Papaya is one of the best fruits with an excellent nutritional profile. It offers the most amazing health benefits for the body, from skin care to cancer benefits. And it’s not just the fruit, even a spoonful of papaya seeds a day will benefit your body immensely.
Most people just set the papaya seeds aside or throw them away, but you may stop doing that after reading this article.
The tiny seeds are actually edible and have a strong flavor, like a cross between mustard and black peppercorns. In fact, they can be used as a substitute for black pepper.
The seeds are rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds, protein, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They also exhibit strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic and antibacterial effects.
How to Eat Papaya Seeds
There are various ways of eating papaya seeds. Some of the ways include:
- Raw: The simplest option is to scoop out the seeds directly from the cut fruit and eat them along with the fruit.
- Pounded: You can also collect all the seeds from a papaya and pound them using a mortar and pestle. The pounded seeds can be stored in a small jar in the refrigerator for about a week. You can also store them in the freezer so they last longer, and thaw them out before using them in salads, smoothies or soups.
- Dried and ground into powder: Another option is to dry the seeds in the sun or using a food dehydrator. When dried, grind them into a powder form using a food processor. The powdered papaya seeds can be added to salads, smoothies and soups. You can also use powdered papaya seeds to season steak, chicken or pork before you cook the meat.
How Much of the Papaya Seeds to Eat in a Day
As papaya seeds are very rich in antibacterial properties, you must not consume them in excess or else it can cause side effects like diarrhea.
Limit yourself to no more than a total of 1 to 2 tablespoons of papaya seeds in any form each day. Actually, it is best to start with a small amount and gradually increase to 2 tablespoons.
Note: Papaya seeds work as a natural form of contraceptive, so avoid them completely if you are planning to conceive. Also, pregnant women and people with latex or papain allergies should avoid eating the seeds as well as the fruit.
Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds
Now that you know how to prepare and eat the papaya seeds, it’s time to learn about the health benefits you’ll gain.
1. Improves Digestive Health
The high amount of digestive enzymes in papaya seeds helps break down protein fibers and aids the natural digestion process.
As the seeds have antibacterial properties, they are effective against E.coli, salmonella and staphylococcus infections. Thus, the seeds can help combat food poisoning by killing the pathogens in your system that are causing the problem.
Also, the seeds help normalize the acidic environment in the intestinal tract, which is important for a healthy digestive system.
Eating 1 tablespoon of papaya seeds daily is all that you need to keep your digestive system working properly.
2. Fights Intestinal Parasites
Papaya seeds are rich in proteolytic enzymes that can help get rid of intestinal parasites. This enzyme helps break down protein in the body as well as the parasites and their eggs.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food reports that air-dried Carica papaya seeds are effective against human intestinal parasites without significant side effects. However, large-scale intervention studies are still needed.
Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of papaya seed powder into 1 cup of warm milk or water. Drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for 3 days to help clear a parasite infection.
3. Prevents Cancer
The phenolic and flavonoid compounds in the seeds offer high antioxidant properties that help slow the growth of tumor cells.
The phytonutrient isothiocyanate in papaya seeds, in particular, helps inhibit cancer as it reduces the activation of carcinogens and increases their detoxification.
The seeds can have potential anticancer effects against a broad range of tumors, including cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate.
4. Reduces Inflammation
As with the papaya fruit, its seeds have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help get rid of inflammation in the body.
The enzymes—papain and chymopapain – are key to reducing inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis, joint pain, gout and asthma.
If you suffer from inflammation due to arthritis or gout, eat at least 1 tablespoon of papaya seeds daily.
5. Detoxifies the Liver
Papaya seeds also help detoxify your liver and kidneys. They contain proteolytic enzymes that help reduce digestive load on the liver.
In fact, the seeds are considered beneficial for managing cirrhosis of the liver.
- Grind some fresh papaya seeds to extract 1 tablespoon of juice.
- Mix 10 drops of fresh lemon juice in it.
- Drink this juice once or twice daily for 1 month to detoxify your liver. It can also help prevent and heal liver cirrhosis.