What is Green Papaya?
Green papaya is the lesser-known of the two main papaya varieties. Common papaya is picked when its flesh is orange-red and is primarily grown in Hawaii, although it is also cultivated in Thailand and certain parts of Japan. Green papaya, however, is also known as Mexican papaya, where it originated. This pear or avocado shaped fruit has a bright green exterior, yellow-green flesh, and a central pocket filled with seeds. The consistency and texture of this papaya is closer to a mango, and it lacks the sweetness that makes regular papaya so popular.
The flesh and seeds of this fruit are consumed, and the seeds have a slight peppery flavor; they can be used as a spice if the seeds are dried and ground up. This fruit grows on a tree that reaches a height of about 12 feet and bears the scientific name Carica papaya. Due to the flavor difference between green papaya and Hawaiian papaya, the former is commonly used more as a vegetable than a fruit.
Green Papaya Nutrition
Green papaya has an excellent nutrient profile, including high levels of vitamin C, E, A, and folate, as well as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and other antioxidants. There are negligible levels of fat and cholesterol in these fruits, and there are less than 40 calories in a 100-gram serving. They also contain carotenoids and polyphenols, as well as a significant amount of lycopene and various amino acids the body needs.
Green Papaya Benefits
The most important health benefits of green papaya include aiding in skin care, soothing menstrual pain, boosting the immune system, protecting against heart diseases, and regulating digestion, among others.
With high concentrations of vitamin E, amino acids, and vitamin C, this unusual fruit is great for anti-aging, as it can help prevent wrinkles, blemishes, and age spots as we age, as well as treat inflammation and irritation.
Aids in Digestion
The fiber content in green papayas is impressive, to say the least, which can help optimize digestion, increase feelings of fullness, improve nutrient uptake, and balance the pH balance of the stomach.
Treats Heart Diseases
Potassium levels in green papaya are quite high, meaning that this fruit can help control blood pressure. Potassium is a vasodilator, relieving pressure on the cardiovascular system and lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart diseases.
Boosts Immune System
A single serving of this fruit has more than 70% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells. These cells are the body’s first line of defense against infections and foreign pathogens.
Relieves Menstrual Pain
Anecdotal evidence and research studies have shown that green papaya’s active ingredients and dense nutrient profile can help to relieve inflammation and affect hormone levels to minimize menstrual pain.
There is a significant amount of folate in green papaya, a B vitamin that is essential for preventing neural tube defects in babies.
How to Eat Green Papaya?
- The best way to include green papaya in your diet is in salads, used in a similar way as crunchy cucumbers or green peppers.
- As an addition to savory dishes, it can add a subtle sweet flavor and a refreshing bite.
- These fruits are often blended in fruit smoothies, added to fruit salads, or used to make various desserts.