dengue fever, papaya leaves juice has positive health benefits. It drastically increases your body’s platelet count which reduces the serious effects of dengue fever and sometimes even dengue. (3)
Papaya leaves contain high amounts of enzymes that also fights flues, cold fever, and other such infections. They’re vitamin D rich which is an immune booster. Furthermore, studies also suggest that it is a powerful agent that can be consumed regularly to fight viral diseases.
Key Takeaway: Drinking papaya leaf juice regularly can have a positive outcome when you’re suffering from viral diseases such as dengue. Compared with other methods of treatment, numerous studies have shown that papaya leaf extract is a healthier and more natural way to curb the serious symptoms of dengue.
3. People Who Eat Papaya have a Better Chance at Fighting Cancer
Being one of the leading causes of death across the world, cancer doesn’t discriminate between the young and the old. With its severe effects, cancer can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices. (4)
To enhance your body’s immunity against cancer cells and other infections that could potentially link to cancer, you need a balanced diet of nutritive fruits such as papaya.
Papaya is alive with many vitamins such as vitamin A, B, and C. Also, it contains proteolytic enzymes that are anticancer, antimicrobial, and antibacterial in nature.
One study looked at the positive effects of papaya on preventing and treating cancer tumors and cancer-related infections. Papaya alters the rejuvenation of cancer cells. (5)
Another study concluded that papaya contains powerful nutrients that inhibit tumor cell growth. It also has multiple anti-tumor effects on the body which prevent harmful diseases like cancer, allergic disorders, and other inflammatory conditions. (6)
Key Takeaway: People who eat papaya can drastically reduce the risk of developing cancer. They also can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body by boosting the immune system. Eating papaya on a daily basis can increase your chances of living cancer-free whereas not eating papaya may lead to elevated tumor germination.
4. Papain Present in Papaya Enhances the Treatment of Arthritis
Arthritis, also called joint inflammation, comes with age. It isn’t a curable inflammation condition in the body, but it can be controlled with certain diets and therapies.
The nutritive papain and chymopapain enzymes present in papaya benefit greatly in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These former and latter forms of arthritis require powerful compounds to reduce symptoms like swelling, pain, stiffness, etc.
It is proven that papaya has many active components including the two enzymes I mentioned above, that help treat arthritis disorders. It works as an antioxidant and immunostimulant agent extensively used for such arthritic treatments. (7)
Moreover, the vitamin C and vitamin E content in papaya also helps relieve joint pain and swelling. So if you’re diagnosed with a minor or severe arthritic condition, it’s time to include the tropical papaya fruit in your daily diet.
Key Takeaway: For defending the body against arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, papaya is essential. It has healthy enzymes such as papain that help elevate the treatment, which is believed to dramatically affect the symptoms of arthritis in adults.
5. Papaya can Combat Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites are caused by the germination of intestinal worms. It can cause severe abdominal pain, acidity, bloating, cramps, and sometimes even nausea.
If you don’t already know, intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, feed off other tiny organisms in the body to survive. This can cause anemia, extreme weight loss, insomnia, and many such unexplainable diseases.
Papaya has great amounts of anti-amoebic compounds and digestive enzymes that make intestinal parasites unfavorable to survive. They fight against such intestinal worms to keep your digestive system healthy. (8)
More often than not, people suffering from extreme immune disorders experience compromised intestinal parasites, so opting for a natural way to reduce such symptoms is most effective. Papaya even promises a healthy dose of natural dietary fiber which helps to get rid of intestinal worms quickly. (9)
It is advised that patients suffering from intestinal parasites should consume papaya 30 minutes before or after meals. This helps lower the risk of vomiting, if it happens. Also, it strengthen your immune system to digest naturally.
Key Takeaway: Avoiding fruits that can have a serious impact on your health has consequences. Papaya is an easy to eat and delicious tropical fruit with nutrients that alleviate intestinal parasites in the body. It helps restore your intestinal system to its most optimal state, which makes it difficult for intestinal worms to survive.
