We all love papayas, don’t we? At least, most of us. They are juicy. They are incredibly nutritious. And they have several benefits for you. But that is just one side of the story. The other side speaks about the not-so-pleasant stuff about papayas. Which is what this post is all about.
What Are The Side Effects Of Papaya?
1. May Cause Miscarriage
This stems from the fact that papaya can often cause latex allergy in individuals. This can be potentially dangerous to the mother as well as the unborn child (1).
Other studies also speak of the enzyme papain in papaya, which suppresses progesterone (a sex hormone) that is needed to prepare the uterus for conception. Papain may also damage certain membranes in the woman’s body that are essential for fetal development (2).
Further research also tells us that the papain in papaya can poison the fetus and cause birth defects in the newborn (3).
Papaya may not also be safe during breastfeeding. There is some speculation in this regard, and research is not very clear. Hence, please consult your doctor and avoid papaya during this period.
2. Can Lead To Digestive Issues
The very same papain that can calm your stomach can also lead to digestive distress if taken in excess. Papaya is rich in fiber, and too much of it can lead to digestive upset. Also, the skin of the fruit contains latex – which can irritate the stomach and cause pain.
The papain in the fruit works well in breaking down fiber. But if the fiber is not digested well, you will have to suffer from stomach gas.
Papaya can also cause diarrhea in certain individuals – the fiber in the fruit can bind with the stools and cause diarrhea, leaving you terribly dehydrated.
The abundant fiber in the fruit can also cause constipation. To avoid this, ensure you drink plenty of water.
3. Papaya Can Cause Respiratory Disorders
The papain in the fruit is also a potential allergen. Individuals consuming a lot of papayas end up ingesting excessive papain – and this can lead to respiratory allergies. Some of these include asthma, wheezing, nasal congestion, and, in severe cases, even breathing difficulties.
In fact, this can be a problem for pregnant women as well. Respiratory allergies can also affect the fetus, causing further complications.
4. May Lower Blood Sugar Way Too Much
There is limited research on this. But some sources suggest that people already on diabetes medications must stay away from papaya as it might otherwise lower blood sugar levels way too much.
Please consult your doctor before taking papaya if you have diabetes.
5. Can Damage The Food Pipe
Overeating papaya has shown to damage the esophagus. Having it in normal amounts (about 150 grams) is fine, though.
6. Interacts With Medications
Sources say that papaya can interact with warfarin, a medication used to slow blood clotting. This can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
The fruit can also interact with blood thinning medications, escalating their effects. If you are on any blood thinning medications or anticoagulants, like aspirin, please talk to your doctor before consuming papaya.
7. May Lead To Kidney Stones
Papaya is replete with vitamin C, and research shows that excess of vitamin C (more than 2,000 mg per day for adults, and more than 1,200 mg per day for children) can lead to toxicity symptoms, including kidney stones. Vitamin C, once metabolized in the body, produces oxalates that can turn into stones.
8. Can Be Unsafe For Infants
While we need more studies to corroborate this fact, some sources state that papaya may be unsafe for infants below one year of age. The excess fiber in the fruit can be the culprit. This can lead to loose stools in the infant (diarrhea) and even constipation (due to excess fiber). Please check with the baby’s pediatrician before giving it any fruit.
9. Can Irritate And Discolor Skin
Application of papaya to the skin can cause irritation. And eating too much of it can cause a condition where your skin can turn yellow-orange. This is not fatal, though. As the levels of beta-carotene (the excess of which causes skin discoloration) in your system decrease, the skin color should return to normal.
10. May Cause Other Allergies
The fruit can cause other allergies. This could be due to the papain in the fruit or pollen from flowers that could have settled on the fruit skin. Some reactions include swelling of the mouth and face, dizziness, headache, itching and rashes around the mouth and tongue, and difficulty in swallowing.
Papayas sure are a delicacy. But limit your indulgence. That way, you will be able to enjoy the fruit and its benefits as well.
Tell us how this post has helped you. Any side effects you think we had missed? Let us know by commenting in the box below. Help us serve you better.
- “Culture affects food aversions of pregnant women…”. Washington State University.
- “The natural way. A tropical…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Papaya”. US National Library of Medicine.
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