Papaya is a highly nutritional and extremely delicious tropical fruit. It has a juicy and pulpy flesh, that is loved by many, and it has an exceptional nutrient content, including Vitamins A, C, B9, minerals like Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and the essential antioxidants, that not only help to maintain a healthy diet but also improves skin and heart health. People often tend to discard the papaya seeds while having the fruit’s pulp flesh, but experts and dieticians say that the seeds are not only edible but also are highly rich in health benefits. Though in some cases, there are certain adverse effects of papaya seeds, they can be surely enjoyed along with the fruit itself.
Nutrition Content in Papaya Seeds:
Papaya seeds are packed with essential micronutrients. They also contain high levels of important antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids, which are immensely beneficial to promoting your overall health. These antioxidants help to prevent oxidative stress and damage in your body tissues and strengthen your immune system which can fight chronic diseases caused by free radicals.
These seeds store rich amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid, that are able enough to decrease triglyceride and levels of LDL or bad cholesterols by 19% and 22% respectively, among people having type 2 diabetes (1).
Though the papaya fruit is fleshy and pulpy, its seeds are mainly fibrous. So, they are truly heart-friendly, as these seeds are beneficial in lowering high blood pressures and cholesterol levels and decreasing the high heart rates or palpitations in people who are sufferers of stroke or cardiac problems.
Intake of high fiber through papaya seeds helps to keep your absorption more efficient, and its low-calorie content reduces the chances of obesity or excess weight gain, and thus keeps your bowel regular.
Papaya seeds, besides containing a variety of essential nutrients, also provide the following health benefits:
1. Prevents Infections
Dieticians opine that papaya seeds are always beneficial for supporting your immune system, as it fights several types of disease-causing pathogens like bacteria, fungi, and other parasites. There is even evidence that, papaya seeds are helpful to prevent infections from several varieties of yeast. It has been found that papaya seed, when consumed with honey, is more effective to reduce intestinal infections from parasites like Giardia (2).
2. Protects Kidneys
Kidneys are one of the most vital organs of your body. It not only functions to purify your blood but also helps to remove excess wastes from a body like urea, in the form of urine. Proper kidney functioning is extremely necessary because, if the toxins and impurities do not get released from your body, it will cause the entire circulation system to collapse, resulting in heart failure. So, it is highly advisable to preserve the health and function of your kidneys.
A recent study proves the essential nutrient extracts that are found in papaya seeds can induce toxicity in your body and thus prevent kidney damage.
3. Fights Cancer
Studies show that rich antioxidants and high-profile nutrients present in papaya seeds contain anti-cancer properties. Before the development and spreading of cancer cells throughout the body, there are certain benign tumors or tissues that are found to have developed on the surface of your body.
The health extracts that are present in papaya seeds are found to prevent the development of such inflammations and protect against cancer development. Some recent studies have shown, that black papaya seeds, which are often discarded, are potential enough to prevent the growth of prostate and ovarian cancer cells. Though the above results are promising, additional studies are lacking to evaluate the effects of papaya seeds on cancer growth in the human body. Moreover, it is though proven that papaya seeds contain anti-cancer properties, cancer sufferers, or those with chances of developing such diseases, will not be able to fight cancer alone with papaya seed extracts.
4. Improves Digestion
Seeds are always beneficial to improve digestion health and bowel regulation. Papaya seeds are a good source of fiber. The fiber in these seeds helps to promote regularity as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract and adds bulk and roughage to your stool. Besides, it also helps in the proper absorption of nutrients in food, you eat into your bloodstream and thus promoting better immunity and providing better metabolism.
Recent studies reveal that a high intake of fiber in your regular diet can help to increase the frequency and easy rectal passage of stool in people with constipation. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can also result in a number of health benefits related to digestion, absorption, and circulation. Studies show that intake of foods rich in dietary fibers, can protect your immunity against inflammatory bowel diseases, relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids, prevent the formation of intestinal ulcers, and can also fight symptoms of colorectal cancers. (3).
Papaya Seeds May Not Be for Everyone:
As we now know that papaya seeds are highly nutritious and edible, there are also certain health concerns related to the frequent consumption of papaya seeds. Some of those are listed here:
Recent experiments regarding the concerns of having papaya seeds have been carried out on animals like rats. The results of these studies have shown that papaya seeds may reduce fertility in mammals.
For example, one study in America has found that consumption of high amounts of papaya seeds or their extracts on a regular basis, to monkeys, caused a condition called azoospermia, which has reportedly reduced the production of sperms in the semen (4).
Similar findings have been revealed in experiments carried out on guinea pigs, reporting that high levels of papaya seed extracts have been seen to reduce both sperm count and sperm motility. Surprisingly, researchers found that these occurrences were reversed within 45 days after stopping treatment (5).
Though these studies use a much higher dosage of papaya seeds, the normal consumption of such doses of papaya seeds in your regular diet can be much lower.
Human studies are needed to look at how consuming papaya in the amounts typically found in the diet may affect fertility.
High Consumption Is Harmful
Excessive consumption of papaya seeds can be truly fatal in some cases. Papaya seed extracts contain benzyl isothiocyanate, a compound also found in many types of cruciferous vegetables (6 Trusted Source).
Recent studies have found that this compound is rich in a number of health benefits, especially when it comes to the prevention of cancer. Some researchers suggest that it could be potentially harmful if consumed in large amounts (7).
For example, one recent test-tube study reveals that penetration of compounds like benzyl isothiocyanate directly into the bloodstream and individual cells can cause significant damage to DNA synthesis and can lead to genetic disorders. However, the experiments concluded that benzyl isothiocyanate, when injected to live rats, did not cause similar effects (8).
But a new UK-based rat study found that it had a toxic effect on healthy cells (9).
Notably, these were animal and cell studies looking at the effects of very concentrated doses of benzyl isothiocyanate. More research is needed to understand how the benzyl isothiocyanate found in a single serving of papaya seeds could affect human health.
Papaya is a highly nutritional and delicious fruit, but its seeds that are often discarded are just not nutritious, they are edible too. They contain high levels of essential micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide several health benefits. Though high consumption of papaya seeds may not be always permitted.
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