Healthy Food Database

Papaya (see also red papaya)
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The papaya is thought to be indigenous to the West Indies and northern South America. When the Europeans first saw it they called it a tree melon as many varieties are melon shaped. In Australia, the papaya is sometimes referred to as papaw, although there is some confusion with some people only using the term papaya (or Hawaiian papaya) for the smaller variety with slightly wrinkled, yellow skin and sweet red flesh.

Papaya has distinct orange-red flesh and is pear-shaped with yellow-orange coloured skin. Different from papaw, it has a sweeter flavour so is great in desserts or on its own.

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. Papain is especially high when the fruit is unripe and may be beneficial to those with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Papain is also often extracted from the fruit to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements.

Papaya is a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, vitamins E, C, A, and K as well as antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene.
Category: Fruit
In Season: all year
To Buy:
When selecting a papaya examine it for bruises, soft spots and any other indications of damage. The fruit should be firm, but not too hard. Don't be put off by the smell, it's characteristic of the fruit. Papaya will ripen at room temperature so if you don't need it for a few days buy one that is slightly green.
To Store:
Store unopened at room temperature for up to a week - opened it can be wrapped in plastic and kept in the fridge for 48 hours.
Tips & Tricks:
Some sensitive individuals may experience respiratory difficulties from papaya. For most of us papaya is an extremely healthy food with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Aside from its health benefits, papain is also used in the following ways:
  • As a meat tenderiser
  • As an agent to filter and purify beer
  • To cleanse, soothe and heal the skin
  • As a home remedy for the treatment of jellyfish, bee and wasp stings when made into a paste with water.
  • Cooking Tips:
    Slightly underripe papaya can be used to make refreshing salsas in the summer. Grate the flesh and mix it with sprouts, cucumber, chilli and lemon juice. Serve under grilled or BBQ'd fish. Also tastes great with a squeeze of lime juice and some cinnamon to complement the flavour.

    Nutrition per Per serve:

    Weight (grams):
    Carbohydrates, g:
    Moderate GI 55 - 70:
    Fat (g):
    Monosaturated Fat , g:
    Vitamin C:
    Vitamin K:
    Energy (kJ):
    Low GI < 55:
    Protein (g):
    Saturated Fat, g :
    Vitamin A:
    Vitamin E:
    Folic Acid:

    Benefits the Following Health Conditions:*

    Aches & Pains
    Digestive Disorders
    Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    Eye Problems
    Cold and Flus
    Find recipes with Papaya (see also red papaya)

    * This information is sourced by a qualified naturopath. It is non prescriptive and not intended as a cure for the condition. Recommended intake is not provided. It is no substitute for the advice and treatment of a professional practitioner.

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