6. Beta-carotene in papaya can alleviate diseases such as asthma
Papaya contains powerful beta-carotene and high vitamin A levels. Both of these compounds are essential for treating allergic diseases including asthma, studies suggest. (10)
It is also concluded that dietary oxidants play an important role in reducing the level of inflammation that causes asthma. This study was conducted on 433 school children with asthma and 537 healthy individuals. The focus on vitamin A on asthmatic patients drastically affected their respiratory function, in a positive way.
It is already known that treating any inflammatory disorder with papaya is a good choice. If you want a more natural remedy for treating asthma and related allergic diseases, prep your meals with papaya.
Key Takeaway: The nutrient-rich papaya will make you feel good about your health. It is loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, two nutritive compounds that are actually good for you. When you’re dealing with something as delicate as asthma, only natural remedy will do.
7. Papaya Offers Encouraging Skin Lightening Properties
You must have seen many face packs and lotions boasting of papaya extract for glowing and healthy skin. Have you wondered what a big difference it would make if you could daily eat papaya for skin care?
To take care of your skin means to reduce wrinkles, acne, pimples, blemishes, dryness, and peeling of skin. For some people, it also means skin lightening effects. And the only way to treat all these conditions in the most effective manner is by destroying any remaining dead cells from the skin.
The most common causes that lead to skin darkening sun damage, skin pigmentation due to chemicals, hormonal imbalance, medication, and aging.
You need non-toxic products to encourage skin lightening properties, but trusting cosmetic products is always challenging. A safer and more natural alternative is papaya. The presence of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other nutritive enzymes in papaya enhance the elasticity of the skin. This helps in skin lightening. (11)
Key Takeaway: Papaya acts as a revitalizing agent for healthy skin. It destroys dead skin cells and penetrates deep into the skin to purify. Eating papaya everyday will do wonders for your skin. You can lightly scrub papaya extract on your skin once or twice a week for faster results.
8. Eating Papaya Regularly May Lower Your Risk of Developing Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an age-related disorder that leads to blurred vision and in severe cases, blindness. It’s a serious eye disease where the ocular cells become self-destructive causing vision-related disturbances.
The intake of dietary nutrients such as carotenoids presents in papaya can help reduce the presence of macular degeneration. This supports the renal tissues which play an important role in macular degeneration. Due to the antioxidant properties of carotenoids, macular pigmentation can be balanced effectively.
The antioxidants also protect the eye from photochemical reactions that encourage macular degeneration in older adults.
The many vitamins and minerals present in papaya also have a positive effect on delaying macular degeneration. (12)
Key Takeaway: Papaya has shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration by enhancing macular pigmentation in adults. Macular degeneration is a serious age-related condition that often leads to permanent blindness, which is why consuming 3 or more servings of papaya daily can maintain optimal macular levels.
9. Papaya Increases Bone Mineral Density which Boosts Bone Health
A deficiency in vitamin K is directly linked with reduced bone health. This caused bone fracture, bone infections, rickets, and bone cancer.
To strengthen the bone marrow, you need a high intake of nutritious fruits including papaya. The carotenoids and vitamins present in papaya provide dramatic benefits for bone health in an healthy individual. One study suggested that it is most suitable for post-menopausal females as well. (13)
Moving forward, the many antioxidant and haemopoietic properties of papaya leaves help accelerate bone mineral density. It also fights against the oxidative damages arising in the person’s bone marrow. (14)
The high dose of vitamin K in the body encourages calcium absorption which is good for optimal bone health. (15)
Key Takeaway: The vitamins and carotenoids present in papaya promote healthy bone mineral density. They also fight against bone marrow damage effectively. If you want lower risk of bone infections that lead to fracture, cancer, and other disorders, a daily diet of papaya including papaya leaf juice is essential.
10. Papaya Possess the Potential to Influence Human Growth Hormone
For optimal cell production and cell regeneration, human growth hormones are essential. It is produced in the pituitary gland which helps regulate optimal muscle and bone growth, metabolism, and body fluids.
