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Papaya: Another Tropical Healer

papaya_another_tropical_healer_imagePapayas are pear-shaped fruits that can be as long as twenty inches, but those in typical supermarkets are about seven inches and weigh about a pound. The soft fruit of the papaya is a deep orange color with either yellow or pink hues and a sweet taste. Papayas contain round black seeds that are surrounded by a gelatin-like substance. The seeds are edible but so bitter they are not typically eaten.

Papayas are originally from Central America and around the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they became quite popular with Spanish explorers, who took them to other tropical lands such as the Philippines and parts of Africa. This fruit was loved so much by explorers that even Christopher Columbus was noted to have said that it was "the fruit of the angels." In the twentieth century, papayas were brought to the United States and have been cultivated in Hawaii, which is the major U.S. producer since the early 1900's. Today, the largest commercial producers of papayas are in the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Papayas have papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins and is higher in the fruit when it is unripe. Papain is such a good, strong digestive enzyme, that many supplements on the market today include papain to help break down and digest food, especially protein. Additionally, papain is used to treat various conditions such as indigestion, chronic diarrhea, hay fever, allergies, sports injuries, and other causes of trauma.

papaya_prevent_ulcers_imagePapayas may also help to prevent ulcers. Some studies have shown that consumption of papayas help to counteract the irritating effects of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs to the lining of the stomach.

The yellow-orange meat of papayas is loaded with carotenoids, natural plant pigments that are responsible for the color of the fruit and also improve the health of your skin. The carotenoids in papayas are very powerful antioxidants; they are so strong in fact that studies have shown that they significantly help to lower the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer, which are the top two killers in America. While many fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, papayas are the highest, most concentrated source.

Papayas are an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, and flavonoids. These compounds make papayas a great food for protecting against cancer, heart disease, and other diseases that are associated with free-radical damage. They are also a good source of folic acid, vitamins A and E, potassium, and fiber.

When buying papayas, if you want to eat the papaya within a day or two of purchasing it, choose ones that have a reddish-orange skin and that are slightly soft to the touch. Papayas that have yellow patches will take longer to ripen. Avoid papayas that are completely green or that are overly hard, because the fruit will never fully ripen to its normal sweet and juicy flavor. Papayas that are partially yellow should be left at room temperature, where they will ripen in a few days. Ripe papayas should be stored in the fridge.

Raw Papaya Cake and Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients for the papaya cake:

* 1 cup of raw almonds

* 1/2 cup of apricot seeds

* 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts

* 1/2 cup of dried papaya

* 12 pitted medjool dates

* 3 tablespoons of flax seeds

* 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla (all natural-alcohol free)

* 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Get the rest of the recipe at

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