Papaya: Nutritionist on amazing benefits of the fruit, best time to eat
A storehouse of nutrition and a solution to your bowel problems, papaya is available throughout the year and is quite pocket-friendly too. Here are all the benefits of the fruit, explained by a nutritionist.
Small lifestyle changes can go a long way in achieving holistic health. Making healthy changes to your daily diet is one of the ways to stay healthy in long run. Papaya is one of the fruits that deserves to be part of your diet routine - you can eat it in breakfast, evening snack, salad, as accompaniment or even dessert. A storehouse of nutrition and a solution to your bowel problems, papaya is available throughout the year and is quite pocket-friendly too. If you are someone who has a sweet tooth, a bowl of papaya is enough to satiate those sweet cravings. (Also read: Why papaya is the perfect fruit in winter season as per Ayurveda)
"Papaya comes with the power of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and also many antioxidants. The type of fibre present in this fruit helps to regulate bowel function and is shown to help with irritable bowel syndrome. It also provides relief from irregular bowel movements and relieves constipation," says Abhilasha V.
HOD & Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru.
Great for skin health
Papaya also promises flawless skin and is known to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. If you are a diabetic, you can trust papaya to control your blood sugar levels as it has a good fibre content and moderate carbs.
"The vitamins E & C and lycopene content ensures that it is great for skin health by protecting against skin damage and improving skin tone. It has shown to have anti-cancer effects in many studies. Papayas are rich in carotenoids which help in reducing inflammation," says the nutritionist.
Is papaya good for weight loss?
"Papaya is one of the lowest calorie fruits easily available [32 calories in 100 grams] and makes an excellent choice for weight loss mid-day snack or can combined in breakfast options in a weight loss diet," says the expert.
When should we not eat papaya
While papaya has all the wonderful benefits, people who are allergic to latex must avoid consuming papain, according to Abhilasha V.
"If you have hypoglycaemia (low sugar levels) you should use caution while consuming papaya or supplements containing the enzyme papain. Having too much quantities can cause laxative effect and stomach irritation; some people react differently so identify your individual gut triggers. Moderation is the key here," says the nutritionist.
Papaya during pregnancy
Unripe papaya contains high amount of latex which can stimulate uterine contractions, especially in early pregnancy. So, it is advised to be avoided in its raw form completely.
"However, if papaya is naturally well ripened and taken in second or third trimester in small quantities there should be no harm as it contains benefits if consumed moderately," says Abhilasha V.
"Nowadays a lot of artificial ripening methods are used and we are unsure of the amount of latex left behind, so it is wise to check with your nutritionist or treating doctor for approval on consumption in pregnancy. They will help you decide how much and how often to consume in a safe manner and build it into your balanced diet," adds the expert.
Best time to eat papaya
Papaya is a versatile fruit and can be included in meals, smoothies, salads and even as a standalone snack.
"Many people have this in breakfast to have good start to the day as it’s light on the gut and keeps energy levels stable through the morning. There is no wrong time to have this fruit, it is all about when you would like to relish this delicious juicy fruit," says the expert.
If you are planning to make papaya a part of your daily diet, here are some recipe ideas for you curated by nutritionist Abhilasha V.
Here are few recipe ideas for you
* Breakfast: Cut it in half and fill each half with yogurt, then top with other fruits of choice and top it up with chopped nuts.
* Appetizer: Cut it into strips and wrap cucumber thin slices around each strip to make finger foods, serve with a hung curd coriander zesty dip.
* Accompaniment: Salsa: Chop papaya, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, then add lime juice and mix well. Serve with baked chips or air-fried chips.
* Smoothie: Combine the diced papaya with regular milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk or coconut milk and ice in a blender, then blend until smooth. Add seeds or nuts to boost nutrient value.
* Salad: Chop papaya and avocado into cubes, add cubes of tomato and onion, alternatively add diced cooked chicken or paneer or tofu and dress with olive oil and vinegar. Add a carb like quinoa or bulgur wheat to make it a one bow meal.
* Dessert: Combine the chopped fruit with 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and 1 cup (100) of coconut yogurt or regular yogurt and a pinch of vanilla essence. Add other fruits of choice for flavour variety. Mix well and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before eating. It can be even added into custards.