Also called the pawpaw or mamao fruit, there are two basic varieties of papayas available. The more common Hawaiian variety tends to be smaller in size, weighing on average one pound while the Mexican variety can weigh as much as 20 pounds. The Hawaiian variety has a more intense flavor, but both tend to be delicious.
The skin of the fruit can range in colour from green to yellow-orange depending on the degree of ripeness. Fruit ready to eat will give way when pressed gently. The flesh is bright orange with a hollow centre containing peppercorn style seeds. The seeds are edible and held in high regard in traditional medicine due to their curative properties. The flesh has a sweet creamy taste with mild aroma.
Heavenly Papaya Smoothie
- 1 cup diced and frozen papaya
- ¼ plain yogurt
- ½ almond milk
- 4-5 large strawberries
Blend all ingredients in a blender for 30 – 40 seconds, or until a desired consistency is reached and enjoy!
- Chia Seeds
This tropical goldmine is loaded with nutrients. A one cup serving of 140 grams supplies 144% of the daily vitamin C requirements. It also supplies 31% of the day’s vitamin A needs, 10% of the potassium needs, 4% of magnesium, 3% of each calcium, thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid, 2% of niacin, and 1% of each iron, vitamin B6, phosphorus, zinc and copper. The story does not end here. The same serving also delivers one gram of protein and three grams of dietary fiber and only 55 calories. All this with the added benefit of no saturated fats, cholesterol and only trace amounts of sodium. Furthermore, papayas contain a number of very beneficial phytonutrients like alpha and beta carotene, zeaxanthan, lutein and lycopene.
Health Benefits of Papaya
Papayas house a number of exceptional enzymes including papain and chymopapain which have been linked with lowering inflammation and aiding against diseases like osteoarthritis and asthma. Additionally they aid in healing burns. The fiber in papaya is believed to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and keeping it healthy. The flavonoids in papaya protect against lung and other cancers, while the antioxidants in the fruit delay the aging process by offering the body a large number of free radical scavengers.
The lack of cholesterol and elevated amounts of fiber aid in keeping cholesterol levels in check; the special digestive enzymes aid digestion by facilitating protein breakdown. The high water content of the fruit maintains regular bowel movements and prevents constipation.