Most people either scoop out fruit seeds and throw them away, leave them for wildlife, or add them to their compost. Yet the tropical, sweet papaya yields edible seeds that help remedy several health issues. Whether you scoop them from fresh fruit, buy them in bulk, or find a powdered form, papaya seeds may be the solution you’re seeking for a number of issues. Learn more about the benefits of papaya seeds and how you can incorporate them into your wellness regimen.
Papaya Seeds Improve Digestion
It’s easy to take digestive processes for granted…when it works well. But if you’ve ever experienced digestive upset–and let’s face it, everyone does at some point–you know it’s not always simple. Whether chronic or occasional, stomach upset or indigestion is often solved with antacids. It’s also important to know what you can do naturally to improve digestion.
Looking after your digestive enzymes can change your life. Papaya seeds contain the enzyme papain. Papain helps break down proteins so that your body can better absorb and use them.
A study published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters looked specifically at papaya seeds’ effect on digestion. The researchers ran a 40-day clinical trial of a name brand papaya seed preparation. Participants suffered from chronic gastrointestinal issues. The study showed that papaya seeds significantly reduced symptoms of constipation and bloating, but had less effect on heartburn. The researchers concluded that the seeds may be useful for those with IBS.
Helps Fight Infections
Another of the main benefits of papaya seeds is the presence of the alkaloid carpaine. This chemical compound attacks harmful gut bacteria and pathogens. Intestinal infections can occur under any condition, ranging from local outbreaks of E.coli, to deadly diseases contracted abroad. Dengue and Typhoid fevers are oft-cited infections to protect against, while in foreign countries where mosquitoes transmit these illnesses. The Costa Rica Star’ says that locals use it to help reduce the risks of infection.
Papaya Seeds and Cancer
Papaya flesh and seeds are believed to combat cirrhosis of the liver, renal deterioration, and the spread of cancerous cells. Isothiocyanates, another chemical component found within this fruit, work against tumors, and systemic damages. These effects can all be attributed to anti-inflammatory properties. That means the seeds may also help treat aches and arthritis.
Research has been done on the seeds’ effect on prostate cancer specifically. Researchers from the University of Virginia tested seeds from ripe papayas against seeds from unripe papayas. Their findings were published in the Journal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment. “The black seeds from papaya may have a potential to reduce growth of prostate cells; however, consumption of white seeds should be avoided as they may stimulate pre-existing prostate cancer.”
Vitamins and Minerals are Additional Benefits of Papaya Seeds
Hectic schedules, stress, and even workouts take their toll, depleting nutrients and energy reserves. Papaya seeds provide several vitamins and minerals that you need for optimal physical and mental well-being. These critical building blocks include:
- Vitamin A: strengthens and supports the skeletal system and cell structures, and helps prevent ocular diseases and infections
- Vitamin C: crucial to a healthy immune system; improves skin and tissue strength
- Thiamine: also known as Vitamin B-1, extracts energy from foods, and supports cellular growth and functions
- Magnesium: create recipes with papaya seeds, to maintain magnesium for mental health, treat or prevent muscle cramps, and build immunity
- Potassium: acts as an electrolyte, and vital for a healthy nervous system
- Calcium: essential to cellular, skeletal, nerve, cardiac, and muscular functions and strength
The seeds can be eaten raw, whole or crushed, providing a sharp peppery taste to smoothies, juices, salads, and soups. However, note that this amount of papain is not deemed safe for women who are trying to conceive, already pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Always consult a physician before making considerable changes to your diet. An integrative/functional medicine specialist can help you achieve the right balance of nutrients for your individual health needs.
Please feel free to contact me to schedule a telemedicine (phone) consultation or office consultation at our Integrative Medical Center in Metamora, Indiana. I will be glad to help you.
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