A revered superfruit that is native to Central America and was so much loved by Christopher Columbus that he called it “the fruit of the angels”. It was in the 20th century that papaya was brought to the United States.
It is produced in all seasons but is bountiful during summer. They can grow up to 20 inches in a spherical or pear shape fruit. When ripe, it has a deliciously and buttery sweet flesh inside in a rich orange color. Black round seeds that are covered in a gelatinous substance can be found concentrated in the inner cavity which are also edible with a peppery taste.
Papaya provides you with a lot of nutritional benefits. It is bursting with nutrients that possess digestive and medicinal features capable of curing many diseases. This superfood is a heavy storehouse of antioxidants, fibers, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, minerals like magnesium, copper and potassium, including pantothenic and folic acids. Collectively, these nutrients promote a healthy cardiovascular system and offer protection against colon cancer.
The digestive enzymes called papain found in papaya helps in the digestive process by breaking down protein. These enzymes are mostly found in unripe papaya. This protein–digesting enzymes can likewise lower inflammation and improve healing from burns.
The flesh and seeds contain anti-amoebic and anti-parasitic properties that influences the bowel movement. They can treat constipation, irritable bowel movement, heartburn, stomach ulcers, and heart burn.
Papaya is rich in antioxidant, notably cancer curing flavonoids like cryptoxantine which is effective in preventing lung cancer; lutein and zeaxanthin, two very essential nutrient in reducing the risk for macular degeneration and cataracts by blocking blue light from reaching the primary structure of the retina causing light-induced oxidative damage. In addition, lutein also help protect against atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks.
Papaya gives out only 39 calories per 100 grams making it ideal for people who wants to lose weight. This fruit also contain a substantial amount of fiber to maintain the proper cholesterol level and also sweep away and bind cancer causing toxins in the colon.
Consuming too much papaya can cause carotenemia wherein the sole of the feet and palm becomes yellow, a temporary skin condition that will go away after sometime.
To most people, eating papaya is relatively safe as long as it is taken in small amount. If you are allergic to papain or latex, it is best that you avoid papaya. It is also advisable for pregnant and nursing women to avoid taking green papaya in medicinal amount as this may poison the fetus or cause a birth defect although ripe papaya is safe to but in moderation.
Here’s a delightfully refreshing idea to start your day… Sprinkle cold papaya with fresh lime juice. It’s yummy!
Photo by: http://www.youthcrash.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/papaya-papita.jpg