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Vitamins and Minerals Found Inside Papayas

about papayas and the medicinal properties of papayaPapayas are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals and when eaten raw they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

The papaya is one of the most alkaline fruit we know. The European Vegetarian Union call papayas the wonder fruit and for good reason.

Papayas are loaded with nutrients our bodies seek, and papayas can be both nutritious and delicious when juiced alone or with other ingredients, too. Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about Papayas.

  • What vitamins in papayas make them so good for us?
  • What is the best method for juicing papayas?
  • What are some great buying tips for papayas?

Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information about papayas that you might not find so easily elsewhere on the Internet.

Let's begin our exploration of papayas...

Vitamins and Minerals in Papayas

Papayas are probably best known for being loaded with beta carotene, potassium, calcium and vitamin C, but they are also a great source of the enzyme papain, an enzyme which helps us digest protein. (In fact, papain is used commercially to tenderize meat.) Here is a snapshot of the vitamins and minerals found in papayas.

Vitamins in Papayas

  • Vitamin A
  • Beta Carotene
  • Beta Cryptoxanthin
  • Lutein+Zeaxanthin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

Minerals in Papayas

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Trace amounts of Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese and Selenium

Sidenote: The papaya enzymes like papain are mainly concentrated in the half green fruit the ripe seeds as well as in the leaves of this plant. So... don't throw the seeds away. If you do not like the bitter, spicy taste, dry them and use them like black pepper. They look like pepper, taste like pepper, yet are much healthier than pepper.

Many dedicated "juicers" (people who juice a lot) swear by papaya to provide inflammatory relief and reduce joint aches and pains.

The next time you think about papayas... think about how they might add a powerful boost to your daily nutrition through juicing or in fruit smoothies.

Tips for Juicing Papayas

Juicing papayas can add both flavor and valuable nutrients to most any home-juiced fruity cocktail. The fruit's taste is vaguely similar to pineapple and peach, although much milder without the tartness. Here are a few tips for juicing papayas that may help turn your juicing experience into something you look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.

unripe papayas on papaya treeIMPORTANT NOTES: Wash your hands after handling either the papaya skin or seeds. Both the seeds and skin can cause some people to have itchy skin. Avoid touching your eyes until after you have washed your hands. Also, as it is commonly believed (though not conclusively proven at the time of writing this) to induce abortions, papayas are best avoided by pregnant women.

Be sure to peel the papaya fruit (and cut it into cubes) before juicing it.

Depending on the quality of your juicer, a papaya may not juice well as it can be more mushy.

The flesh of ripe papayas has a smooth and creamy texture that is often so rich that it needs to be diluted with another liquid or water unless that thickness is desired.

Some people with very powerful juicers will juice the skin with the papaya fruit. The seeds are generally not juiced with the fruit and/or skin as it can negatively affect the flavor.

When juicing, papayas go well with pineapple, oranges, and/or cucumbers.

Although very bitter, the papaya leaves can also be juiced. The leaves are highly concentrated with valuable nutrients (including the digestive aid enzyme -- papain) so just 4 to 5 leaves (without stem or sap) produce about 2 to 3 teaspoons of juice that can deliver a powerful dose of the plant's enzymes and vital nutrients.

Save the seeds and dry them. Once dried they can be ground into a great pepper substitute that is also nutritious.

Papayas taste great juiced alone and yet can add a tropical flavor when juiced with other fruit. Try it juiced with fresh coconut flesh and pineapple flesh for a delicious Pina-Colada-like tasting juice. (A sprig of mint is optional.)

Purchasing Tips for Buying Papayas

If you are unable to grow your own Papayas, then here are a few tips for buying papayas that may help you get the freshest ingredients. We'll also include a few storing tips for Papayas that you might find helpful.

Nothing beats the sweet taste of sun-ripened, organically grown papayas. Most of our organic papayas (here in the USA) are grown in Hawaii.

The papaya is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. You want to look for deep colored papayas that are orange, gold or yellow.

At the very least you want papayas with some yellow which indicates it is approaching ripeness.

You don't want mushy papayas. They should be slightly firm. It's okay if the papaya is spotted as this is natural and is a sign of potentially more flavorful juice, but beware of rotten spots and/or bruising.

Unripe papayas will soften when left at room temperature for a day or two.

Ripe fruit should be stored in a refrigerator for only a few days.

Keep in mind that most imported fruit tend to have more chemical pesticides applied so, as I've mentioned elsewhere on this website, try to buy organic when you can. When you can't buy organic, you will want to wash your papayas with a biodegradable fruit and vegetable wash before peeling them and/or storing them.

General Information About Papayas

Papaya trees in a papaya orchardThis article wouldn't be complete if we didn't include a little general information about Papayas, as well as a few helpful links if you want to explore papayas further.

Originally from southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most countries with a tropical climate, such as Brazil, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Haiti, and Southeast Asia.

In South America, its homeland, papaya trees grow like weeds.

In Costa Rica and Mexico, the natives there call the papaya "Tree of Good Health" and regard it as a healing remedy for almost all diseases.

The indigenous people of South and Middle America use the papaya not only for food, but also for healing wounds, for supporting a weak liver, for healing constipation, against worms and parasites, for healing inflammation and skin problems and even for treating cancer. Papaya's ability to break down tough meat fibers was utilized for thousands of years by indigenous Americans.

Some health professionals believe papaya leaf juice can increase the number of white blood cells in the body.) Many alternative health professionals call the native people of South and Middle America the "inventors" of modern enzyme therapy.

For anybody suffering from the effects of cooked food, sugar and meat consumption like "Acidosis" try starting each day with a papaya breakfast.

Here's a great experiment for you. Eat (or juice and drink) one papaya a day for four weeks. After a week or so, you will probably experience the results like: more energy, less sleep, a good mood and clear thoughts. Try it!

Columbus discovered not only America, but also the papaya. When he reached the South-American shores, he was greeted by the natives with a feast. The sailors ate too much after the long journey, and the Indians took them to the rain-forest and offered them papayas for releasing their pain. (It worked!)

Women in the Tropics use unripe papaya for getting rid of wrinkles and old skin cells... but a word of caution... as our skin is generally thinner/more sensitive than theirs, this can be extremely painful (burning, in fact). We need to dilute papaya with other ingredients to use it in this manner.

In some parts of Asia the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach.

Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste.

Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.

In parts of the world papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for Malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment.

In the 1990s, two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically-modified to be resistant to the papaya ring spot virus, were introduced into Hawaii. By 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced widespread contamination from the genetically-modified varieties.

The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body) which can be dangerous in high doses.

Additional sources and resources for papayas.

Additional Sources/Resources for Papayas

 

Be sure to check out both our "Juicing" and our "Smoothies" sections for delicious recipes and more using Papayas!