Papaya is an incredible fruit that contains numerous nutritional benefits. To begin, it functions as a bulwark against the development of diabetic heart disease by being a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Both of these nutrients are crucial in preventing the buildup of cholesterol and formation of plaque in the arteries. Papayas are also an excellent source of fiber, and because of this they are effective in lowering an individual’s cholesterol levels. This fruit aids in the digestion process, and can play a role in preventing the development of colon cancer. Papaya’s anti-inflammatory effects make it ideal when dealing with neuropathic disorders and injuries. As mentioned before, since this fruit carries with it high concentrations of Vitamin A and C, it is effective in preventing arthritis, boosting one’s immune system and protecting against macular degeneration (loss of vision).
Papaya is thought to have originated in Central America, possibly Mexico where it first began to be cultivated. It was held in high regard by the native Indians of central America, and then equally cherished by Spanish and Portuguese explorers that brought it back to Europe. Once considered an exotic fruit, an influx of Latin Americans into the United States in recent years has brought Papaya to immense popularity, to the point that it is scarce in some areas of the country!
Papaya can be prepared in numerous ways. It is often mixed into salads or served as a complementary item to meat, poultry or fish. One interesting adaptation of papaya, known as the “papaya boat”, is to slice the fruit in half and stuff it with yogurt, nuts, raisins and various other types of food. Papaya can also be liquidated and turned either into a smoothie or a versatile dressing that taste excellent on almost any sort of food.
Finally, in terms of nutrition: a diced cup of papaya contains 55 calories, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 8.5 g sugar, 1 g protein, is an excellent source of potassium (useful for your heart) and provides over 100% of one’s daily vitamin C requirements.