WELL BEING: Papaya

31 Jul

The world over, papaya is known as the “Wonder Fruit”.  No surprise as this tropical fruit is creamy delicious and packs a punch nutritionally.  Papaya contains high amounts of the ACE vitamins: A, C and E.  These anti-oxidants, vitamins A, C and E are highly beneficial for a variety of reasons, including boosting our immune systems, clearing up acne, protecting our bodies from infections and enhancing our eyesight, especially against blurred vision and night blindness.

Papaya is also abundant in bioflavonoids, B vitamins and substantial minerals including potassium, magnesium, and calcium.  The nutritional highlight of papaya is its proteolytic enzymes called papain and chymonpapain, which are excellent aids to digestion.  These enzymes are so powerful that they can digest an amazing 200 times their weight in protein.  Papain assists our body in digesting and assimilating the maximum nutritional value from the food we eat.

It is said that while Christopher Columbus was searching for the New World, he called papaya “The Fruit of the Angels”.  Stories suggest that Columbus was introduced to the fruit by the local natives of South America when his crew complained of digestive disorders.  He went on to report that the natives ate heavy meals of fish and meat but finished off with generous portions of papaya, that they never seemed to complain of indigestion and they were “strong”.

Nowadays, you can get papaya enzymes in a chewable or capsule form at your local health food store.  These enzymes soothe acid reflux, relieve inflammation and have a natural laxative effect.  Whether taken in pill form or eaten fresh, papaya assists in digesting whatever we eat; protein, carbohydrates and fats.

In fact, the anti-inflammatory virtues of papain in papaya greatly reduce inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma.  If you are a smoker, or are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, consuming papaya juice regularly for its high vitamin A content will reduce your lung inflammation.

The rich fiber in papaya has been shown to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon, eliminating from the body naturally.

Here are 3 fresh and delicious papaya recipes, perfect for light summer dining.  To your health!

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup diced papaya
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1  passion fruit, take out the pulp
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 tsp sugar, honey or alternative sweetener 
  • 4 tbsp organic Greek yogurt

Blend until thoroughly smooth in blender.  Great for on-the-go.  Drink up!

Papaya Gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds papaya
  • 3/4 pound jicama
  • 1 large mango
  • 1 (seedless) cucumber
  • 1 large orange
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves

Peel, seed and dice the papaya, jicama, mango, cucumber and orange; cut into 1/2-inch dice. Combine the fruit in a shallow bowl.

Combine the lime juice, chili powder and salt in a small cup; pour the mixture over the fruit. Add the cilantro and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately.

Papaya Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/4 dice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Toss together and refrigerate.  Makes a delicious dip or an incredible topping for grilled fish.  Enjoy!

Send questions and comments to lynnvannoy@gmail.com or visit http://www.lynnvannoy.com

The information in this column is not intended as medical advice. Its intention is solely informational and educational.

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