Papaya, a SUPER superfood

Papaya, a SUPER superfood

Papaya is a tropical fruit grown in southern Mexico and Central America. The peak seasons for harvest are early summer and again in the fall, however they are readily available in most supermarkets all year round.

Papaya are sweet and delicious with a soft consistency. They are a great alternative to satisfy a craving for sweets. The inside of the fruit is orange with a hint of pink or yellow, the black seeds are also edible, but they can be bitter so most people prefer to eat only the orange
fleshy part.

An average papaya found in the market weighs around 1 pound and is between 6-8 inches in length. A medium one will only have about 118 calories and, amazingly, supply approximately 224% of daily recommended vitamin C! A medium papaya is also an excellent source of folate, fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, copper and pantothenic acid which is excellent for hair. Papaya also contains beneficial digestive enzymes, chymopapain & papain, which is similar to the enzyme found in pineapple. Chymopapain & papain are protein-digesting enzymes that can also reduce inflammation which can be beneficial to those suffering from asthma and arthritis. When the fruit is ripe, these enzymes are even more concentrated and are often used in dietary supplements.

A papaya that is ready to eat will have a reddish/orange skin and be a little soft. If the skin is yellow, it will ripen in a few days. Green unripened papaya are preferred when adding to a salad or for cooking. I enjoy papaya sliced or cubed and just sprinkled with a little lime juice. It’s also excellent in salads, salsa, mixed with yogurt or juiced alone or with other fruits and vegetables.
Outside of consuming papaya for the abundance of vitamins and nutrients, one of my favorite things to do is use it for a facial mask.  The enzymes are an excellent exfoliant and the vitamins found in the fruit provide a wonderful firming treatment for your skin! It not only hydrates your skin, it keeps it soft, removes blemishes & acne and can help fade dark spots and even out skin tone and texture.

Skin Firming Papaya Mask
Cut approximately 1/4 of a totally ripe papaya fruit
1 tablespoon of honey
Mash, or put in a blender, until it forms a smooth paste.
Apply this on the face for 15 minutes.
Rinse with warm water.

If you are concerned with dark spots or discoloration, add 1/4 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice to the mask for added benefit.

It is important to note that, if you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, you should be cautious consumming papaya. The skin and fruit of papaya contain an enzyme similar to latex that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. For more information about papaya and latex allergies, as well as a comprehensive list of other foods that may pose a risk, take a look at these reports for more detailed information,


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