9 Benefits of Consuming the Papaya Seeds
While the health benefits of this fruit are well known (lower risk of diabetes, better digestion, glucose control), not many people know about the health properties of papaya seeds.
Carica papaya is a fruit native to the American continent and mainly grows between Mexico and Nicaragua. Its consumption and cultivation has spread to other countries in Africa and Asia though.
These small seeds have a concentration of bioactive compounds that contribute to your well-being. In fact, in recent years they’ve been the subject of scientific research and some believe they serve as an adjuvant to health care. Read about their main uses below.
Nutritional properties of papaya seeds
Although for many years considered a waste product, papaya seeds have nutritional properties that are worth taking advantage of. According to information published in the magazine Molecules, they specifically contain polyphenols and flavonoids, two substances with antioxidant action that promote wellness.
They also provide monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, as detailed in a study published in the Journal of Food Lipids. To a lesser extent, they are a source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, nutrients that help improve the quality of the diet.
A 2014 review published in the International Journal of Herbal Medicine, highlights that papaya seeds have a pungent flavor that can be harnessed as a substitute for black pepper when ground.
This same review recalls that they’re a very nutritious ingredient, as they contain fatty acids, proteins, fiber, oils, and other substances that promote well-being.
Benefits of consuming papaya seeds
Check out the main health properties of these seeds.
1. They help control fungus
Thanks to its antifungal properties, papaya seed can be used as an ally to fight some infections caused by fungi. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, papaya seed extract was effective against three different strains of fungi.
2. They help against food poisoning
Although food poisoning should be treated by a physician, papaya seeds can serve as an adjuvant for its treatment.
According to a review in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, the extract made from papaya seeds can be effective against microorganisms such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, among others.
3. Excellent for digestion
Papaya seeds make a slight contribution to dietary fiber and, because of this, contribute to improved digestion. Fiber is a nutrient that moves through your gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to the stool to facilitate its expulsion.
A review reported in the World Journal of Gastroenterology highlights that fiber intake is effective in increasing stool frequency in people with constipation.
4. Natural antiparasitic
Papaya seeds aren’t a first-line treatment against parasitic infections. However, despite this, there are studies that suggest they may be useful in dealing with some types of parasites.
In research published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, children fed a papaya seed-fortified porridge had a reduced amount of the well-known “big roundworm” or Ascaris lumbricoides.
5. Renal protection
While the evidence is still limited, studies suggest that papaya consumption may help protect the health of your kidneys. Furthermore, in an animal study published in the African Journal of Health Sciences, a papaya seed extract helped prevent kidney damage in rats given a drug to induce toxicity.
6. Anti-inflammatory activity
Because of their significant contribution to flavonoid substances, papaya seeds have a slight anti-inflammatory action that contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases. However, scientists need to conduct more studies to evaluate how this effect occurs.
7. Liver purification and fat metabolism
As you may already know, the liver is the organ that regulates the metabolism of fats. Any problems with it increase the risk of developing certain diseases. Therefore, cleansing is recommended to optimize its function.
Now, although its effectiveness has not been fully studied with humans, experiments conducted in animals, using papaya seed extracts, revealed a reduction of lipids in the liver as well as triglycerides.
8. Absorption of sugars
Apparently, papaya seeds also have the ability to keep the body from absorbing excess sugars. Researchers observed in laboratory studies conducted in animals, that their consumption improved glycemia and had a positive impact on glucose metabolism. They also had a slimming effect.
9. Control acne
There’s no evidence of the use of papaya seeds as a treatment for acne. However, they’re becoming widespread as a complementary remedy for this problem.
In this case, in addition to consuming papaya seeds, those who use them recommend making a natural poultice in the following manner:
- Firstly, for this, combine some leaves of papaya with the seeds and macerate it with a little water in a mortar
- Secondly, put the paste on the affected area for about ten minutes
- Then, wash the area with plenty of running water to remove the poultice
Learn about the effects of this Purifying Beet and Carrot Smoothie for the Liver and Blood
Side effects and contraindications
Despite all these benefits, you must exercise caution when consuming papaya seeds. This is due to the potential toxicity of benzyl isothiocyanate, one of its main components.
Those who are prone to allergies should also avoid the consumption of this fruit and its seeds as both contain papain. This substance affects some people who are sensitive to it.
Eat papaya seeds in moderation
Papaya seeds and their extracts contain nutrients that help promote health. In general, you can eat them in their natural form, but don’t exceed their intake because it can be counterproductive. So, eat between seven and 10 seeds to lessen its potential toxicity.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Zhou K, Wang H, Mei W, Li X, Luo Y, Dai H., “Antioxidant activity of papaya seed extracts”, Molecules. 2011 Jul 25;16(8):6179-92.
- Onkar Singh y M. Ali, “Phytochemical and Antifungal Profiles of the Seeds of Carica Papaya L.”, Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug; 73(4): 447–451.
- Puangsri, T., Abdulkarim, S. M., & Ghazali, H. M. (2005). Properties of carica papaya L. (papaya) seed oil following extraction using solvent and aqueous enzymatic methods. Journal of Food Lipids, 12(1), 62–76. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-4522.2005.00006.x
- Devi P S, Sreeja & Kumar, Neethu. (2017). The surprising health benefits of papaya seeds: A review. 6. 424-429.
- Yogiraj, V., Goyal, P. K., Chauhan, C. S., Goyal, A., & Vyas, B. (2014). Carica papaya Linn: an overview. International Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2(5 Part A), 1–8.
- Singh O, Ali M. Phytochemical and antifungal profiles of the seeds of carica papaya L. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011;73(4):447–451. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.95648
- Yang J, Wang HP, Zhou L, Xu CF. Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(48):7378–7383. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i48.7378
- Kugo M, Keter L, Maiyo A, et al. Fortification of Carica papaya fruit seeds to school meal snacks may aid Africa mass deworming programs: a preliminary survey. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018;18(1):327. Published 2018 Dec 7. doi:10.1186/s12906-018-2379-2
- Naggayi M, Mukiibi N, Iliya E. The protective effects of aqueous extract of Carica papaya seeds in paracetamol induced nephrotoxicity in male wistar rats. Afr Health Sci. 2015;15(2):598–605. doi:10.4314/ahs.v15i2.37
- Campuzano-Bublitz, M., Rolón, L., Vera, L., Kennedy, M. (2018). Efecto del consumo de pulpa de Carica papaya sobre la glicemia y peso de ratones normo e hiperglicémicos por aloxano. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutrición, 68(2): 132-140.