“Pawpaw is a type of fruit, sweet like sugar, yellow like fanta, everybody likes pawpaw”. This is a nursery rhyme we sang back then in our nursery schools. Pawpaw is among the popular fruits that are available in Nigeria. Its botanical name is Carica papaya , it is called Okwulu oyibo in Igbo, Gwanda in Hausa and Ibepe in Yoruba. Pawpaw have shapes similar to pears and can be up to 20 inches (51 cm) long. Its skin is green when unripe and orange when ripe, while the flesh is yellow, orange or red.The fruit also has many black seeds, which are edible but are bitter.
Pawpaw is a fruit that is fortified with a lot of nutrients. One small size (152g) contains the following
- Calories: 59
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
- Folate (vitamin B9): 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 11% of the RDI
- Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E and K.
- Healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids — particularly one type called lycopene.
Do you know that your body absorbs these beneficial antioxidants better from papayas than other fruits and vegetables ? Yes it does! Due to the combination of these nutrients in pawpaw it has intriguing health benefits which are listed below.
1. It helps to improve digestion
Pawpaw contains an enzyme, papain, which make protein easier to digest. The high content of fiber makes papaya to be considered as a remedy for constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In a research conducted, people who took a papaya-based formula for 40 days had significant improvement in constipation and bloating . The seeds, leaves and roots have also been shown to be useful in the treatment of ulcers in animals and humans.
2. It helps for good skin health
Do you need a healthy and well toned skin? why not incorporate pawpaw into your diet. Besides keeping your body healthy, papaya can also help your skin look more toned and youthful. Excessive free radical activity is associated with wrinkling, sagging and other skin damage that occurs with age .The high content of vitamin C and lycopene in papaya protect your skin and may help reduce signs of aging.
3. It boost the immune system
Pawpaw has high content of vitamin c, vitamin A and lycopene. These antioxidants mops up free radicals thereby boasting immunity. Your immunity system protects you against various infections that can make you really sick. A single papaya contains more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, making it great for your immunity.
4. It aids weight loss
Pawpaw is very good for those looking to lose weight due to its low content in calories. The fiber content in papaya gives you a feeling of fullness and also clears your bowel movement making your weight loss regime easier.
5. It is good for healthy eyes
Papaya is rich in Vitamin A which helps protect your vision from degenerating. Sight is a very vital sense which nobody wants to lose due to diseases like age-related macular degeneration, and eating papayas always will ensure that you do not see a day where you cannot see.
6. It protects against arthritis
Chronic inflammation is at the root of many diseases, and unhealthy foods and lifestyle choices can drive the inflammatory process. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease which ususally affects the joints.It can be a really debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly. Eating papayas are good for your bones as they have anti-inflammatory properties along with Vitamin C which helps in keeping various forms of arthritis at bay. A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that people who consumed foods low in Vitamin C were three times more likely to have arthritis than those who did not. Studies show that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like papaya help reduce inflammatory markers .
7. It reduces menstrual pain
Pawpaw contains an enzyme called papain which helps in regulating and easing flow during menstrual periods. Women who are experiencing menstrual pain should help themselves to several servings of papaya.
8. It helps to relieve stress
After working hard for the whole day, it would not be a bad idea to come home to a plate a papayas. The wonder fruit is rich in several nutrients like Vitamin C and lycopene which can keep you free from stress. According to a study conducted in University of Alabama, found that 200 mg of Vitamin C can help regulate the flow of stress hormones in rats.Free radicals are reactive molecules created during your body’s metabolism.