NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES OF PAPAYA
Antioxidant properties of papaya
Papayas are noted for its vitamin C and vitamin A content. Vitamin A appears in papayas as carotene, mainly beta carotene, gamma-carotene and epsilon-carotene. Vitamin C and carotenoids are two of the major antioxidants that help eliminate free radicals generated by the body itself, as well as those produced by external factors.
Fruits of papaya
Ingestion of this food is a natural way to take profit of antioxidants whose many benefits include, for example: prevention of many cancers, such as those affecting the breast, bladder, colon, or cervix. They can also prevent or delay premature aging, prevent visual degeneration, protect the heart, or the need for increased intake of vitamin C in smoking or alcoholism.
Half a papaya contains about 190 mg of vitamin C, an amount that doubles the recommended daily dose for an adult, which is 90 mg in men and 75 in women. 140 g of this fruit (A cup of papaya pieces) provide 86.5 mg of vitamin C, so it virtually covers the recommended dose.
Papayas are especially recommended for smokers who need a higher dose of vitamin C. Smoking tobacco, for itsaoxidizing properties, consume plenty of antioxidants by forcing the smoker to a higher intake of vitamin C - (120 mg daily). Eating a papaya surpasses the required amount.
Papayas can often be a good resource to increase fertility of men. It has been proved that sperm has been declining in quality or in quantity, or in their mobility in men who inhabit certain geographical areas, especially in large cities. It is thought that pollution and stress consume more antioxidants and decrease body levels of vitamin C.
Supplements of this vitamin have been able in most cases to reverse the problem in a short period of time. Eating this food from time to time may be a nicer way to overcome infertility or increase the reproductive capacity of Man.
Papayas are rich in a compound called papain or papayotin. Papain is an enzyme with properties similar to pepsin (an enzyme that is part of the gastric juices) or trypsin (enzyme which forms part of pancreatic juice). Like these enzymes, papain attacks the proteins producing their destruction.
This type of enzymes that disaggregate proteins are known as proteolytic enzymes, such as bromelain occurs with pineapple, actidine in kiwi or ficin in figs.
Open fruit of papaya
Proteolytic enzymes are very interesting because they help break up proteins in food and promote digestion, avoiding gastritis and flatulence. Therefore, papaya, besides being very vitaminizing, it is highly digestive and an interesting fruit for old people who often have digestive problems digesting too much fatty food.
No wonder that the Mexican culinary variety uses to present the meat dishes wrapped with papaya leaves in order to make them more tender and digestible. In the Caribbean cuisine, many cooks prepare hard meat wrapped with leaves or wet with papaya juice to soften it. The food industry uses to treat meat with papain to make it more chewy.
Can papaya be responsible for infertility?
Despite containing much vitamin C, that possesses fertilizing properties, it appears that papaya papain inhibits estrogen production, therefore it could not very suitable for fertility in women.
It is said that eating plenty of these fruits can produce infertility or low reproduction in women, such as it happens in certain villages where women consume this fruit abundantly. The truth is that there are not determining enough studies on this subject
Papaya for weight diets
Papayas are very light fruits. They only have 39 calories per 100 g. Besides, they are very rich in potassium and low in sodium. Taking this into account, papayas become very convenient to treat liquid retentions, being very suitable to lose weight.
How to choose and eat papayas?
If purchased mature, they should have not any skin mark indicating that they may be rotten inside. When you buy them green, you have to choose those that have begun to mature, so they will show some yellow tones. The best ones are those having a yellowish color in three quarters of their surface.
They must be firm when pressed gently, not flabby below. Maturation has to take place out of the refrigerator, something that will normally happen in four or five days. If placed in the refrigerator once mature, they can withstand up to a week, although they will loose their aroma and sweetness, so it is better to eat them in a couple of days after they have matured.
They must not be purchased when completely green, except if we want to use them medicinally, since in many cases they will not ripen. One trick to accelerate maturation is to put them into a plastic bag with some bananas.
In their native place, they are eaten both green and ripe. When green, they can be cooked as if they were zucchini. In fact, they taste very similar to them. Green papayas are ideal for baking, which requires a baking period of about 20 to 25 minutes at a temperature of about 300 º C.
In the United States, it is very common to eat them at breakfast with a squeeze of lemon. In other parts of the world, they are eaten as fruit, in cakes, in salads or they are used to prepare beverages.
The most common way to eat a papaya is as a fresh fruit. To do this, you should split it along in half. Remove the seeds and eat the pulp with the help of a spoon.
We can also cut it into slices, cubes or shaped as desired. The advantage of this fruit is that, after cutting it, it does not become black.
Normally, we despise the papaya seeds though they are edible and can be used crushed for salad dressings. In this case, they have a very spicy flavor reminiscent of mustard.
PAPAYA NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Contraindications and toxicity of papayas
- We must be very careful in handling this fruit when green because it produces a milk-like juice that is irritating to the eyes, and could lead to vision loss.
- Papayas can not be used with preparations needing coagulation, since this fruit, in the same way as pineapple, prevents coagulation of blood.
More information about papaya.
Other interesting articles
This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.