Picture Courtesy : fruitsage.com
What a colorful fruit! I used to hate it, and all in my family used to love it. It has immense power and potential in itself to heal our body. It is sweet, soft, butter-like and even considered exotic, hence rightly named "Fruit of the Angels" by Christopher Columbus. It is also called "papaw" or "pawpaw".
The fruit is on an average 7 inches long, but it can grow even up to 20 inches. The tree grows to 5-10 meters. The peak season is during summer and fall, but nowadays, you can find it all year through in the markets. Even its seeds are edible, but they do have a bitter taste. Most part of the tree is said to contain an enzyme "papain" which helps to digest proteins. The fruit contains max amount of the enzyme when it is not ripe.
- Antioxidants like Vitamin C and carotenes
- B vitamins like folate
- Minerals like potassium and magnesium
- Lots of Vitamin A
- Aids digestion and digestive disorder treatment, preventing constipation and ulcers (even seeds help in expelling worms when taken with honey)
- Improves the Immune system hence gets rid of cold or flu easily
- Protect kidneys in cases of toxicity-induced kidney failure
- May even prevent growth of cancerous cells in colon, liver, etc. (studies have indicated)
- Prevents heart problems caused from diabetes or cholesterol, even lowers cholesterol levels
- Prevents nausea and morning sickness
- Reduces pain in diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis
- Prevents premature aging by restricting wrinkles.
- Brightens and lightens skin color.
- Reduces pimples, acne and pores in skin.
- Heals cuts, stings, rashes or burns.
- Supplements for food during dieting.
- Controls and limits dandruff in hair.
- Reduces menstrual irregularities in women (raw papaya).
Even the stem and bark are also used for purposes like rope production.
When choosing a papaya, look for one that is fairly large, half yellow or more, and slightly soft. It should yield to gentle palm pressure. Avoid papayas that are too soft, or those that have scars or blemishes.
Quick Serving Tips:-
- Dice papaya and sprinkle little lime juice.
- Add diced papaya into a fruit salad.
- Make a smoothie with papaya, strawberries and yohurt.
- Make a dip by mixing papaya, coriander leaves, green peppers and ginger.