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Papaya Power

Papaya Power

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Published by: hector_nida8803 on Nov 11, 2010
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08/27/2012

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Papaya Power
 As a naturopathic physician, one of the maintherapies I use in helping restore and maintain health is clinical nutrition. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrientswhich serve a variety of physiological  functions. Papayas are near the top of the"good for you" list and I often "prescribe"them for my patients.
Residents and visitors to the Big Island areextremely fortunate to be in a place wherepapayas are abundant and inexpensive.
While living on the mainland, I would regularly browse the produce aisle at local supermarketsfor prices they had on papayas. Most of thetime, a medium-sized, prematurely-picked,almost tasteless Solo papaya sold for $1.99 to$2.99. So when I first moved to the Big Islandfrom the mainland one of the first things I didwas to plant a few papaya trees at the bottom of my property. For the past few weeks Ihave been trudging up the hill carrying heavy loads of almost ripe, delicious fruit. Ithought it might be informative to collect some information on this delicious andabundant produce.
A Bit of History
The papaya tree is native to the south of Mexico, Costa Rica and Central America. In theancient Mayan civilization, the people honored the papaya tree as their sacred Tree of Life. Some history books mention the papaya as one of the foods Christopher Columbusenjoyed. The story is that when the natives greeted the Columbus party, they were servedso much food after months of meager fare at sea, that some experienced digestive pains.To cure this, the natives took them into the forest and fed them papayas, which broughtrelief. In historical literature, papayas were first mentioned by the Spanish explorer Oviedo in 1526 who observed it growing along the Caribbean coasts of Panama andColombia. Shortly thereafter, papayas were taken to other warm-weather countries by theSpaniards and Portuguese.
Loaded With Vitamins, Minerals and Enzymes
Cubans call the papaya “Fruta Bomba,” which means "bomb fruit.
The papaya isindeed a bomb loaded with vital nutrients, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, andother beneficial elements.
 
Papayas are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C.
They have substantialindustrial potential due to the rich content of an enzyme called papain. Papain iscommercially used in meat tenderizers, but is also extracted and put into capsules for useas a digestive aid for proteins, fats, and starches.
In addition to enzymes, papayas provide other digestive system benefits.
The fiber from both fresh and dried papaya helps eliminate constipation. However, if you eat a lotof dried papaya at one time, stay close to a restroom because the therapeutic can be very powerful. Papaya is also a very alkaline fruit, which helps soothe stomach upsets arisingfrom overeating.
Scientists have found that ripe papayas contain more beta-carotine than carrots,and more vitamin C than kiwi fruit.
Carotene is converted into Vitamin A in our body.Papayas also are abundant in bioflavonoids, which benefit the immune system and help prevent allergic reactions. The list of minerals found in papaya includes potassium,magnesium, and calcium.
In addition, papaya can help keep you young!
Papaya helps the body to produce morearginine, an essential amino acid that activates human growth hormone. HGH isimportant for cell rejuvenation and for rebuilding the cells in the liver, muscles, and bones. The skin also benefits from arginine by helping to regenerate skin cells.
Women in the Java have used unripe papaya juice on their skin to try to get rid of wrinkles and old skin cells. Unripe papaya juice can be very acidic and extra rich inenzymes.
Growing Papaya
In most places in Hawaii to about 1200 feet above sea level, the papaya tree growsfrom seed to a 20-foot, fruit-bearing tree in 18 months, or so.
The trees provide shadeas well as food and require very little care and attention. Just plenty of sunshine, decentsoil, mulch and an occasional load of composted chicken manure that can be bought atany garden supply outlet. The trees seed easily and yield fruit year-round. I grew my papayas from seeds from beautiful, organic papayas I bought at the Hilo Farmer's Market.Really, the trees grow like weeds.
There are about 50 varieties of papayas, many of which are inedible and not soldcommercially.
Papayas can range in size from 6 ounces to 20 pounds. Most commoncommercial varieties, such as the Hawaiian Solo, are on the small side. Papayas withreddish flesh have a taste that differs from that of the orange-fleshed types, which aresweeter.
Papaya -- More Than Just a Pretty Food
Of course, the best way to use papaya is to eat it.
Ripe papayas are cut in half. After theseeds are scooped out the tender yellow to orange flesh may be removed with a spoon.

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