Papaya – A tropical wonder of taste and health

The papaya, (scientific name: Carica papaya) a tropical fruit from the Caricaea family, is mainly identified with the tropical regions of Central America, but its cultivation also spreads to other regions of the world such as India and Africa. With names like the “fruit of the angels,” the papaya is loved for its sweet, versatile taste and impressive health properties.

The papaya is a rich and diverse fruit that comes in several different varieties, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Here you can find information on several common types of papaya:

  1. Papaya Meridiana (Mexican Papaya) – this variety is particularly large and can reach a weight of up to 4.5 kilograms. Its fruits are long and have a green skin that turns yellow when the fruit is ripe. The flesh is bright orange with a sweet taste and juicy texture. Mostly used for fresh consumption or for canning.
  2. Hawaiian Papaya (Hawaiian Papaya) – a smaller variety than the Meridian, whose weight usually does not exceed one kilogram. It has yellow skin and bright orange flesh. This variety is sweeter than the Meridiana and is mainly used for fresh consumption or as part of fruit mixes.
  3. Red papaya (Red Papaya) – also known as “regular papaya”, with darker flesh ranging from orange to red. It offers a rich and sweet taste with a hint of acidity. Especially suitable for juices and smoothies and widely used in cooking and baking.
  4. Green papaya (Green Papaya) – This papaya is picked before it reaches maturity, and is mainly used in Asian cuisine. The green and less juicy flesh is often used in salads such as Thai papaya salad, and is known as a crispy and tasty addition to various dishes.

Each of these varieties brings with it different flavors and textures, and you can find the optimal use for each variety according to its characteristics.

Properties of papaya

The papaya is a small tree, reaching a height of up to 10 meters. The tree bears flowers and fruits at the same time, and its fruit is round or prismatic in shape. The skin of the fruit is green at first and turns yellow or orange when the fruit is ripe. The flesh of the papaya is soft and juicy with an orange or pink hue and a groove in the center containing many black seeds.
Papaya grows well in areas with a warm and humid climate. It requires direct sun and regular watering. The papaya fruit is ready to pick when the skin starts to change from green to yellow or orange.
The papaya is not only a delicious fruit but also a health food with many medicinal and cosmetic properties, making it an excellent choice for any healthy menu.

What is good about papaya?

The papaya is a tropical fruit with many benefits for health, nutritionally and medically. Some of the notable properties of papaya include:

  • Rich in vitamins: papaya contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is essential for strengthening the immune system, as well as vitamins A and E, which are known for their antioxidant properties and support skin and vision health.
  • Contains enzymatic acids: papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which helps in the digestion process and improves the breakdown of proteins in the digestive system. This is an enzyme that is also found in pharmaceutical preparations to aid digestion.
  • Helps reduce inflammation: Papaya contains strong anti-inflammatory substances, including the previously mentioned papain, which can help relieve symptoms of inflammation and maintain joint health.
  • High fiber content: Papaya provides dietary fiber that helps maintain the digestive system and promotes a feeling of satiety, which may help control body weight. In addition, the calorie content of papaya is relatively low, making it suitable for weight watchers menus.
  • A source of essential minerals: papaya contains magnesium, potassium and calcium, all of which support bone health, normal blood pressure and nervous system function.

 

Nutritional values ​​of papaya per 100 grams:

 

  • Calories: 43
  • Proteins: 0.47 grams
  • Fat: 0.26 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 10.82 grams
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Vitamin C: 60.9 mg (over 100% of the recommended amount per day)
  • Folate: 37 micrograms
  • Vitamin A: 47 micrograms
Papaya also contains high levels of the enzyme papain, which helps digest proteins and relieves digestive symptoms.

 

Papaya in medicine:

Papaya is widely used medically thanks to its bioactive components. It may help in:

  • Relief of digestive symptoms: help prevent constipation and abdominal pain.
  • Strengthening the immune system: high in vitamin C supports the body’s defense mechanisms.
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease: strong antioxidant activity helps prevent damage to arteries.
  • Support for eye health: the vitamin A and lycopene in the fruit support healthy vision.

What are some of the health benefits of papaya?

The papaya is recognized not only as a delicious fruit but also as a fruit with impressive medicinal properties. It contains bioactive components that contribute to health in a variety of ways:

  • Digestion and relief of constipation: papaya is rich in the enzyme papain, which helps break down and digest proteins. This is a feature that can promote healthy digestive processes and relieve symptoms such as constipation and bloating.
  • Antioxidant activity: papaya contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene, all of which are strong antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for preventing damage that leads to chronic diseases and premature aging.
  • Support eye health: thanks to the content of vitamin A and lycopene, papaya can support eye health and protect them from macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Reducing inflammation and pain: The enzymes and antioxidants in papaya can reduce inflammation and relieve pain, which may help those suffering from inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and asthma.
  • Immune system support: Papaya may strengthen the immune system thanks to the high content of vitamin C and folate, both of which are known to support immune processes in the body.
  • Treatment of wounds and scratches: studies show that the use of papaya as a local healing agent can help in the healing processes of wounds and scratches, when the enzymes in the fruit accelerate recovery and healing.

The papaya is a wonderful fruit not only because it is delicious but also thanks to its ability to support the health of the body in a variety of ways, making it an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Papaya in cosmetics:

Beyond its nutritional benefits, papaya is also used in the cosmetics industry. The enzymes and vitamins in the fruit help to improve the appearance of the skin, reduce wrinkles and provide an even tone. Preparations with papaya extract are known for their ability to renew and contribute to a younger looking skin.

What can be done with the papaya seeds?

The papaya seeds are a lesser known but very effective part of the fruit, which also carries many medicinal and nutritional properties which I expanded on in the article “What is good about papaya seeds?”. They are small, dark, and have a spicy taste that reminds a little of the taste of black pepper. In Halacha, people sometimes use the seeds as a substitute for spices such as black pepper in various recipes. Want to know how to use papaya seeds? Visit the article How To Turn Papaya Seeds Into Black Pepper Spice?

 

Why is papaya called the fruit of angels?

The papaya is called the “fruit of the angels” mainly due to its sweet and juicy taste and the many nutritional properties it offers. This nickname was coined by Christopher Columbus, who described the fruit as the “fruit of the angels” after tasting it during one of his voyages to America. He admired the delicate taste and high nutritional values ​​of the fruit, which include important vitamins, minerals and enzymes that can contribute to human health.
*** Natural face masks that include papaya ***
*** Delicious recipes containing papaya ***
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