Papaya, also known as papaw or pawpaw is a rare exotic fruit loaded with umpteen health benefits. This tropical plant native to Mexico and the northern part of South America is also widely grown and cultivated in Florida, Texas, California, and many other eastern tropical and subtropical regions of the world like India, Srilanka, etc.
This wonder plant grows in three sexes, i.e. male, female and hermaphrodite. The male plant produces only the pollen grains, but they never bear fruit. The female produces small, inedible fruits unless pollinated. The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate as it contains flowers with both the reproductive parts, i.e. androecium containing the male stamens and gynoecium containing the carpals which bear the female ovaries.
Mostly cultivated varieties are hermaphrodite in nature and are available in two forms which are red papaya and yellow papaya. The greenish-orange fruits having a juicy, soft, succulent nature and less sugar content, can be eaten raw or used in a wide variety of culinary applications. It can be added to salads, smoothies or enjoyed as halwa, kebabs, curry or sorbet.
The abundance of essential vitamins like A, B, C and E and minerals like folate, magnesium, copper, potassium, lutein, pantothenic acid and antioxidants like lycopene make papaya the ultimate food choice for a buck load of health benefits.
Although sweet in taste and enriched with the essential nutrients, one might have a doubt,
Can It Be Eaten By Diabetic Patients?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a health condition when the beta-pancreatic cells in the body produce very little or no insulin at all, or when the body does not respond correctly to the insulin production. In a healthy person, the pancreas secretes insulin to help the body store and use the excess sugar and fat absorbed from the food one eats. In the case of diabetics, the malfunctioning of the pancreatic cells leads to high blood sugar levels which need to be managed by regular exercise and a well-balanced nutritious specific diet.
Normally, diabetic patients have strict restrictions in the case of sweet and sugary items and hence have a specific diet to follow. The nutritional content of papaya reveals that although sweet in taste, it is high in fibre and very low in sugar, which makes it a healthy snacking option for people suffering from diabetes. Several research works show that daily consumption of papaya has noticeably reduced the progression of type 2 diabetes.
Also Read: The Guilt-Free Fruit Guide for Diabetics
Although one can eat papaya due to the sweetness from the natural sugars present in it, one must be careful to eat it as a mid-day or mid-afternoon snack in a limited quantity and not overindulge in it so that the blood sugar levels remain under control.
How Much Papaya Is Ideal For The Daily Diet In Diabetics?
To help control sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, a modest serving of papaya is recommended. Doctors and nutritionists advise diabetic patients to limit the daily intake of papaya to one cup per day, for although it is low in calories, the fruit inherently contains a fair amount of organic sugars and hence should not be ingested in excessive quantities.
Moreover, papaya has a glycemic index of 60, which is moderate and also comprises vast reserves of dietary fibres, both of which help to slow down the uptake of sugar in the system, thereby alleviating diabetes symptoms. Healthcare experts recommend taking papaya as a mid-day or evening snack and advise diabetic patients to avoid consuming the fruit at night.
For people with diabetes, papaya can be taken as such as the ripe fruit, or added to fruit salads, squeezed into a juice and made into smoothies, to obtain the wealth of essential nutrients from the fruit, as well as effectively manage diabetes.
Other Benefits of Papaya
Referred to as the “fruit of angels” by the great voyager Christopher Columbus, this miraculous fruit is extremely beneficial for diabetes, indigestion, heart problems, dengue, arthritis, cancer, bone problems and is also extremely beneficial for the skin and evidently boosts the immunity.
Also Read: Dengue Treatment: How To Make Papaya Leaf Juice At Home
Hence, we can conclude that this vibrantly coloured pulpy fruit is brimming with healthful nutrients and has umpteen health benefits and can easily be added as one of the fruity indulgences to meet the sweet cravings of a diabetic while keeping the blood sugar levels under control.