A million-dollar question banging the mind of every expecting mother like you is whether or not she should eat papaya during pregnancy?
A very valid concern as there are plenty of stories going around to tell you not to eat it.
Well! as per the scientific evidences a fully ripened papaya is absolutely safe to be consumed during pregnancy (US FDA).
Unripe or Semi ripe papayas are rich in a chemical compound called as Latex. This chemical leads to early uterine contraction and which is why it is recommended to not to eat it during pregnancy.
However, a ripe papaya is extremely healthy and is rich in ingredients like Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
It is also an extremely good source of fiber and folic acid.
Thus, it helps in reliving constipation in a great way and perhaps it is the best fruit gifted by the Mother Nature for any indigestion related problems.
This is why you would find some gynaecologists recommend papaya to be eaten in moderate amounts during pregnancy. Fully ripen papaya is absolutely safe to be eaten during pregnancy but it is advisable to consult your doctor first in order to get rid of any concerns that you might be holding on to.
In this post, you would come across the pros and cons of eating papaya during pregnancy and it will help you to get rid on any notions that you might be holding on to.
Papaya during Pregnancy – The Complete Guide
In some parts of the world, women are fed ripe papaya in the form of a shake. Take some ripe papaya and blend it with milk and then top it up with raw honey. This is believed to give a lot of nutrition to the expecting mother.
Yet in places like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. there have been theories of miscarriages or still births going around the society if a woman eats papaya during pregnancy by any chance.
Research clearly suggests that Papaya may be risky for the foetus if it is consumed in the raw form. This means that the papaya should not be green anywhere as it may have traces of papain in it.
The raw papaya which is rich in latex can induce uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage or a still birth.
The fear of this prevails so much in the Indian society that any expecting woman avoids eating papaya altogether during pregnancy.
The ripe papaya which is considered to be safe to be eaten by a pregnant woman should be completely yellow/orange in colour.
The other point to note here is that the outer skin or seeds of the ripe papaya are equally dangerous and are recommended to be avoided during pregnancy.
Papaya is an extremely rich source of folic acid and fibre and is extremely helpful in preventing heart burn and constipation.
It is extremely rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and is considered to be a healthy wholesome nutrition for pregnant women.
How does eating raw Papaya harm the pregnant woman?
Papaya’s main ingredient which harms the pregnant women is papain enzyme or vegetable pepsin. This compound is prominently found in the leaves and the latex of the fruits.
The latex of the unripe papaya acts like prostaglandin and oxytocin hormones. These synthetic hormones are commonly administered to induce uterine contraction in women at the time of delivery.
Papain is known to weaken the membrane of the foetus and hence hinders the growth and development of the foetus. Unripe papaya is used by some women as a natural contraceptive who do not wish to get pregnant at all. Though the role of raw papaya as a natural contraceptive is not yet proven but still it is popularly used in some parts of the world.
Some people assume the possibility of latex to be present in ripe papaya as well and which is why they avoid papaya completely during pregnancy.
Also, a woman with a history record of recurrent abortions or miscarriages, is recommended by the doctors to stay away from papaya completely for the fear of papain hormone which could be present in traces and might lead to a miscarriage in such worrisome conditions.
The same holds true for a woman who had a difficulty in conceiving or has had a history of premature labour. Even, they are advised by well-meaning relatives and elderlies to keep papaya at bay.
Although, no practical evidences have shown papaya to cause a miscarriage in a pregnant woman so far. A lot of doctors advise to eat everything in pregnancy including papaya and pineapple but in moderation.
Science believes that everything should be eaten in moderation to balance the whole nutrition requirement of a pregnant woman. The past medical history has shown that women feeding on ripe papaya all throughout the pregnancy have remained fine with no hassles whatsoever.
The benefits of eating Papaya (fully ripe) in pregnancy
Since, pregnancy is a very delicate stage of your life both for you and your foetus; hence the freedom to choose what to eat and what not to eat lies solely with you.
As a mother, if you choose to eat the fully ripe papaya during pregnancy, which is needless to say, is considered absolutely safe then this is what you get out of it.
Easy Bowel movement:
You may find indigestion, acidity and constipation as your constant companions during pregnancy.
Eating fully ripe papaya will help to ease out the bowel movement and will neutralize acid formation in the stomach.
Ripe papaya will supply you and your foetus with high source of nutrition containing plenty of vitamins, with vitamin C and vitamin E as prominent nutrients. It will also supply you with a good amount of dietary fibres and anti-oxidants and will make you feel full instantly.
It will also help to reduce the gaseous distension which is again a regular feature in pregnancy. Papayas are best when eaten in the mornings during breakfast.
