Papaya seeds are highly nutritious and are packed with powerful antioxidants. Although they may have several health benefits on your health, taking too many of them might lead to infertility and become harmful, inducing other negative health effects.
Many people enjoy papaya fruit but dispose of off its seeds, not knowing how beneficial they can be to health. Studies have shown that papaya seeds are packed with antioxidants, compounds that help the body neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. Besides, eating the nutritious papaya seeds may help promote digestive health and lower the risk of infections. Nonetheless, the seeds have to be eaten in moderation, lest they become harmful or possibly cause infertility. Here is everything you need to know about why you need to eat papaya seeds and the possible side effects you need to keep in mind.
Papaya seeds have a rich nutritional profile
The primary reason eating papaya seeds is good for you is their rich nutritional profile. These seeds are packed with flavonoids and polyphenol micronutrients which act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants are compounds that ward off free radicals, which would be damaging if left unattended. Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons originating from metabolism, radiation, environmental pollution, and other sources. When these molecules accumulate in the cells, they result in oxidative stress, triggering or increasing risk factors for several chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols in papaya seeds donate the lacking electron, neutralizing the free radicals.
Furthermore, papaya seeds are rich in healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fatty acids. They are particularly packed with oleic acids, a type of healthy fats known for preventing oxidation of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and triglyceride by 22% and 19%, respectively. As if that’s not enough, these seeds have fiber, a form of complex carbs the body needs to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check, promote fullness, and lower risk for obesity, diabetes type 2, and prediabetes.
Potential benefits of consuming papaya seeds
Papaya seeds are nutritionally rich and will render many health perks in your system when you eat them. For instance, they;
- May prevent kidney damage and promote kidney health
You can take papaya seeds in moderation to boost your kidney health and prevent it from getting damaged. One lab test gave rats a substance to induce toxicity and also added them a placebo or a papaya seed extract. It observed that the rats that received the toxicity-inducing substance together with papaya seed extract had their kidney not damaged, proving that these papaya seeds could promote kidney health. Moreover, papaya seeds are heavily packed with powerful antioxidants that ward off free radicals. When left unattended in the kidney cells, the free radicals would damage this organ. Nonetheless, these are only observations from preliminary studies and wouldn’t recommend papaya seeds for kidney treatment.
- May help fight infections and pathogenic microorganisms
Pathogenic microorganisms are among the leading causes of many infections, some of which are life-threatening. Thankfully, research shows that papaya seeds could help fight these microorganisms and reduce the risk of infections they cause. For instance, one study observed that three different fungal strains, including one that’s responsible for yeast infections, could not stand papaya seed extract. Another study also found that compared to a placebo, an elixir made from honey and dried papaya seeds better fought parasites. Still, there is a need for further studies to determine how directly eating papaya seeds affects infections.
- May have digestive benefits
You might also want to eat papaya seeds to benefit from their fiber content. These seeds are packed with fibers, a form of complex carbs that play integral roles in the human system. First, these fibers provide food for gut microbiota, increasing the concentration of good bacteria and keeping the gut healthy. Second, these fibers mix with food and slow down its movement along the digestive tract, allowing more action. This means that you can keep full for longer and need not eat from time to time. With increased fullness and reduced calorie intake, you can lose weight and keep it just where you want it. Third, slowing down bowel movement means better loo trips since the fibers curb constipation. Last but not least, fibers fold fats and cholesterols in food, helping eliminate them and prevent excess fat and cholesterol accumulation, which would increase one’s risk for heart disease and diabetes.
- May lower cancer risks
Eating papaya seeds could also help lower the risk of certain cancers. For instance, one study found that papaya seed extract limited the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. This observation could be due to the presence of benzyl isothiocyanate, a compound found in papaya seeds. Besides, the seeds have other antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties, all of which mean lower cancer risk. Still, it is until further studies are conducted that we can say how directly papaya seeds and cancer relate.
Are there any potential side effects of consuming papaya seeds?
While papaya seeds may be nutritious and packed with powerful antioxidants, few side effects are linked to consuming them. For instance,
- They may be harmful in high amounts
Consuming many papaya seeds in one sitting could be damaging. One study used a concentrated extract made of papaya seeds and added it to animal cells. It observed that the cells experienced significant DNA damage. Of course, the dosages used in the study were typically higher than what one would consume, but it still does not harm to consume the seeds in moderation.
- They may lower fertility
As a reproductive parameter, fertility is determined using sperm motility and mobility among males. Some studies show that papaya seed extracts could negatively impact fertility, affecting sperm count and mobility. For instance, one study administered papaya seed extract to monkeys and noticed that it made their semen lack sperms. Although the research did not use actual seeds but seed extracts, keeping papaya seed consumption moderate goes a long way to help you remain healthy.
You can eat papaya seeds since they are nutritious. They are also packed with antioxidants which make them lower the risk of infections and possess anti-cancer properties. However, too many papaya seeds may be harmful, and some studies also show that high doses might cause fertility problems.