Papaya, a tropical plant believed to have originated in southern Mexico and Central America, is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. C. papaya is cultivated for its edible ripe fruit; its juice is a popular beverage, and its young leaves, shoots, and fruits are cooked as a vegetable.
The papaya fruit is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol; however, it is a rich source of phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Papayas contain soft, easily digestible flesh with a good amount of soluble dietary fiber that helps to have normal bowel movements; thereby reducing constipation problems.
Fresh, ripe papaya is one of the fruits with the highest vitamin-C content. Research studies have shown that vitamin C has many important functions like free radicals scavenging, immune booster, and anti-inflammatory actions.
It is also an excellent source of vitamin-A and flavonoids.
Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for healthy vision. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties; help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
Papaya fruit is also rich in many essential B-complex vitamins such as Folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and play a vital role in metabolism.
Fresh papaya also contains a good amount of potassium and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure countering effects of sodium.
While most people throw them away, papaya seeds are not only edible, small amounts of them in your diet can be surprisingly good for you.
Papaya seeds have been proven natural remedy for many ailments in the traditional medicines. The seeds are found application as anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and analgesic, and used to treat stomachache, and ringworm infections.
Papaya seeds are often reported as an effective treatment for liver cirrhosis. One method is to grind up around five dried seeds in a pepper grinder, or crush up fresh ones in a mortar and pestle, and mix them with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Drink this papaya seed treatment down twice a day for a month. Many cirrhosis sufferers have had dramatic improvements with this powerful natural remedy.
Obviously consult your doctor first if you are being treated for cirrhosis of the liver, especially with regards to the papain enzyme that may interfere with medications.
Even for people without such obvious liver damage, a small amount of pawpaw seeds taken regularly is said to help with liver detoxification. And anything that can improve the vital functions of the liver will be likely to improve your health in general.
The seeds of papaya are believed to have a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on our digestive systems. Studies have shown an extract made from them is effective at killing E coli, Salmonella, Staph and other dangerous bacterial infections.
The benefits of papaya seeds, with their high levels of digestive enzymes, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and liver regenerating properties are powerful. You don’t need many at a time, certainly not a whole fruit’s worth. After you scrape them out of a fresh fruit, it’s best to keep them in a sealed container in the fridge if you’re using them regularly, or in the freezer if only occasionally.
Ripe papaya fruit can be safely used by pregnant women. Unripe, green papaya should be avoided in them since it contains high levels of papain, a proteolytic enzyme. Additionally, unripe-papaya, its seeds, latex, and leaves also contain carpaine, an alkaloid which could be dangerous when eaten in high doses. Unripe papaya, however, can be eaten safely as a cooked vegetable.
Papayas that are totally green or overly hard should not be purchased, unless you are planning on cooking them, or unless you want to use green papayas in a cold dish like an Asian salad, as their flesh will not develop its characteristic sweet juicy flavor.
While a few black spots on the surface will not affect the papaya’s taste, avoid those that are bruised or overly soft. Papayas are more available during the summer and fall; however, you can usually purchase them throughout the year.
Papayas that are partially yellow should be left at room temperature where they will ripen in a few days. If you want to speed this process, place them in a paper bag with a banana. Ripe papayas should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within one or two days, so you can enjoy their maximum flavor.
If you want to eat them within a day of purchase, choose papayas that have reddish-orange skin and are slightly soft to the touch. Those that have patches of yellow color will take a few more days to ripen.