Papayas can be eaten green or ripe, with flesh ranging from bright green to warm rose. Their seeds are loaded with nutrients to aid liver function and kidney health. Papaya seeds can be dried or eaten raw. To be most effective, the outer seed layer will need to be broken.
Can you eat papaya seeds regularly? They are considered safe for healthy adults, but papaya seeds are not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers or children.
Are Papaya Seeds Edible?
Papaya seeds are edible once rinsed. The question of how to eat papaya seeds can be answered in many ways. They can be ground and used as a pepper replacement, or sprinkled on salads for a bit of crunch.
Papaya seed juice can be easily prepared using a mortar and pestle to crack the seeds. Steep the cracked seeds in the juice of a lime. Drinking this juice is suggested as an aid for liver malfunction per nutrition experts at SuperFoodProfiles.
Health Benefits Of Papaya Seeds
While the health benefits of papaya seeds are not tracked by the USDA, chemical analysis has demonstrated that papaya seeds are high in healthy fats and loaded with protein.
In fact, the protein density of papaya seeds is so high that one ounce of the seeds completes a protein serving per ChooseMyPlate.gov. They also contain magnesium and calcium, and provide many antioxidant properties.
Per LiveStrong.com, consuming large amounts of papaya seeds can be unhealthy due to benzyl isothiocyanate. This chemical can cause genes to become disrupted in the cell division process.
In addition, consuming large quantities of papaya seeds has been proven to have a contraceptive effect on rats. The level of benzyl isothiocyanate in a standard serving of papaya seeds, however, is negligible.
Purchasing And Preparing Papayas
Papayas are grown in three types.
- There is the smaller Hawaiian papaya, often found in the states.
- The Caribbean or Mexican papaya is much larger and boasts a bright red skin.
- Another variety of the Mexican papaya is smaller and sold green. Once ripened, they're generally used in Asian cooking.
SEE ALSO: How To Cut A Papaya
Per YourProduceGuy, papayas are often sold a bit green for safe transport, but will ripen well on your counter.
Hawaiian papayas need to be allowed to ripen and turn yellow. Once the skin is a fairly uniform shade of yellow, they can be sliced and enjoyed, and their seeds put to use as described above. The flesh of Hawaiian papayas is yellow. The skin of the papaya should not be eaten.
The large Caribbean papaya has flesh the color of a blood orange. Many of these larger papayas are sold to processors who dry the flesh for trail mixes, etc. Transportation costs limit the number of large papayas that can be shipped to western markets.
Green papayas are used in savory dishes across Asia. They can be handled in the same way as ripe papaya, but the flesh of the green papaya should be roasted with butter and cinnamon like a squash. Another option is to include it in stews and curries.
Fresh, ripe papaya is loaded with antioxidants and can lower your risk of developing macular degeneration due to the antioxidant zeaxanthin. Per Megan Ware, the high concentration of beta carotene found in papayas reduce the risk of developing asthma and can protect against prostate cancer.
As with many nutritional supplements, papaya seeds seem perfectly healthy in moderation. Ingesting large amounts of papaya seeds may impact the nervous system because of the chemical Carpine.
Papayas were called "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus. These rich yell-gold fruits provide a sweet source of many nutrients and offer up the nutritional benefits of their seeds as well.