Simply put, you need healthy human growth hormones to survive.
Also, they’re essential for slowing down the aging process. When you can nourish that one hormone that stimulates tissues, bone, and muscles for better health, you can prevent age-related conditions drastically. This also aids in maintaining proper body weight, increasing exercise capacity, and strengthening bone and muscle density. You’d also be surprised to know that human growth hormone also influences the treatment of AIDS and HIV-related diseases. (16)
Papain that is present in high content in papayas offer a very unique property to break down protein. This leads to arginine production which has a direct positive influence on the germination and stimulation of human growth hormones. (17)
Key Takeaway: Consuming papaya on a daily basis is mandatory to filter out possible human growth hormone related diseases. The papain enzyme present in papayas are very important for overall body stimulation. Plus, they lower the risk of developing age-related diseases.
11. Papaya is Highly Nutritious for Diabetics
If you think sweet fruits have a high sugar content, think again. The nutritional value of papaya includes a low sugar content, making it the ideal healthy fruit for patients with diabetes.
As you already know, diabetes leads to spiked blood sugar levels. This happens due to insufficient insulin production. There are many other causes of diabetes, but the lack of insulin in the body is the most common type.
For enhancing the ability to produce more insulin and strengthen the immune system, the vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin C are essential. Papaya also contains a good amount of dietary fiber and antioxidants that help alleviate extreme blood sugar levels.
Moving forward, papaya also contains trace amounts of minerals, iron, calcium, and magnesium that help prevent severe symptoms of diabetes. It supports the pancreas to produce more insulin and it also slows down the germination of type 2 diabetes in healthy individuals. (18)
Key Takeaway: Papayas can combat diabetes, boosting the function of the pancreas to produce more insulin in the body. High blood sugar levels and lack of insulin response can cause major types of diabetes. And one of the most effective ways to treat it is eating papayas daily.
12. Eating Papaya Daily can Help Relieve Severe Constipation Problems
Any kind of digestive problem, primarily constipation can cause severe discomfort and often lead to surgery.
The symptoms of constipation include lower abdominal pain, hard stools, physiological distress, and infrequent bowel movements. (19)
If you want to know what can cause constipation, one of the major reasons is lack of sufficient fiber and water intake. A low fiber diet is the main cause of constipation. Which is why you need fiber-rich fruits to consume as a part of your daily diet.
Papaya is a fiber and water rich fruit, that’s why you’ll hear your doctor tell you eat papayas for immediate constipation relief. Papayas help you pass stool regularly without straining or any distress. For a healthy digestive tract, papayas are extremely important. The papain enzyme present in papayas alleviate any metabolism distress and ensure optimal intestinal functions.
With the help of a stable papaya diet and some daily exercise, you can experience a sense of relief when passing stools on a daily basis.
You’d also be interested to know that magnesium plays an important role too for functional constipation problems, especially among women. A low magnesium diet leads to severe constipation problems where the intake of dietary fiber is already very low. Papayas contain sufficient amount of magnesium as well for a healthy diet. (20)
11 Tempting Papaya Recipes
There’s enough evidence to prove why papayas are so great for your health. And when it comes to being healthy, making the right diet choice is as important as exercising. Those who incorporated healthy fruits such as papaya into their daily lifestyle are fitter, healthier, and more active than those who don’t.
Eating papayas daily is mindful eating. This nutritive fruit has the ability to lift your mood, boost your metabolism, and strengthen your muscles and bones. It even curbs your cravings for other fats and sweets, ensuring that you stay hydrated and refreshed all day long. Keeping that in mind, there will come a time when you ask yourself the puzzling question of what to cook with papaya?
Other than smoothies, there’s tons of different recipes you can cook with papaya. You can freeze some delicious popsicles, make a tangy papaya dip, or bake fluffy muffins. To know what those recipes are, take a look below!
