Whenever someone mentions papaya, we think of the sweet and delicious fruit, but nobody thinks of the whole plant. It has its peel, its seeds, and its roots, which all together form a perfect pack of nutrients with many health properties, and all of them have been used many years ago.
The papaya is botanically known as carica papaya or papaw, also it is called paw paw in Australia, mamao in Brazil and Tree melon. It is native to Central America and southern Mexico, but today it is growing in almost every country that has tropical conditions. Today most of the papaya in the supermarkets, is the Hawaiian type, it is a little bit smaller, it has a yellowish skin when it is ripe, and its flesh is a little bit orange or pinkish.
Rich with Antioxidants
The papaya fruit is a very rich source of antioxidants, and vitamin C and vitamin A. The antioxidants are the ones that help our body to prevent from the oxidation of its cells, which is a process in which free radicals are created. Free radicals are responsible for the development of many diseases, and they are involved in the skin aging and its health.
You have seen us mention beta-carotene before in our articles, and it is another type of vitamin A. It is stored in many fruits and vegetables as an antioxidant. The vitamin A is beneficial for our vision, our teeth, mucous membranes, soft tissue, skin and our bones. It is also proven that the risk of cancer can be reduced by the intake of beta-carotene. Papaya as we said is the richest source of vitamin A,and it has the ability to provide 44% of the RDA in only a single cup serving (700 to 900 mcg or 2300 to 3000 IU).
This vitamin is very important for a lot of body functions, and it is a very potent antioxidant, which has the ability to fight against many diseases and boost our immune system. Mostly it is needed for the repairing and the growth of all body tissues. It is necessary to be on a diet that is rich with vitamin C foods, because that is the only way to maintain the vitamin C levels, the body doesn’t produce this vitamin and it cannot store it. Even though that the papaya is not in the citrus family, it is able to provide 230% of the RDA (75 to 90 mg) in a single cup serving.
Other Nutritional Benefits
The papaya is also rich with many other nutrients that are highly beneficial, such as potassium, folate (vitamin B9), fiber, magnesium, and many other enzymes and vitamins that are needed by our body.
The vitamin B9 or also known as the folate, is able to maintain our nervous system in a top form, support our adrenal function and every metabolic function. It is one of the most important ingredients in the human development and growth, which makes it very important and needed for pregnant women as well. It can deliver 21% of the RDA (400 to 600 mcg) in one cup serving.
Both magnesium and potassium are very important, they are electrolytes that are helpful in the regulation of the flow of our body fluids and nutrients, and they are also beneficial for our muscle and nerve functions as well. This fruit provides 12% of the RDA for both of these minerals.
Besides that the fruit contains all of these minerals and vitamins, it contains a very important enzyme called papain, which is used in the treatment for arthritis and it is a strong digestive aid. It is stored in the bark, leaves and the papaya fruit.
Top 7 Health Benefits of Papaya
Because this fruit is very rich with nutrients, it can provide many health benefits, and here are some of them listed below:
- Boosts Immunity.
- Promotes digestive health.
- Supports skin health.
- Protects from heart diseases.
- Reduces the risk of colon and prostate cancers.
- It is an anti-inflammatory which protects us from rheumatoid arthritis and many other autoimmune conditions.
- Prevents from macular degeneration.
Aren’t these reasons enough for you to go to the grocery store and get this fruit after rearing this article? But when you buy it make sure it is non-GMO and it is totally organic, that way you will get the most out of the fruit. Simply cut a single papaya in a cup and enjoy its taste and smell. You can also add it into some of your smoothies, and replace a pineapple or mango with it.
When you really want to include papaya into your diet, take a look at our 2 recipes BitterSweet Arugula Papaya Salad or Papaya Mango Salsa. Take a look at the recipes below and try them out.
BitterSweet Arugula Papaya Salad
- 1 haas avocado, diced medium
- 3 thinly sliced radishes
- 1/2 papaya, diced medium, seeded and peeles
- 5 cups of baby arugula
Only Dress sparingly and toss with Pomegranate dressing, and you can see how the dressing is made below.
- Dash pepper
- Dash salt
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or honey
- 1 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup of pomegranate juice
- 1 lime juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 shallot diced small
Combine the vinegar, garlic, lime zest, shallot and lime juice in a glass jar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes for the ingredients to bond with each other. Then you can add the dijon mustard, pomegranate juice, spices, oil and honey. Then you can stir the mixture or shake it and cover it.
Papaya Mango Salsa
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, rinsed
- 1 mango diced small, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of curcumin
- 1 lime zest and juiced
- 1 jalapeno, diced small and de-seeded
- 1 small red onion, diced very small
- 1/2 papaya de-seeded and peeled, diced small
Combine the lemon juice and zest, with the jalapeno and onion in a glass bowl. Let the ingredients interact with each other for a few minutes. Add the spices and then you can stir. Add the ingredients that left inside and stir well. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before you serve it.
WebMD, Antioxidants, Free Radicals
Wolfram Alpha, Papaya
Journal of Medicinal Plants Study, Papaya
California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., Papaya
University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate
Dr. Mercola, Papaya