Christopher Columbus called papayas the fruit of angels and no wonder considering the delicious taste and great health benefits they provide. This sweet firm fruit is a great addition to any meal. You can use the green fruit shredded to make salads, diced to use in soups or salsas. The black seeds have a peppery taste to them and make a delicious salad dressing. The ripe fruit can be eaten as it is, blended into smoothies and as an addition to salads like an avocado.
Papaya contains an enzyme, papain, that aids in digestion. This can be found in pill form and is a great healthy alternative for heartburn. Papain has been used to treat sports injuries, inflammation and allergies. It’s also been found to aid in the healing of burns. The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit of the angels may be why rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have realized benefits from enjoying this fruit.
Because papaya aids in digestion, it has been shown to be helpful in fighting colon cancer. The fibers in papaya aid in the removal of toxins from the colon. Papaya also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folate, powerful antioxidants and beta-carotene which have all been recognized to aid in the prevention of cancers. As if that wasn’t enough, these same vitamins and antioxidants have been shown to boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol, and fight heart disease. Fruit of the angels seems to be a very appropriate name for the papaya!
When buying your papaya fruits that have a bit of green but are mostly yellow will ripen nicely at home. The fruit does feel heavy for its size. The skin should be smooth and firm to the touch. The fruit will have a sweet aroma when ripe. Don’t worry if you let it get a little overripe – that’s perfect for a smoothie! You can cut the fruit lengthwise down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Save them if you are going to make them into a dressing. If you live in a temperate climate, try growing your own tree.
Store your ripe papayas in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. They ripen nicely at room temperature. If you aren’t going to be able to eat them right away, they can be frozen. However, after defrosting they will be pretty soft and best in a smoothie. However you decide to eat them, enjoy the taste and the health benefits from the fruit of the angels!
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