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Cleaning up your insides with delicious papaya seeds

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As I was saying in Generous abundance, nature’s gifts just go on and on. Learning how to see them is like nothing short of waving a magic wand – things that once seemed worthless waste are revealed as valuable resources. One such treat I’ve discovered recently is papaya seeds – that glistening mass of little black balls that we usually scoop out and discard before tucking into the delicious pinky-orange flesh. Of course, like all vegetable matter, they can go straight into the compost. But there’s scant chance of that happening in my household anymore, now that I’ve learnt of their other uses and benefits.

First and foremost, they are delicious. They have been used as a pepper substitute in various South-East Asian cultures for thousands of years. The flavour is zingy and fresh, and I’ve seen it compared to horseradish, mustard and capers. To me it comes closest to the taste of pickled nasturtium seeds (“poor man’s capers”), but more mellow.

There are several ways to eat them:

  • Fresh, you can mash them with a pestle and mortar or toss them in a blender when making a salad dressing and they’ll add a fabulous piquante flavour. Or simply sprinkle them on salads, chewing them up as you come across them.
  • To dry them, place them on a paper towel set on a sunny windowsill for a few days. Then either add them to your pepper grinder alone or mixed with peppercorns, or mill them in a spice grinder. (Use them soon for the most health benefit.)
  • Fresh or dry, bashed or ground, they make a brilliant meat tenderiser and add flavour to meat. (Rub onto meat a couple of hours before cooking, or add to your marinade or sauce.)

The seeds are more than just tasty . They are very effective at cleansing, detoxifying and protecting the body. They have significant antibacterial action and can be used to help treat and protect against an array of diseases, including E. coli, salmonella, and Staph. infections. They also help to protect the kidneys and detoxify the liver. They contain digestive enzymes very similar to our own bodies’, helping us break down food.

Papaya seeds provide a natural way to eliminate intestinal parasites. This is good news, especially for parents who may not wish to go the route of pharmaceutical deworming medications, as small children are much more prone to worm infestations than adults. The fruit is also helpful here, but it is the seeds in particular that work well at ridding the body of parasites. As well as papain, a protein-dissolving enzyme which helps destroy parasites, contained in the flesh and seeds, the seeds contain carpaine, a chemical deadly to intestinal worms. A well-documented Nigerian study on sixty children infected with parasites found papaya seeds highly effective in eradicating the intestinal worms: 76% of the children receiving the papaya seeds were clear of parasites after seven days.

For kids you will probably need to disguise the peppery taste. This is not too hard with the small amount used in the Nigerian study: 4g of seeds blended with honey were given daily. I just add a few ground up seeds (about a generous teaspoon) to a smoothie made with the papaya flesh, with some honey or molasses for extra sweetness. Optional additions are a banana and a tablespoon of coconut oil (which is also good at eliminating parasites, and adds nutrition and smoothness).

You could also add the ground seeds to your pets’ food to help keep them clear of intestinal parasites.

Papaya is good for the heart and circulatory system. Specifically, the carpaine found in the seeds is useful for those who suffer from high blood pressure, as it slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure directly. Papain, the proteolytic enzyme, makes papaya seeds and fruit an excellent aid to the digestion.

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