Vitamins and Minerals
Found Inside Papayas
Papayas 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
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
- 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
Let's begin our exploration of
Vitamins and Minerals
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
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B
- Pantothenic Acid
Minerals in Papayas
- Trace amounts of Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese and
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
Many dedicated "juicers" (people who juice a lot) swear by
papaya to provide inflammatory relief and reduce joint aches
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
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.
IMPORTANT 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
When juicing, papayas go well with pineapple, oranges,
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
Purchasing Tips for
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
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.
This 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sources/Resources for Papayas
Be sure to check out both our
"Juicing" and our "Smoothies"
sections for delicious recipes and more using