Sweet, absolutely delicious, gorgeous orange-apricot color, a musky flavor with a soft butter kind of consistency, the papaya was called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. Known for it’s digestive enzymes and high Vit C content, the papaya is a tropical fruit that is now available in most grocery stores.
Papaya are spherical or pear shaped fruits that can be as long as 20”. Common size is around 7” and weighs from 1 to 2 pounds. Depending on your grocer, they can be anywhere from $1.79 a pound to $2.99 a pound according to seasonal availability.
Believe it or not, you can eat the seeds! Although most people discard them, they are great in a blender adding a peppery flavor to your salad dressings!
Papayas offer a rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, Vit. C and flavonoids, B vitamins, folate and panthotenic acid, fiber and many minerals, including potassium, copper and magnesium. These nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.
Papayas may also be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. These nutrients help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Only when cholesterol becomes oxidized is it able to stick to and build up in blood vessel walls, forming dangerous plaques that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes. One way in which dietary vitamin E and vitamin C may exert this effect is through their suggested association with a compound called paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol oxidation.
Papayas also may be helpful in the prevention of colon cancer. The fiber in papaya is able to bind to cancer causing toxins in the colon and keep them away from the healthy cells. Folate, Vit. C, beta-carotene and Vit E all contained in papaya, can help to protect the DNA in the colon from free radical damage.
Helpful also as an anti-inflammatory,immune system support, protection against macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis, the papaya truly is the “fruit of the angels.”!