Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Facts and Health Benefits about Papaya

Facts about Papaya:

  1. The papaya is the fruit of the Carica Papaya tree.
  2. It is native to southern Mexico and Central America and is now cultivated in many tropical regions.
  3. The fruit sometimes used to be referred to as a "tree melon." In Australia it is called Papaw or Paw Paw.
  4. Today there are two varieties of papaya, Hawaiian and Mexican. The Mexican papaya can weigh as much as ten pounds while the Hawaiian usually weighs about a pound. It is the smaller Hawaiian papaya that is found in most produce aisles.
  5. The papaya was introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800s. Today, Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows papayas commercially.
  6. In the 1990s, two genetically modified varieties of papaya were introduced to Hawaii, making papaya the first genetically modified food to be introduced into the United States food supply.
  7. Unripe, green papaya fruit and the leaves of the papaya tree contain an enzyme called papain. Papain has been used as a natural meat tenderizer for thousands of years and today is an ingredient in many commercial meat tenderizers.
  8. Its tenderizing properties are also being applied to the human body. Injections of papain enzyme are given to treat herniated discs. When Harrison Ford suffered a ruptured disc on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he was treated with papain injections.
  9. Papain has other health benefits. it is also a natural digestive aid and can be applied topically in an ointment to treat burns, rashes, and cuts.
  10. In many parts of the world, unripe papaya has been used for centuries by women as a natural contraceptive and to induce abortion. Modern research has confirmed that unripe papaya does indeed work as a natural contraceptive and can induce abortion when eaten in large quantities.
  11. In addition, research has found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in male monkeys.
  12. Tea made from papaya leaves is consumed in some countries as protection against malaria.
  13. The Papaya Fruit Fly is a threat to the fruit.
  14. The seeds of the fruit resemble peppercorns and are edible. They can be ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper.
  15. Papaya leaves are steamed and eaten in parts of Asia.
  16. The bark of the papaya tree is often used to make rope.
  17. Ripe papaya is usually eaten raw. Unripe papaya can be eaten if cooked and is used in many sauces and dishes around the world.
  18. Papaya contains latex (the white sap that oozes out of an unripe papaya) which can cause an allergic reaction in people with a latex allergy. The greener (more unripe) the fruit is, the more latex it contains.
  19. As with eating too many carrots, eating too much papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of the soles of the feet and the palms. It is temporary and goes away once excessive amounts of papaya are no longer being eaten.
  20. When buying papayas, look for ones that are mostly or completely yellow and give slightly to pressure. Green, hard papayas are unripe and will never ripen properly.
  21. A small papaya contains about 300% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C.

Nutritional Benefits

  • The nutritional highlight of papaya is a proteolytic enzyme called papain which is an excellent aid to digestion. This enzyme is so powerful that it is said to digest an amazing 200 times its own weight in protein. It assists our body's own enzymes in assimilating the maximum nutritional value from the food we eat.
  • Papain can be made into an immediate home remedy treatment for jellyfish sting or other wounds, even surgical wounds. The highest concentration of this substance is on the skin of unripe papayas. Cut the skin and apply it directly to the affected area.
  • Papaya is a wholesome fruit, another of my favourite. It is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene (which is what gives it the orange color; green papaya does not contain this carotene), vitamin A and C and flavonoids, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid.
  • It also contains small amounts of of the minerals calcium, chlorine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and sodium.
  • The carbohydrate content in papaya is mainly of invert sugar which is a form of pre-digested food. The ripe papaya is endowed with an abundance of energy-boosting natural sugars.

Health Benefits

  • The papaya has remarkable medicinal virtues recognized from ancient times. It is not a commonly allergenic food. Being one of the most easily digested fruits, it is an excellent wholesome food for young to old, a rejuvenating choice.
  • The health benefits of papayas are too many to mention, but here is a list of cures for some of the more common ailments:
  • Anti-Inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory virtue from the papain in papaya greatly reduce inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma.
  • Colon Cancer, Prevention Of: The rich fibre in papaya bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and is eliminated from the body during bowel movements.
  • Digestive Aid: Papaya is commonly known for its fine and natural laxative virtue which aids digestion. Taken regularly, it can help habitual constipation, bleeding piles and chronic diarrhoea.
  • Emphysema, Protection Against: If you are a smoker, or are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke, consume papaya juice regularly for its high vitamin A content. This may save your life as it will highly reduce your lung inflammation.
  • Heart Disease, Protection Against: The three very powerful anti-oxidants in papayas help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol forms dangerous plagues that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes.
  • Intestinal Disorders: The papain in unripe papaya is extremely beneficial for those who are deficient in gastric juice, have excess of unhealthy mucus in the stomach, dyspepsia and intestinal irritation.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Consumption of unripe papaya juice help to contract the muscle fibres of the womb, resulting in proper and regular menstrual flow. It is especially helpful in cases of menstruation cessation in young ladies due to cold or trauma.
  • Skin Diseases: The juice from unripe papaya is highly beneficial in treating skin disorders like acne and psoriasis. When applied to wounds, it prevents pus formation and swelling. Paste made from unripe papaya when applied to the face, may remove pigmentation or brown spots, and making the skin smooth and delicate. Try it.
  • Spleen Enlargement: Immerse cut ripe papaya in vinegar for a week, then consume twice a day with meals until spleen is normalized.
  • Throat Disorders: Drink honey mixed in fresh juice from unripe papaya regularly over inflamed tonsils for diphtheria and other throat disorders. It dissolves the membrane and prevents infection from spreading.

Consumption Tips

  • Choose papayas that have reddish-orange skin if you want to eat them within the day of purchase. Avoid fruit that is bruised or has patches of deep orange colour which indicates that it is over-ripe.
  • Purchase green papayas only if you intend to cook them as the flesh will not develop its sweet juicy flavour.
  • If you want to slow the ripening process, keep the fruit in the refrigerator. To hasten the ripening process, keep it out in the open, in room temperature
  • A papaya can be eaten as it is, with its skin cut. Cut the papaya length-wise, and then into smaller pieces. The sweetest part of the papaya is concentrated on the end furthest from the stem.
  • You may also sprinkle your papaya with fresh lime juice. It adds taste to the fruit.
  • Or, finally, blend it with other fruits like strawberry or yogurt to make a smoothie.
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