Papaya, commonly known as Paw Paw,is an incredibly healthy tropical fruit.

It's loaded with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, fight disease and help keep you looking young. Papaya, a fruit of the Carica papaya plant originated in Central America and Southern Mexico but is now grown in many other parts of the world. It contains an enzyme called Papain, which can break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. Because of this, people have used Papaya to tenderize meat for thousands of years.

If the papaya is ripe, it can be eaten raw. However, unripe papaya should always be cooked before eating — especially during pregnancy, as the unripe fruit is high in latex, which can stimulate contractions.

The Papaya Fruit

Papayas are shaped similar to Pears and can be up to 20 inches (51 cm) long. The skin is green when raw and orange when ripe, while the flesh is yellow, orange or red.

The fruit also has many black seeds, which are edible but bitter.

One small papaya may weigh about 152 grams contains 2 Calories, 59 Carbohydrates, 15 grams of Fiber, 3 grams of Protein, 1 gram of Vitamin C, 157% of the RDI Vitamin A, 33% of the RDI Folate (vitamin B9), 14% of the RDI Potassium, 11% of the RDI trace amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E and K.

Papayas also contain healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids — particularly one type called Lycopene. What's more? Your body absorbs these beneficial antioxidants better from papayas than any other fruits and vegetables

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