It is a tropical fruit that has a sweet taste, soft texture and are pear shaped. It is native to southern Mexico and Central America. The black seeds of papaya are actually edible and have a peppery taste. Young papaya contains papain and hence has been used as a meat tenderizer for centuries now.
Two types of papayas are commonly cultivated. The red papaya has a sweet, red or orange flesh, and the yellow papaya, as the name suggests has a yellowish flesh. Though they are basically of two types, they are known by different names based on the area they are famously cultivated in. Sunrise, honey dew, pusa and Washington are some of the varieties that are grown in India.
The fruit is directly eaten without the skin or seeds when it is ripe. Unripe papaya is often cooked into savory dishes, salads and stews .In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are used to make tea that can treat malaria. Papain is applied on the skin to treat cuts, rashes and burns. It is also used as a hair conditioner.
1. Papayas are a rich source of antioxidants like Carotenes, Vitamin C and flavonoids that protect the body from damages caused by free radicals released during metabolism.
2. Presence of Vitamin B, folate and panthonic acid help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and protect against colon cancer.
3. The digestive enzyme papain present in papayas is used like bromelain to treat sports related injuries.
4. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and fibers that help against heart diseases, atherosclerosis, and help lower cholesterol levels.
5. Two unique protein-digesting enzymes papain and chymopapain make papaya anti-inflammatory and protect against inflammation related problems like arthritis.
Note: Consuming a very large quantity of papaya can cause yellowing of the soles and palms.
Tip: Teaming up papaya with green tea can be very effective against prostate cancer as they are both rich in lycopene.
Did you know?
Christopher Columbus called papaya the "fruit of the angels".