1. Savory Papaya Salsa
This spicy papaya salsa recipe doesn’t only look appealing but tastes delicious too!
1 - papaya
1/4 - medium onion, minced
1 - lemon juice
1 - green pepper chili
Cilantro to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice the papaya flesh after removing the seeds.
Add the minced onion, lemon juice, pepper, and cilantro with the diced papaya.
Refrigerate after as long as you serve.
2. Healthy Papaya Muffins with Banana and Coconut
These delicious and airy muffins will ensure your breakfast is light and healthy.
1 1/2 cups - flour
1 tsp - baking powder
1 tsp - baking soda
1/2 tsp - salt
3/4 cup - papaya, mashed
3/4 cup - banana, mashed
3/4 cup - sugar
1/2 cup - vegetable oil
1 tsp - vanilla extract
1/3 cup - coconut flakes
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Add the bananas, papaya, sugar, vanilla extract, and oil in another bowl.
Mixture the flour mixture with the fruit mixture. Whisk well until smooth.
Add the batter into the cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sprinkle the batter with coconut flakes.
Set timer to 20 minutes and bake until lightly browned. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle some leftover coconut flakes on top of the baked muffins.
3. Sweetened Papaya Bars
It’s a sweet and savory dish to lighten up your memorable feast.
1/2 cup - almond flour or all-purpose flour
2 tbsp - maple syrup
1/4 cup - coconut oil
1 cup - shredded coconut
1/4 tsp - salt
1 - egg, white
1/2 cup - honey
1/4 almond flour
1/4 tsp - salt
3/4 cup - papaya puree
2 tsp - lemon juice
Powdered sugar for topping
Add coconut oil and almond flour in a medium-heat pan. Whisk lightly.
Add the maple syrup, coconut flakes, salt, and almond flour in a skillet.
Remove from heat. Combine with egg white.
Spread the mixture on the pan. Set aside for 2 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for up to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
For filling, prepare 2 papayas and blend in a processor.
Transfer puree in a bowl to add eggs, flour, lime juice, salt, and honey. Whisky lightly until smooth.
Make the bars ready to serve. Store in refrigerator.
4. Tangy Papaya Dip
Your dinner spread just got a little healthier with this spicy papaya dip.
160 grams - papaya
1/2 tbsp - ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 - lemon juice
1 tbsp - honey
2 tbsp - water
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the papaya, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Keep tightly packed in a cool place. Serve with toast, fried chicken, or potato fries.
5. Papaya and Coconut Popsicles
This recipe will take refreshing popsicles to a whole new level.
3 cups - papaya, cubed
1/2 cup - orange juice
3 tbsp - agave nectar
1 can - coconut milk
1/2 - lemon juice and zest
Blend papaya, orange juice, 1 tbsp agave nectar in a blender. Transfer into a small bowl.
Blend coconut milk, 2 tbsp agave nectar, lemon juice and zest in a blender. Transfer into another bowl.
To make the popsicles, add 1 1/2 tbsp of papaya layer into each mold. Freeze for about 15 minutes. Then add coconut layer and freeze for another 10 minutes. Repeat process until the popsicles are complete.
Then, freeze finished popsicles for 6 hours until completely solid.
Remove from popsicle molds using warm water. Serve immediately.
6. Papaya Cake with Turmeric
Whip up a delicious and fluffy cake without the added guilt.
1/2 cup - almond meal
1/2 cup - oats
11 - dates
2 tbsp - carob powder
1 tbsp - vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup - cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 cup - coconut oil
1/8 cup - water
1/2 - papaya
1/3 - coconut nectar
1 tsp - turmeric powder
1 tbsp - vanilla extract
Add almond meal, oats, dates, and vanilla extract into a blend. Blend until smooth.
In two bowls, divide the mixture and add carob powder only in one.
Add the vanilla dough on top of the carob dough. Create a subtle marble effect.
Add the cashews, coconut oil, water, papaya, turmeric powder, and vanilla extract into a blender. Place all the mixture on top of the dough.
