By Elizabeth Desquiron
Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency, it is no reason the papaya was reputably called the “fruit of the angels” by renowned explorer Christopher Columbus. Papayas are spherical or pear shaped fruits that can be long as 20 inches. Papayas that are commonly found in the market usually average about 7 inches and weigh about only one pound. The color of the flesh is a red orange color with either yellow or pink hues. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased with in gelatinous-like substance. Papaya’s seeds are edible and their peppery flavor is somewhat bitter.
Papayas not only offer lusciously taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are a rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as such as carotenes, vitamin C and the favonioids; the B vitamins, folate and panothenic acid; and the minerals potassium and magnesium, together, these minerals promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. Papaya also contains the enzyme papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found pineapple, to treat sport injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
In addition to being a great source of antioxidant nutrients, the papaya is also an excellent source of fiber, which is shown to lower high cholesterol levels. The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversation of a substance called homocysteine in benign amino acids such as cysteine or methione. If unconverted, homocytseine can damage blood vessel walls and, if levels get too high, is considered a risk factor for a heart attack or stroke.
Furthermore, adding papayas in your daily diet can help in the prevention against Rheumatoid arthritis. According to a study presented in Annals of the Rheumatoid Diseases eating Vitamin C rich foods such as papayas provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.
Another important fact: If you or someone love is a heavy smoker or frequently exposed to second hand smoke, then making papaya part of your healthy way of eating may save your life. According to a research study from Kansas State University, that eating papaya can reduces your chances of developing emphysema and lung cancer by 30 to 40 percent.
Also see Cucumbers: the juicy vegetable