I remember a friend from years ago saying that the way to remember the difference between mango and papaya was… mmmmm-mango and poo poo-paya. Well, despite her opinion, I have always loved the papaya for its not to sweet flavor, creamy texture and, of course, the tropical nostalgia. In my most recent travels to Thailand I ate papaya, and many exotic fruits daily and noticed that the locals would consume every part of the fruit from seed to flesh. So, I branched out from my “remove all the ugly stuff and only eat the cleaned up and stripped down Western version” and learned that there are so many reasons not to poo poo the papaya and all of its parts.
The Fleshy Fruit
Papaya fruit is rich in dietary fiber, folate, Vitamins A, C, E, beneficial minerals and it is very high in antioxidants. Yes, as expected. But, the real magic of the papaya is that it is full of a proteolytic enzyme called papain. Papain aids in protein digestion reducing bloating, gas and intestinal inflammation. When eaten after a meal, the papain will assist the body in more effectively breaking down the protein into essential amino acids making the body more efficient in assimilation of nutrients and cell repair and regeneration. When papaya is eaten on an empty stomach the papain will target and breakdown inert proteins in the body reducing overall inflammation in the joints and tissues. If you take antibiotics or pop anti-inflammatories like candy, try half of a papaya in the morning. It will help you get up and going (if you know what I mean)
Seeds of Love
The little black seeds, that we all throw away, have amazing detoxifying properties and their peppery taste and crunch make them fun to add to salads or blend into dressings and marinades- who knew!? Studies have shown that the seeds have antibacterial properties and have been used in treating E. Coli, Salmonella and parasites. In Chinese medicine the seeds are used for helping the liver and kidneys restore their balance to properly eliminate toxins in the body. No, this does not mean you can add them to your bloody Mary for peace of mind.
So, don’t poo poo the papaya as it will help you do just that and keep you feeling Wellbelly.
P.S. The momentary trip to paradise is an added bonus!