Let the mixture cool for 5 hours in the refrigerator.
7. Fresh Papaya Boats
A healthy tropical dish that you can devour for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
1 - seeded papaya
1 cup - banana ice cream
1 - skinned kiwi, chopped
1/2 cup - cherries
1/4 cup - blueberries
3 tbsp - almonds
1 tbsp - chia seeds
1/2 tbsp - hemp seeds
Granola to serve
Assemble the seeded papayas, fill in the empty centres with banana ice cream, nuts, berries, or kiwi. Serve each papaya boat with different fruits and seed combinations.
8. Lime and Papaya Jam
Liven up your breakfast with tea moment with this savory papaya jam from Masala Herb.
1 kg - papaya pieces
600 grams - sugar
3 - lemons
Add papaya pieces, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside for 12 hours. Stir the mixture once every few hours.
Then, add the mixture in a pot and stir continuously on low heat for 25 minutes.
Bring to a boil on high heat.
Using a masher, transform mixture into thick jam consistency.
Store the cooked jam in mason jars or glass jars. Store in a cool place.
9. Thai Pork Brown Rice Bowls with Papaya
Zero-effort meal for a busy weekend. Enjoy this 30 minute recipe that is so easy and delicious to make.
1 cup - brown rice
2 tsp - olive oil
3 tsp - tamari
1/2 tsp - ground ginger
4 - garlic cloves
1/2 lb - pork, sliced
1 - lime juice
1/4 cup - cilantro, chopped
1 lb - papaya, cubed
Cook brown rice according to packaging instructions.
Add oil and pork in a non-stick skillet. Cook on medium-high heat on both sides until brown. Add tamari, garlic, and ginger to cook for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and cilantro to mix.
Serve with cubed papaya and brown rice. Mix well and garnish with cilantro and lemon juice, if needed.
10. Papaya and Lime Soup with Strawberries
This is a family-friendly dessert recipe with delicious papaya, lime, and strawberry blend.
2 - large papayas
2 1/2 cup - sugar syrup
1/4 cup - lemon juice
1 pint - strawberries
Sage for garnishing
To make sugar syrup: combine 2 cups of sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Set aside for 2-3 minutes.
Cut papaya into cubes. In a food processor, blend cubed papayas with strawberries. Transfer into a small bowl and mix well with 1 1/2 cups of water, 3/4 cup of sugar syrup, and lemon juice.
Refrigerate mixture for up to 2 hours. Serve with sliced strawberries and sage, if desired.
11. Vegan Papaya Mousse
In love with vegan food? Try this scrumptious papaya mousse served with fresh nuts.
2 - small papayas, sliced
15 - cashews, soaked overnight
1 tbsp - chia seeds
4 - dates, pitted
1/4 tsp - cardamom, grounded
Salt to taste
Add papayas, cashews, chia seeds, dates, and cardamom powder into a blender. Blend until smooth. If you desire a thicker consistency, you can add some almond milk to taste.
Refrigerate mixture in small bowls. Serve fresh with your choice of toppings.
That’s A Wrap
Now you know why fruits like papaya are culturally popular for its fragrant and healthy benefits. Your body needs papaya as it is a good source of healthy vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals. You can eat it as a fruit, as a smoothie, or cook as a vegetable for a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals.
Papaya extract is also used for producing several skin cosmetic products such as face wash, moisturizers, and face packs. So it has beauty benefits as much as health. The fact that papayas are so easy to incorporate into your diet, prepping them for immediate consumption isn’t a hassle at all! You can blend them with other nutritive fruits such as strawberries, banana, or kiwi. Or you can prepare delicious desserts using freshly blended papaya puree.
If you’re dead serious about adding papayas to your diet, you need to know its health benefits especially well. So next time you experience minor symptoms such as nausea, fever, vomiting, headache, constipation, high blood pressure, etc. you might be able to curb the effects right then by eating fresh papayas.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.