Papaya

Papaya superfood!

Actually Btina and myself don’t really enjoy pure Papaya but there are so many great health benefits which have motivated us to include it into our daily eating habits – if locally available.

Personally for both of us the main health benefit has been so far that it really helps to improves the digestion. Traveling like us as Digital Nomads it’s nearly impossible to have any kind of strict diet and we have to adapt to what’s available where we current are. Sadly in today’s modern times, it is near impossible to avoid eating foods that are bad for your digestive system…

Papaya Heart Bolivia tropical fruit
Image: Green Papaya (outside) and the focus of the picture is the inside of the fruit

Papaya Plant Samaipata
Image: Most backyards in Bolivia have one or more Papaya tress growing there. It’s the easiest way to ensure a year round supply of papaya from your garden. People where much more self-sustainable before all the instant products flooded South America…

Pre processed industrial convenient foods

Fruits_Unhealthy
Image: Example of all the available pre processed convenient foods in the airport of Trinidad in the tropical part of Bolivia. There where no fruits or unsalted vegetables available – none.

Most of the pre processed convenient foods for example: Instant food, frozen dinners, margarine, microwave food, ketchup, light food and drinks, flavored nuts etc. Convenience can mean large amounts of hidden sodium, fats, and sugar, which are always bad news for our own health.

papaya

Healthy digestion with Papaya

We often find ourselves eating the available local junk food or restaurant food prepared in excessive quantities of oil and with unknown convenient industrial additives and substances. Eating a papaya daily helps us to keep our digestion system healthy, as it has a digestive enzyme known as papain along with fibre which helps improve your digestive health.

Papaya in Bolivia

Origin of the Papaya

The Papaya is native to the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. Nowadays the papaya is now present in most tropical and and subtropical regions. The Papaya tree is highly frost-sensitive, limiting its production to tropical climates. Temperatures below −2 °C (29 °F) are greatly harmful if not fatal. Within tropical climate the Papaya grows rapidly, fruiting within three years.

Papaya Rurrenabaque Market
Image: Street vendor selling fresh Papaya at the big Sunday market in Rurrenabaque in the tropical part of Bolivia.

Unique taste of the Papaya fruit

The papaya fruit taste has been compared to that of a mango, only less tangy. That said people have also compared the papaya taste to that of a cantaloupe or pineapple. Some papaya consumers will even go on to compare it to coffee, only in that it is an acquired taste which does not really compare to any other fruit. Christopher Columbus, an Italian voyager once referred to papayas as the fruit of the angels.

Refreshingly sweet in taste, papayas are bright, pear-shaped, exotic fruits that you’ll easily find in the market throughout the year. Enclosing hundreds of black, rounded gelatinous seeds, the soft, edible orange flesh of papayas is actually nutritious, offering numerous health benefits.

Papaya_Green_Rurrenabaque_
Image: Papaya tree with a good dozen of green Papaya fruits growing.

Health Benefits

Here’s why you need to include these ‘fruits of angels’ in your diet. Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium, copper, and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.

  1. Lowers cholesterol
  2. Helps weight loss
  3. Boosts your immunity
  4. Good for diabetics
  5. Great for your eyes
  6. Protects against arthritis
  7. Improves digestion
  8. Helps ease menstrual pain
  9. Prevents signs of aging
  10. Promotes hair growth

 

Papaya Samaipata Market
Image: Papaya street vendor at the Sunday market in the mountain town of Samaipata in Bolivia.

 

Papaya fruits and life cycle

Papayas fruit all year round, as long as the weather is warm enough. If the temperatures drop too much they stop flowering. They will flower again as it warms up.  Young papayas are the most productive! The older a papaya plant gets, the weaker it becomes. Unlike many other fruiting trees, the papaya’s lifespan is measured in years rather than decades. Because papaya plants are susceptible to many types of disease, they frequently do not reach their maximum life expectancy of 20 years. Productive life of span of papaya plant ends after 3 years. It will produce less and smaller fruit, and it may get problems with diseases. Also, because the plants keep growing taller it gets harder to reach the fruit.

Papaya_Rurrenabaque_5

Pollination of the flowers

Papaya plants may be self-pollinating (bisexual plants) or cross pollinated by insects or wind. Pollinators include honey bees, wasps, midges, thrips, surphid flies, and butterflies.

Papaya

Green Papaya Leaf

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaya
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=47
http://www.thehealthsite.com/fitness/health-benefits-of-papayas-sa114/
http://www.ehow.com/facts_7353147_long-grow-papaya-plant_.html

Ya Go

Founder PermaTree.org, Photography, Permaculture, Off-grid, DIY, Healthy lifestyle.