Papaya seeds are the black, round, slimy, peppercorn-like seeds present in the hollow portion inside a papaya. Normally, most people throw them away and eat the fruit. Over the last few years, however, much has been said and written about how papaya seeds are good for health and we should eat them just like we eat seeds of other fruits. But, can you eat papaya seeds, and if yes, do they have any health benefits? Let’s find out.
Can You Eat Papaya Seeds or Not?
Yes, papaya seeds are edible, but they have a strong, spicy, and bitter flavor. Also, they do have some health benefits as well as side effects. Many parts of the papaya tree, including the fruit, leaves, and seeds, have been used in traditional medicine, especially in parts of Asia and in other tropical countries.
However, these treatments lack scientific evidence. Much research is now being done to discover various benefits as well as ill effects of papaya seeds.
To start with, you can just try chewing one or two seeds directly. Once your body gets used to it, you can gradually increase the quantity to about one teaspoon per day.
How To Eat Papaya Seeds
So, now you know the answer to— can you eat papaya seeds? There are many interesting ways in which you can consume papaya seeds, apart from chewing them directly.
But there are two aspects to it. One is if you want to use papaya seeds immediately and the other aspect is storing and refrigeration for long-term use.
1. Immediate use
If you want to use fresh papaya seeds immediately, you can directly chew them. Also, you can grind them to make it into granulated powder. You can add the crushed seeds to smoothies and salads or use them in salad dressings.
You can add them to savory foods like meat or vegetable preparations, where you can use it as a substitute for black pepper. If you do not want to add them to recipes, you can try having the whole seeds with honey. This will reduce the strong flavor.
2. Long-term storage
You can store the papaya seeds for long-term use, since the fruit may not be available throughout the year. For this, you need to scoop out the seeds from the fruit, spread them on a napkin, and rub gently. This will ensure that the seeds do not have any fruit portions stuck on them.
Now, wash the seeds in a colander. Next, they need to be thoroughly dried; hence, pour them on a napkin or a plate and sun dry them for a few days. After the seeds have completely dried, store them in a refrigerator if you want to use them in a week. Keep them in the freezer for the seeds to be able to last from six to 12 months.
Before use, defrost the seeds in the refrigerator for about six to eight hours. If you forget to do that, you can soak them in hot water so that they become soft.
Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds
1. According to research conducted at the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, papaya seeds have anti-parasitic and anti-amoebic properties.
These seeds were fed with honey to some Nigerian children and their stools were monitored. Their stools, after a few days, were cleared of parasites and there were no side effects.
2. As papaya seeds have strong antioxidant properties, they may be useful in the treatment of certain cancers.
3. They may also be useful in the treatment of liver diseases.
Side Effects of Eating Papaya Seeds
1. According to research conducted at the Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, India, consuming papaya seeds decreases sperm count and motility. It may also have morphological defects.
2. A similar experiment was conducted at the Department of Animal Health and Preventive Medicine, Autonomous University of Yucatan, Mexico.
It was conducted on dogs. The results were more or less the same. It was observed that fertility returned to normal after the papaya seeds dosage was withdrawn.
3. Women who are pregnant should not eat papaya seeds. In fact, they should avoid having too much papaya as a whole, as it may harm the fetus.
4. If you have just started to eat papaya seeds, you may experience vomiting or digestion issues in the beginning. Gradually, the symptoms will fade away. But, do consult your doctor if the symptoms persist.
Easy Recipe to Use Papaya Seeds
As mentioned, we can use papaya seeds in many recipes. Here’s an easy papaya seeds recipe for a salad dressing you can try at home.
Fresh Papaya Salad Dressing
- 1 tablespoon fresh papaya seeds
- 1 onion, skin peeled
- 1 cup vinegar, raspberry or other flavors
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ cup vegetable oil
Grind the papaya seeds and onion together in a food processor. Pour in the mustard, vinegar, salt, and sugar and grind again for all the ingredients to blend well.
Continue grinding and gradually pour in the oil until the mixture emulsifies. Use this as a dressing on your favorite salad. It goes especially well with green salad or Caesar salad (made of iceberg lettuce).
Related: 3 Healthy Papaya Recipes
Final Word on Papaya Seeds
So, can you eat papaya seeds? Yes, and now that you know how to eat papaya seeds and their benefits and side effects, you can add them to your diet at least a couple of times a week.
If you experience any symptoms, make sure to consult your doctor. Papaya seeds are touted as having many health benefits; however, this requires more scientific evidence, and there’s research going on for the same.
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