The No.1 nutritious fruits
Pros and cons of Papayas
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The papaya, papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Arica of the plant family Caricaceae. The papaya is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 meters tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 centimeters diameter. The tree is usually unbranched, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like.
Advantages of Papayas
- Excellent source of vitamins and minerals – Papaya fruit is a rich source of nutrients such as provitamin-A carotenoids, vitamin C, B vitamins, lycopene, dietary minerals and dietary fibers. Papaya skin, pulp and seeds also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including natural phenols. Danielone is a type of phytoalexin found in the papaya fruit. This compound showed high antifungal activity against Colletotrichum gloesporioides, a pathogenic fungus found in papaya.
- Can be eaten in a variety of ways – The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. In Thai cuisine, papaya is used to make Thai salads such as som tam and Thai curries such as kaeng som. In Indonesian cuisine, the unripe green fruits and young leaves are boiled for use as part of lalab salad, while the flower buds are saut?ed and stir fried with chili and green tomatoes as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable dish. Papayas have a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.
- Used in meat tenderizing – Both green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are rich in papain, a protease used for tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.
- Herbal medicine benefits – Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems. Papain is also applied topically in countries where it grows for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, have long used green papaya as herbal medicine for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.
Disadvantages of Papayas
- Susceptible to papaya ringspot virus and fruit fly (food grower’s problem) - papaya ringspot virus causes premature molting and malformation of the leaves. In the 1990s, the papaya ringspot virus threatened to wipe out Hawaii's papaya industry completely. Genetically altered plants that have some of the virus's DNA incorporated into the DNA of the plant are resistant to the virus. Cultivars that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the virus were then introduced there. In 2004, it was found that papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced hybridization with the genetically modified varieties and that many seed stocks were contaminated. The papaya is also susceptible to the fruit fly, a small wasp-like insect that lays its eggs in young fruit.
What makes Papayas a really good fruit compared to others
The papaya is regarded as one of the less-popular fruits in the world. Even if the papaya fruit is not so delicious (may vary by taste) compared to grapes and apples, the whole papaya (fruit and tree) is useful both industrially and as food source. The papaya can be eaten in many ways and the fruit itself also has many health benefits. Ripe papaya fruit is used for treating constipation and papaya sap has tenderizing effects. Papaya extracts have many health benefits like breast-enlarging benefits and callus removing/tenderizing abilities.
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By Avi Romano
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