Papayas are native to Central America and northern parts of South America. They’ve been cultivated there centuries before Spanish and Portuguese explorers came to discover that part of the world. It was mostly due to them that the fruit was propagated to other regions with a tropical climate.
This fruit enjoys some popularity in the scientific community. It’s one of the first fruits whose genome was completely mapped out. Various parts of the plant, from seeds to leaves, have also been subject to various studies most of which investigate its potential benefits to human health. But even before all that, indigenous cultures had already been using papayas medicinally.
Once described by Christopher Columbus as “the fruit of angels”, the Superhuman Food Pyramid wholly recommends that you include papayas in your diet. Read on to discover how this fruit can help you Become Superhuman.
The typical size and weight of each piece of papaya is around 300 grams. Assuming you can consume half of the fruit every day, you would receive the following percentages of vitamin and mineral daily requirements:
- 61% Vitamin A
- 111% Vitamin C
- 15% Folate or Vitamin B9
- 7.5% Potassium
- 3% Calcium
Of course these are just some of the more abundant nutrients in papaya. A variety of B-complex vitamins such as thiamine and riboflavin, minerals like iron and magnesium, and loads of dietary fiber can also be had from eating just half of the whole fruit daily.
One prominent phytochemical found in the fruit is lycopene. This substance is actually a carotene found in various reddish colored fruits and vegetables. Although it isn’t converted by the body into Vitamin A, some research has linked lycopene with possible anti-cancer benefits. It has antioxidant properties and is regarded as quite effective against a highly reactive form of molecular oxygen, one of several free radical factors that potentially damage cells.
More specific to the papaya is the enzyme called papain. This substance is sometimes described as a digestive enzyme because it easily breaks down proteins. Papain is in fact commercially used as an ingredient in meat tenderizing powder. Eating a few servings of this fruit along with a heavy meat-based dish will likely prevent digestive problems that could occur later on.
Another benefit to the intestines comes from the fruit’s seeds. One study in 2007 was able to show how papaya seeds were effective against intestinal parasites. The research used papaya seed extract and a 20 milliliter dose reduced 75% of the parasite infection after seven days.
Papaya Practical Uses:
A red-orange or yellow colored skin and slight softness tells you the papaya is ripe and ready to eat. If most of the skin is still green with only a few patches of yellow then you might want to leave it in room temperature for a few days to let the fruit ripen.
Unripe papayas are used in Asian cuisine and usually prepared as a salad. The Thai dish som tam is an example. The dressing for this salad uses fish sauce or shrimp paste, some honey, vegetable oil, cayenne pepper and lime juice. Other ingredients may include spring onions, tomatoes, fresh coriander and roasted peanuts or cashews. Since unripe or green papaya is quite tough, you’ll need to use a grater to render the fruit into narrow chewable strips.
To take advantage of the parasite-fighting properties of papaya seeds, include them when you turn the fruit into a smoothie. There can be quite a lot of these seeds in the fruit but you’ll only need a tablespoon. You can refrigerate the remainder for later use. A pretty strong blender is probably necessary in order to completely grind the seeds. It is suggested that you drink this cleansing smoothie in the morning on an empty stomach and then follow it up with a natural laxative.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of peaches that will help you in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the fruits on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of papayas, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of papayas.