Papayas are rich in beta carotene that’s what gives it its rich orange color. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A and provides anti-oxidant protection. They are an excellent source of natural vitamin C and Vitamin E and all these nutrients are good at reducing inflammation in the body such as you find in arthritis or asthma.
And if you are concerned about lung health, perhaps you are a smoker; foods rich in Vitamin A such as the papaya have been studied and shown to protect the lungs. Studies where Animals were fed a Vitamin A rich diet, tended to not get emphysema even after being exposed to cigarette smoke. Now Im not saying you can continue to smoke and be protected by eating papayas or other Vitamin A rich foods, but just want to point out that the best nutrients are from our colorful foods.
Papayas are also rich in the enzyme Papain that helps us digest proteins. Supplements are often made from the papaya fruit just for this enzyme, which is so very helpful in digestive issues.
Normally you think of throwing away the seeds, but you can use the seed of the papaya in place of pepper. You can chew on the seeds, or let them dry and crush them in place of pepper. They taste like pepper.
Peak season for papayas are early summer and into fall. They have a long season. Now choosing a ripe papaya is easy. You cannot rely on smell for this fruit. They should have a yellow-orange color and if they are more yellow then it will take a couple of days to ripen. But you can press into the fruit and if it gives in slightly its ripe. You want to avoid bruised or very soft papayas.
Just cut and slice a papaya like you would a melon. They are great in smoothies, mixed in a tropical fruit medley with coconut and mango or pineapple. Papaya salsa is a great alternative for those with allergies to tomatoes. I’ve included a recipe for salsa that is phenomenal on fish, shrimp, or pork.
Ginger Papaya Salsa
1 Medium diced Papaya
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS minced cilantro
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Mixed and use to top Fish, Shellfish, or Pork