If you are lactating, you may have been advised to include fruit in your diet. However, there are certain misconceptions about certain fruits, for example consuming papaya while breastfeeding. It is actually one of the most important and healthy fruits to have while nursing. This nutritionally rich fruit is high in vitamins which, if taken cautiously, can improve not only your health but also your baby’s.
Read on to know about this medicinal fruit, including its safety and benefits during breastfeeding. We also suggest some delicious ways to include it in your diet.
Is It Safe To Consume Papaya During Breastfeeding?
Your postnatal diet is very important because it not only affects your speed of recovery from childbirth but also regulates your milk supply. Doctors advise that breastfeeding mothers consume a balanced diet that includes at least two to three servings of fruits every day. As Papaya is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, it is highly recommended for nursing mothers.
How Does Eating Papaya While Breastfeeding Affect Milk Production?
Green Papaya, i.e., unripe papaya is a popular galactagogue across Asia. Galactogogues are foods that help breastfeeding mothers make more milk. It is a “super food” that can boost the quantity and quality of your breast milk. Thus, papaya is a must-have for lactating moms.
Oxytocin is a hormone that regulates the production of breast milk (1). Intake of green papaya can boost the production of the oxytocin hormone in your body and hence increase the milk flow. Add papaya to your postnatal diet today to nurse your baby and bond with him to your heart’s content.
Other Health Benefits Of Consuming Papaya
Papaya is a tropical fruit and adding it to your diet can be extremely beneficial for you. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, and pantothenic acid. It also contains magnesium, potassium, and calcium (2).
Papaya offers the following health benefits:
- The fruit is a low-calorie food offering just 43 kcal/100g, and it contains no cholesterol. If you binge on a bowl of papaya, it can keep your tummy full without adding empty calories. It can also help you with your postnatal weight management.
- It is one of the richest fruit sources of vitamin C. It can help your body heal and recover from childbirth and also boost the immunity of your little one. Eat it every day to keep infections and illnesses, such as colds and the flu, at bay.
- It is a good source of potassium as it offers 182mg of the essential mineral per 100 g. It can help balance electrolyte levels, regulate your blood pressure, boost your energy, improve your cardiovascular health, and enhance the functioning of your muscles.
- The fruit has a soft flesh that contains a good amount of soluble dietary fiber. A regular intake of papaya can work wonders for your digestive system as it can improve bowel function and keep constipation at bay.
- Papaya is a storehouse of vitamin A. It can help improve your vision, fight night blindness, prevent aging and protect against macular degeneration.
- It is a rich source of ß-carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants help eliminate free radicals, providing protection against oxidative stress and preventing cancer (3).
How To Have Papaya While Breastfeeding?
Green Papaya has a bland taste, and you can use it as a versatile ingredient while planning and preparing your meals. You can consume it in the raw or cooked form. Here are few ways in which you can include papaya in your diet:
- You can prepare a bowl of refreshing green papaya salad. You can add hot peppers, a dash of lime juice and garlic to enhance its flavor. Green papaya salad is a great option for healthy snacking.
- Green papaya curry is a traditional dish popular in various parts of South Asia.
- Green papaya soup is an excellent way to increase your milk supply and satiate your hunger.
- You can consume green papaya with other vegetables in stew or stir-fried forms.
A Word Of Caution
Consumption of Papaya may cause severe allergic reactions in sensitive people. If you have latex allergy, it is best to avoid the intake of papaya (4).
Remember to consult your doctor before adding papaya to your diet while breastfeeding. Any food that you consume during this delicate phase can directly affect your health and the growth of your breastfeeding baby. Also, consume papaya in moderate quantities only. It’s important to not have an excessive consumption of any foods or drinks while breastfeeding.
Papaya is a nutritious fruit that nursing mothers can consume as a part of their well-balanced diet. Regular intake of papaya, especially green papaya, while breastfeeding can boost breast milk production and supply. Adding papaya to your diet can contribute to your daily nutritional needs and provide your baby with essential nutrients. Nursing mothers can eat green papaya curry or add it to their salad bowl. Consult your healthcare provider before you begin consuming green papaya when nursing to avoid side effects that may affect the health of you and your baby.
- The physiological basis of breastfeeding.
- Papayas raw.
- Latex Allergy.
- Ellen Pesak et al.; (2021); Impact of Papaya (Carica papayaL.) on Breast Milk Production Enhancement of Nursing Mothers at Teling Atas Public Health Center Wanea Subdistrict Manado City.