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Papaya Fruit Health Benefits

Papaya, papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. The papaya is a large, tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk.

 

The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts.

 

Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people.

 

The fruit is one of the favourites of fruit lovers for its nutritional, digestive, and medicinal properties.

 

It probably thought to have originated in the Central Americas. Papaya fruit is also rich in many essential B-complex vitamins such as Folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamine (vitamin B-1).

 

These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and play a vital role in metabolism.

 

Fresh papaya also contains a good amount of potassium (257 mg per 100 g) and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure countering effects of sodium.

 

Papaya’s seeds are edible, although their peppery flavour is somewhat bitter. The fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins.

 

This enzyme is especially concentrated in the fruit when it is unripe. Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels.

 

The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine.

 

Today papaya can be found all year long with the peak season being early summer and fall.

 

Most of the papayas imported come from Hawaii, but smaller quantities from Florida, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central and South American countries are becoming more available.

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