By Bella Hardy
The papaya is a native tree to Costa Rica, Southern Mexico, and Central America, and was grown among ancient civilizations such as the Mayans and Incas. While most people know how healthy the fruit is, few seem to realize just how beneficial papaya seeds truly are, especially considering their low cost and abundant nature.
The papaya fruit contains numerous vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes, and extracts from papaya are commonly used to help with digestion.
The seed of the papaya fruit, however, may contain even more beneficial properties.
What Are the Benefits Of Papaya Seeds?
Papaya seeds have been used for many thousands of years to help treat intestinal parasites, an important function considering how much damage such organisms can do within the human body.
Intestinal parasites may cause symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, anxiety, weakness, and irritability.
Compounds present in the papaya seeds have anti-helminthic and anti-amoebic properties, allowing them to kill intestinal worms and parasites.
Papaya seeds can also be used to maintain digestive health by consuming small quantities. Within the seeds, papain are proteolytic enzymes and are believed to help break down the protein coating that forms around cancer cells, allowing the body to get rid of cancerous cells.
More research is needed to confirm how papaya seeds may be used to help fight cancer, but early indications are intriguing.
Because the seeds are strong, some side effects have been reported, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and headache.
These symptoms may also be the effects of parasites dying off, and care should be taken when using the seeds for this purpose.
Pregnant women should avoid papaya seeds, as there is currently insufficient research to show what adverse health effects, if any, may occur from ingesting the seeds among pregnant women.
Papaya seeds have been known to interfere with some blood thinning medications, as well as other medications, and medical supervision should be sought if you are currently being treated for any other health condition on a regular basis. The difference in using the seeds to treat parasites and for maintaining intestinal health is in the amount used.
How Many Seeds Are Healthy to Consume?
Depending on how you are using the seeds, the amount will vary.
You can directly eat the seeds from papaya by chewing them up, or take these compounds in the form of a supplement.
The flavor of the seeds is peppery and spicy, much like the flavor of wasabi or horseradish, and can be too strong for some people.
Papaya seed powder can be purchased from health food stores and online and may be more useful for treating parasites than eating the raw seeds. If you do buy, make sure it is an organic brand like this one, as some Hawaiian papayas may be genetically modified and are not labeled as such.
To use the seed to kill parasites, eat a few spoonfuls each morning and night for a week to two weeks, or take the powder as directed.
What Are Other Benefits Of Papaya Fruit?
In addition to eating the seeds, eating the fruit of the papaya can provide you with essential vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes.
Papayas contain high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium.
Possessing high amounts of antioxidants, papaya can aid the body in protecting itself against damage incurred from free radicals and oxidation. Papaya also contains carotenoids, which give the fruit its yellow-orange color.
A powerful antioxidant, carotenoids have useful cancer-fighting properties and can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Regardless of how effective it is against cancer in humans, one thing’s for sure: both the papaya and the seeds have many health benefits that science is just beginning to understand.
Is There Research On Papaya Seeds?
To determine the efficacy of papaya seeds in combating intestinal parasites, researchers from the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health (from the College of Health Sciences in Nigeria), treated 60 Nigerian children with dried papaya seed powder.
The stool of the children was then examined to determine the level of intestinal parasites.
The results showed that within seven days, a significant number of the children treated with the papaya seed powder had significantly fewer parasites than those treated with a placebo.
The powder was roughly 70 percent effective, in fact, for clearing the stool samples of parasites.
Do Papaya Seeds Contain Digestive Enzymes?
While the seeds themselves do not contain the digestive enzymes, the fruit of the papaya does.
Papayas contain papain, a digestive enzyme that is similar to enzymes created by the pancreas that help the body digest proteins, as well as another essential enzyme known as chymopapain.
If you eat the fruit whole, you’ll get the benefits of both types of enzymes, which both assist in breaking down different compounds from food within the body.
Sincere it’s not always practical to have a papaya itself on hand, however, many people have begun taking digestive enzymes that contain papain or other papaya-derived compounds. Many people report that taking a digestive enzyme with papain (make sure yours is non-GMO and derived from whole food ingredients), can help alleviate symptoms of poor digestion such as bloating, gas and other similar feelings of discomfort.
One user on Amazon.com had the following to say about a digestive enzyme supplement containing papain:
“(I) was having gastro intestinal problem for months… Waking up every morning feeling sick to my stomach. Doctors did nothing to help me, so I decided to do some research on pre and probiotics. Decided that this was my best bet, and it worked. After taking this product for two weeks my problems are gone. I no longer have any sick feelings in my stomach…”
For more information on the product, which contains the papaya digestive enzyme papain and over 20 different other enzymes you can click on this link.