Papayas are native to central America, Papaya have a wonderfully soft, butter-like consistency and a sweet, musky taste. Botanically, they are known as Carica papaya. Inside their inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. Papayas’ seeds are edible with a peppery flavor. The most popular varieties are Hawaiian and Mexican.
Papaya is rich in the carotenoids beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Not only are these carotenoids considered to be “pro-vitamin A” nutrients because they are converted into vitamin A in the body, but they have powerful antioxidants activity as well. Both of these functions make them important nutrients for promoting lung health.
In addition to the antioxidants found in Papaya, they also contain a protein-digesting enzyme called chymopapain. This enzyme has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve healing from burns. This may explain why people with diseases that get worse with inflammation- such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis- find that their condition may be reduced when they eat Papaya.
Papaya is also a concentrated source of many other nutrients providing additional health-promoting benefits. These nutrients include heart-healthy folate, potassium, dietary fibers, vitamin C and vitamin E.
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