Papaya nutrition facts. Papaya is an exotic fruit. They're long and shaped kind of like a pear. They average about 6-8 inches and about one pound, though they can grow up to 20 inches long and 20 pounds. That's one monster papaya that I wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley at night. Luckily, it's less intimidating on your plate. Read on to learn more about papaya nutrition.
Even though there aren't that many calories in papaya, they are chock full of nutrition. So let's learn about this cool fruit.
Fruit of the Angels
And apparently I'm not the only one who finds papayas exotic. Christopher Columbus called them "fruit of the angels." Then again, Columbus thought he was in India when he was really in the United States, so what the heck does he know?
Well, papayas aren't really exotic anymore. They originally come from Mexico and central America, but in this day in age you can get them all over, at any time of the year (although their peak is in early fall and summer). Their flesh is orange, with a soft and smooth consistency, and a very sweet taste. They have some black seeds that are edible, but bitter.
Papaya Nutrition Facts
Now, on to papaya nutrition. These superfoods contain more vitamins than you can count on both hands. They're high in the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, which, among other things, help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. They contain the minerals potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorous. Other vitamins that you'll get from biting into a delicious papaya include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, beta-carotene, folic acid, and vitamin K.
Not to mention the fiber content, which is important, since most of us today get very little fiber from eating too many processed foods. Fiber might help lower your LDL cholesterol. So it would seem that the benefits of papaya nutrition are wide ranging, from vitamins to fiber to, as we'll see soon, digestive enzymes.
Despite all the papaya nutrition we've covered so far, one downside to papayas that you should keep in mind is that, like many fruits, they are pretty high in sugar (fructose). Though they're not high in calories, the calories they do have come primarily from the fructose. So while papayas are good for you, eat them in moderation. On the other hand, though, there aren't that many calories in papaya.
Papayas are also especially great for your digestive system. They contain the enzymes papain and chympapain, which lower inflammation and help your body to break down proteins. (Of all the nutrition in foods, digestive enzymes is one of the most rare and beneficial.) Unripe papaya is especially high in papain. Papaya is even used to make digestive enzyme supplements! Of course, eating the real papaya is much healthier than taking the supplement. You can also check out some dried papaya nutrition facts if you'd rather eat that than the fresh kind.
Papaya nutrition also contains lycopene, which can help protect against prostate cancer. Papaya is also good for your eyes, immune system, and your lungs, if you're a smoker! (Or if you live with one.)