Papaya - Composition And Health Benefits

Published on: 12/03/2021 | Last Updated: 06/09/2021
Papaya - Composition And Health Benefits

Papaya fruits contain many beneficial properties. They can be consumed and used in various recipes.

Papaya is an exotic fruit that has a number of benefits for our health. Due to its nutritional, digestive and healing properties, it is among the favorites of fruit lovers. Its exact origin has not been established, but it is believed to have originated in Central and South America.

Scientific name: Carica papaya

The papaya tree produces many spherical or pear-shaped fruits, clustered like a bunch at the top. They come in different sizes, with a medium-sized papaya weighing about a kilogram. The fruit is ripe when its skin acquires an amber hue. On the inside there are black seeds that are dried and used as a spice. The flesh of the papaya is orange with yellow or pink hues and has a sweet melon-like taste.


Health benefits of papaya consumption

Papaya fruit is very low in calories (only 39 calories per 100 grams) and does not contain cholesterol. In addition, it is a rich source of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Papaya has a soft, easily digestible core rich in dietary fiber, which helps the proper functioning of the intestines and prevents or alleviates the symptoms of constipation.

Fresh ripe papaya is one of the fruits with the highest content of vitamin C - about 103% of the recommended daily intake. Many scientific studies prove that Vitamin C has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory effects.

It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and flavonoids such as beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Vitamin A maintains the health of the skin and mucous membranes and is essential for good vision. It is a well-known fact that these components fight effectively against free radicals, which play a major role in the aging process and various disease processes. You should also know that eating fresh fruit, rich in carotene, protects the body from lung disease and oral cancer.

Papaya fruit is rich in essential B vitamins, such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin and thiamine (vitamin B1). They are essential for the body as they play an important role in metabolism.

Fresh papaya contains large amounts of potassium and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cellular and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure by counteracting sodium.

Papaya seeds have proven to be a natural remedy for many diseases. They have anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic and analgesic properties. They are used to treat abdominal pain and infections caused by tapeworm.


How to choose a ripe papaya fruit?

Papaya is available in different sizes and degrees of maturity. Choose a fruit with a healthy skin, without superficial cracks or bruises. Unripe fruits can be stored for several days at room temperature, and ripe fruits should be stored in the refrigerator. Before consuming them, take them out again at room temperature to enjoy their natural taste and aroma.

Unripe green fruits are prepared as a vegetable in many parts of Asia and the Pacific. However, it should not be consumed raw as it contains toxic alkaloids in the milk juice.

Preparation and method of serving

Wash the papaya thoroughly under cold running water. The bark has a bitter taste and is therefore unfit for consumption. Cut the fruit into two parts and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Cut them lengthwise into several pieces and peel. Papaya fruits successfully fit into various recipes, go well even with meat, you can put them to your favorite smoothie.

Ripe fruits are usually eaten raw, and also sprinkled with lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Fresh papaya cubes are a wonderful addition to fruit salads.

Papaya juice with ice is a drink that is very popular.

Papaya cubes can be added to shakes, sorbets, salsa, etc.

Ripe fruits are a wonderful addition to fish or seafood dishes.

Green fruits can be used as vegetables - cooked in stew, fried, added to curries and soups.

The enzyme papain is used in the food industry because it makes meat more tender.


Safety profile

Papaya contains white juice, which can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in people with greater sensitivity.

Ripe fruits can be consumed by pregnant women.

However, unripe green fruits should be avoided as they contain high concentrations of the enzyme papain, which is a proteolytic enzyme. In addition, unripe papaya (seeds, milk juice and leaves) contains carpain - an alkaloid that can be dangerous to health if taken in larger doses.

Unripe papaya can be safely eaten in the form of cooked vegetables.

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