PapayaThe fruit papaya is an incredibly healthy fruit. It does not only provide many health benefits but also has a rich flavor. Papaya is a source of antioxidants which can help to fight diseased in the body, reduce inflammation and protects the skin from skin damage. This article will address the history of the fruit, give tips on how to add papaya to your diet as well talk about the health benefits it provides.


Papaya is a fruit which reminds us of tropical holiday destinations since they are often served in the tropics. This is due to the fact that the fruit grows in these parts of the world. The history of the fruit, together with information about where the fruit grows will be addressed later in this article. Due to the many health benefits papayas provide they have becoming very popular all over the world. Although they usually only grow in the tropics, papayas are now widely available and can therefore also be found in Western supermarkets from time to time. Papayas have the shape of a large pear or have a more spherical shape. Most papayas sold are around 20 cm long, however it is also possible for papayas to become up to 50 cm long. The inside of the fruit has a rich orange color. The flesh of the fruit is soft and has a consistency which can be compared to butter. Moreover, the taste of papaya is very sweet. It also has a bit of a musky taste to it. The heart of the fruit is filled with round black seeds. These seeds are covered in a substance which can be compared to gelatin. While the seeds are edible, most people do not like to eat the seeds since they are somewhat bitter. The seeds are also said to have a peppery taste to them. One of the most important nutrients in the fruit is the enzyme called papain. Papain is an enzyme which helps to digest proteins. A high concentration of this enzyme is present when the fruit is not fully ripe yet. This enzyme is often extracted from papaya to be added to dietary supplements or is added to chewing gums.


Papaya is a fruit which is native to tropical America. Papaya can be found from the south of Mexico to the Andes in South America. The fruit was spread to the south of the continent by the Indians. While the Indians spread the fruit to the south of the continent, Spanish explorers spread the fruit to the Caribbean. It was also these Spanish explorers which transported the fruit to the Pacific Islands as well as to Europe. The fruit was spread pan-tropically around the 17th century. In the 1800s, papayas were transported to Hawaii. Hawaii continues to remain the only state in the United States where papayas are produced on a large scale for commercial purposes. In the beginning of the 20th century a papaya industry was developed in Florida. However, the business was not successful due to the fact that the production of papaya was threatened by viral diseases. The industry in Florida is not the only place which was hit by this virus. The papaya ringspot virus has caused a major decline in the production of  papayas in Hawaii as well. Luckily, scientists at the University of Hawaii have started to insert a gene in the fruit which is resistance to the virus. The insertion of this gene in the fruit led to papayas being the first genetically modified fruit which was consumed by humans. Besides Hawaii, Mexico and Puerto Rice are amongst the largest commercial producers of papayas.

Health benefits of papaya

Papaya provides many health benefits. This section will address some of the health benefits provided by the tropical fruit. One of the benefits of the fruit is that it can contribute to the prevention of asthma. Apparently the risk for developing asthma is lower in people who consume the nutrient beta-carotene. This nutrient can be found in papayas, as well as in broccoli, pumpkin, carrots as well as in apricots. Another health benefits of papayas is that is can help to contribute to the prevention of prostate cancer. This was concluded by a study which was conducted amongst Japanese men by the School of Public Health of Harvard University. The study found that the anti-oxidant beta-carotene can have a protective role against the development of prostate cancer. Papayas also contain vitamin K. Vitamin K is said to contribute to the absorption of calcium. It also reduces the urinary excretion of calcium. The enzyme papain is also said to have a positive influence on the human body. Papain is an enzyme which contributes the digestive system. Besides the enzyme papain, the high concentration of fiber and the water content in the fruit also contribute to a healthy digestive system. Thus, besides the benefits to the digestive tract, the fruit also prevent constipation. The high level of fiber, vitamin content and potassium together also reduce the risk of a heart disease. The most important change of can make to its diet is to reduce the sodium intake and increase the intake of potassium. This change to a diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Papaya also has anti-inflammatory properties. The nutrient choline does not only help to protect the cellular membranes, but they also reduce chronic inflammation.

Protection of the skin

Besides the abovementioned health benefits, papayas also help to the protect the skin against skin damage. It can also help to keep the skin more toned and help to keep the skin youthful. One of the reasons why our skin starts to wrinkle and becoming saggy when we become older is due to the free radical activity. This excessive free radical activity is also responsible for other forms of skin damage. The nutrients present in papaya which help to prevent this skin damage are lycopene as well as vitamin C. While both vitamin C and lycopene can be found in other fruits as well, there are not many fruits which contain high concentrations of both these nutrients. A research published in the Photochemical and Photo-biological Sciences, it was concluded that people who consumed higher levels of lycopene than average decreased skin redness. The participants in the research took lycopene supplements for ten to twelve weeks. The participants all had skin redness as a consequence of exposure to the sun. After taking the lycopene supplements for the abovementioned period, the skin redness reduced dramatically. In another study, older women consumed vitamin C, lycopene and other antioxidants for a period of three months. After the period of three months, all women showed visible reduction of facial wrinkles. This shows that the antioxidants found in papaya contribute to the recovery of the skin after sun damage, as well as protect the skin from wrinkling.

How to select and store

When buying papayas there are a few thing you should pay attention to. If you want to be able to eat the papaya shortly after buying it, it is recommended to pick those which are a bit soft. The ones which are ripe are not only soft, but they also have a red-orange skin. Papayas which are not rip yet can be recognized by the fact that their skin has a yellow color or the skin has patches. Papayas can also have a green color or they feel very hard. These should not be bought, unless you want to cook the fruit. When the fruit is hard, you can also use it for an Asian salad for example. However, the taste of the fruit will not be fruit but will be rather bitter. Another important thing to keep in mind when buying papayas, is that the fruit should not have many black spots on the outside. A few spots on the outside will not affect the taste of the fruit, but try and make sure that the fruit is not bruised. Also, do not buy those which are overly soft, since these will not taste good. Nowadays, papayas can be purchased throughout the year, especially in countries where they grow. However, they are usually more available during the fall and summer period. How to store the fruit is dependent on the fact whether the fruit is ripe or not. When the skin is still yellow, it is recommended to store the fruit at room temperature so that the fruit can ripe within a few days. If you want to speed up the ripening process, place the papaya in a paper bag together with a banana. You will notice that the papaya will be ripe within one or two days. Those which are ripe can be stored in the fridge. Once they are ripe, it is recommended to eat the fruit within one or two days. In this way, you can enjoy the maximum flavor.

How to add more papaya to your diet

As mentioned above, papayas provide many health benefits. Thus, one should try and consume papaya whenever possible. Since the fruit is already very rich is flavor, the best way to consume papaya is to eat it as it is. You can cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds and enjoy it with a spoon or by cutting it in even smaller pieces. As mentioned earlier, while it is possible to eat the seeds of the fruit, many people do not like the peppery taste of the seeds. It is also possible to make a fruit salad. You can combine small pieces of papaya with pieces of mango, pineapple and orange. A fruit salad serves as a perfect cold snack on a hot summer day. If you want to give more flavor to your ice tea or to your bottle water, you can add pieces of papaya to enjoy a more fruity flavor. Another way of using papaya is by combining it with other ingredients to make a salsa. You can combine it with red peppers, mango, jalapenos and chipotle  pepper. This salsa tastes great with home-made tacos, or with a burrito. Pieces of frozen papaya also give a sweet tropical taste to your smoothie. You can make a smoothie of Greek yoghurt, banana, pineapple juice and papaya. This healthy smoothie is an energy booster at the beginning of the day.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 3747x
Added: 07-10-2016 16:54
Last modified: 29-10-2016 15:52

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