The papaya originates in South and Central America, and it was the Spanish and Portuguese explorers who took papayas to other subtropical lands. The papaya was so revered by the explorers that Christopher Columbus called it “the fruit of the angels.”
Hawaii is the major U.S. producer where genetically modified papayas have contaminated organically grown papayas.
Today Brazil is the world’s leading producer of papayas, and other large commercial producers include the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
Health Benefits of Papaya
Nutrients in Papaya
Papayas are a good source of antioxidants such as carotenes, vitamin C, and flavonoids. They are also a good source of folic acid, vitamins E and A, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
Preliminary studies have concluded that papaya juice contains agents that reduce high blood pressure. Further studies are needed to substantiate this research.
Papaya and its seeds have proven anti-parasitic and anti-amoebic activities, and their consumption offers a cheap, natural, harmless, readily available preventive strategy against intestinal parasites.
The leaves of the papaya contain a component called carpaine, and preliminary studies have suggested it to be beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Papaya, especially when green or unripe, contains papain, an enzyme that aids digestion. This protein-digesting enzyme is used as an ingredient in many meat tenderizers, and is also found in digestive enzyme dietary supplements. Papain is used to treat indigestion, chronic diarrhea and constipation, hay fever, sports injuries and allergies.
Glycemic Index of Papaya
In a study to determine the glycemic index of various fruits, it was concluded that papaya has an intermediate GI, neither high nor low.
Carpaine can be dangerous in high doses
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
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