A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can your PawPaw Improve Health?

PawPaw, or what most of us call Papaya, is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and enzymes that all play a big part in keeping us healthy.  Papaya is native to Central America and was spread across other parts of the world as explorers ventured on multiple voyages.  Today, papaya is provided to the U.S. mainly by Hawaii.  The U.S. is also one of the largest commercial producers of papaya.

With the warmer weather fast approaching, I've had the refreshing taste of tropical fruits on my mind.  In terms of tropical fruit nutrition, papayas rank as one of the best.

Some of the most notable qualities of papaya are:

•Papaya contains the digestive enzyme papain and therefore valuable for aiding digestion.
•The unique protein-digesting enzymes; papain and chymopapain have been shown to help lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns in addition to helping in digestion of proteins. The antioxidant nutrients found in papaya, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, are also very good at reducing inflammation.
•The ripe fruit is easily digestible and prevents constipation.
•Case studies indicate that this food taken alone for two or three days has a highly beneficial tonic effect upon the stomach and intestines.
•The juice of the papaya aids in relieving infections of the colon and has a tendency to break down pus and mucus reached by the juice.
•May help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue (ripe papaya). Papaya’s fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and keep them away from the healthy colon cells. In addition, papaya’s folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E have each been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer
•Prevents nausea (includes morning sickness and motion sickness)
•The seeds are antihelmintic, for expelling worms and they are given with honey. Chew and swallow two teaspoonfuls of seeds after each principal meal (three times a day).
•Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin E and vitamin A (through their concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients), three very powerful antioxidants.
•Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels.
The enzyme in papaya, papain, also comes in pill or tablet form, usually combined with other digestive aids that help soothe and regulate your digestive system.  I take an edible tablet every night with my meal and sometimes in the morning.  This has proven to help settle my stomach and prevent it from becoming painful.  I enjoy eating whole, unprocessed foods, but some can really test your digestive system without the aid of these enzymes.

Papaya should not be limited to just taking a pill for its enzymes.  The taste of papaya is very pleasant and is great alone or paired with other fruit in a smoothie.  Try slicing a papaya in half, scoop out the seeds, and put some cottage cheese or yogurt on top to enjoy a tasty, protein filled breakfast, lunch, or snack.  Be sure to save the seeds as they are edible themselves and have their own benefits as well.  

You can also find papaya mixed with mango and strawberries in some freezer sections.  Tropical fruits like mango and papaya stay soft enough when frozen to make a great, chilly treat that beats ice cream any time of day!

If you are in the mood for something more savory, mix diced papaya with jalapenos, fresh cilantro, ginger, and a squirt of lime for a unique salsa that goes great with white seafood like shrimp, tilapia, or scallops.  Oh, almost forgot, for extra spice....just add cayenne!

For more info on this pear-shaped fruit, visit this site.


  1. You take the papaya. I'll take the strawberries

  2. Although I'm a huge fan of strawberries as well as other fruits, this sounds like a good deal to me!!