Is it safe to eat papaya after delivery?
Unlike in pregnancy, papayas are always advised to be eaten during breast feeding. It is believed to enhance milk production in breast feeding mothers.
The contrary uses of Papaya are not surprising at all, for Papaya contains proteolytic enzymes that help in lactation. Papain and Chymopapain are the enzymes present in an abundant amount in unripe papaya.
These enzymes are known to boost the production of milk in breastfeeding mothers. However, no sufficient data is available to support this. The unripe papaya has been quoted as galactalogue but it cannot be justified with a supporting data.
There are no evidences to support the presence or secretion of any chemical in the mother’s body that has boosted up lactation in mothers. However, papaya is known to contain carotenoids that provide beta carotene and vitamin A to the nursing moms like you.
A lot of research has been conducted on infants to understand the effects of papaya on a breast fed infant.
No supporting evidence has been found to understand the role of papaya in infants’ growth and development.
Still, a lot of doctors in India and abroad are known to recommend regular papaya intake to support lactation. While many others choose to believe that papaya does not have any effect on the lactation of mothers or on the growth of the baby.
The important details about Papaya
Papayas are recommended to lose weight.
Both Papaya and pineapple help in cutting down the fat from the body. Papaya can be eaten as a salad or fruit when ripe and can be eaten as vegetable when raw.
Post-delivery, a woman is advised to consume papaya twice in a day. It is extremely good for the body and also is assumed to boost lactation as discussed earlier.
Post-partum is normally a period when the hormones are withdrawn from the body. It is then the woman either ends up in a post-partum depression and also has a severe constipation.
Papaya helps in reliving this constipation by ensuring a smooth bowel movement and this is why it classifies to be an extremely necessary fruit post-partum.
The myths associated with papaya will continue to be a part of the society. The best way to overcome your concerns about this highly nutritious fruit is to consult with your doctor.
Papaya is scientifically called as Carica Papaya. It was originally grown in Central America. Thanks to the advancement of science and technology, this miraculous wonderful fruit is now available to the rest of the world as well.
Papayas these days are artificially ripened using carbide or other such chemicals. The white coating that you see on the skin of papaya is nothing but a potent carcinogen called Carbide.
So, make sure to wash the papaya nicely in cold running water before peeling it. Also, you are advised to remove the over ripened part as it may again harm the body of the expecting mother.
The over ripened part also induces a puckish sensation due to its over ripe taste and hence should be removed while eating.
Do you know that papaya tastes even better when fresh lime is squeezed on top of it? It brings out the best flavour of the fruit.
You could even try making a delicious papaya juice.
Papaya juice could be made by blending papaya pulp with some milk and honey. It tastes great and could be served to kids as well.
The best way to grab a good quality papaya is to buy a raw green papaya from the market and wrap it with a newspaper and leave it aside for a few days.
All fruits release ethylene gas which helps in ripening the papaya naturally. This is an excellent way to a healthy ripe papaya. And, it also keeps you and your baby away from the harmful carbides and other chemicals used for artificial ripening.
The Wonders of Papaya
Some researchers suggest that papaya also promotes the regeneration of the muscle tissue. It also revitalizes the body and helps to maintain its vitality and energy.
Papaya is also known to help in the functioning of cardiovascular system. The papaya peel is often applied on skin wounds in rural areas to heal the wound.
Some researchers also claim that Papaya helps in preventing cataract formation. Though there is insufficient data to support the same.
Papaya also reduces the risk of developing emphysema in smokers as well as passive smokers. Papaya also helps in cutting down the inflammation of any sort in the body. Papaya is extremely helpful in healing the patients with Colon cancer and gastro intestinal problems.
Looking at the health benefits offered by this fruit, Papaya should be made a regular part of your diet. Two papayas per week should be eaten by every member of the family to take care of the digestion and also to replenish the body with vital vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Papayas should be consumed in the morning hours to get the best results. It is also high in calcium and makes the bones and teeth stronger.
Flatulence and constipation is quite normal in toddlers as they depend on good amount of milk. Eating papaya regularly will give them a big respite.
Papaya also makes you feel full.
Always try to consume this fruit fresh to enjoy its delicious taste. Once cut, you should wrap it up with a cling wrap or an aluminum foil to store it in refrigerator for it to remain fresh.
Looking at the tremendous health benefits offered by papaya, I am sure you would want to include it as a part of your diet during pregnancy as well as post-delivery.
But, in case you are still influenced by those myths about miscarriages due to papaya, you should consult your doctor regarding this.