Pawpaw is a kind of fruit
Sweet like sugar
Yellow like fanta
Everybody like pawpaw…….Pawpaw
Most people who can relate to the nursery rhyme above might have recited in kindergarten class and sure have eaten pawpaw fruit or papaya fruit more than a few times.
Pawpaw which is a tree-like plant with height ranging from 5 to 10m belongs to the family Caricaceae and has the botanical name Carica papaya.
The origin of Papaya is the central and Southern America, the plant is now cultivated in most tropical regions of the world.
The plant has large leaves. The fruit is large and berry like with green skin colour when unripe. The skin colour turns orange hue and feels soft when ripe. The pulp tastes sugar like.
Pawapaw is known to be beneficial to the human health and below are the few health benefits.
Papaya has the following nutritional value per 100 g: 179 kJ of Energy, 10.82 g of carbohydrate of which 7.82 g is sugar and 1.7 g is Dietary fibre, 0.26 g of fat, 0.47 g of protein and many vitamins and minerals.
The skin, pulp and seeds of papaya are known to contain polyphenols and carotenoids which are phytochemicals that are needed by the body.
Anticancer: Carica is known to contain Beta-carotene a phytochemical which is effective in the prevention of cancer such as colon cancer and prostate cancer
Papaya is rich in fibre and water content; these constituent help in the treatment of type I diabetics and also help in preventing constipation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day and 30-38 g/day of fibre for both women and men respectively.
Aids digestion: Papain is an enzyme which aids digestion and this papain is found in papaya.
Inflammation: One of the most important and versatile nutrient contained in papaya is Choline which helps the body during sleep, muscle movement and memory retaining. The enzyme also helps in the reduction of chronic inflammation.
Ulcer: Papaya has being known to cure some ulcers with the aid of papain emzyme contained in the plant.
Healing and skin treatment: Mashed papaya is used in wound healings and help to prevent infection in bruised areas of the body when applied to the skin.
Bone improvement: Researches have shown that adequate consumption of vitamin k helps in the improvement of the bone as it improves the absorption of calcium and thereby reduces excretion of calcium through urination.
Hair treatment and improvement: vitamin A is a required nutrient in the production of sebum which aids moisturisation of the hair. Papaya plant is known to be rich in vitamin A.
Though the health benefits of papaya can’t be over emphasized, there are still some precautions to be noted when consuming the plant or fruit
Papaya can cause allergic reaction and irritation to some people when consumed unripe because unripe papaya plant releases latex.
Harmless colouring of the palm is caused by excessive consumption of papaya plant.