What are the unique health benefits of papaya? Papaya, or PawPaw, is full of vitamin C and an excellent source of beta carotene as well. Half a papaya will give you all of the vitamin C that you need that day. The only problem with papaya is that our bodies seem to absorb it a bit too quickly. It is one of the easiest fruits to digest, and sometimes our bodies need a bit of help to make the most of this nutritional power house.
What makes papaya so special?
The juice in papaya contains papain. This is an enzyme which is very similar to pepsin produced by the human digestive system. It is a compound that breaks down proteins very quickly, and this is exactly what happens when you eat papaya. Papain will stimulate your body to absorb the fruit very quickly, and sometimes the digestive system do not get the opportunity to make the most of it.
As a matter of fact, papain is so good that it is used in the food industry as a natural meat tenderiser. It is really great but we need to bear in mind that we need to absorb that vitamin C and beta carotene to make the most of this fruit. So, how can we do this?
In Asia you will find that papaya is added to many dishes. This is an excellent way of slow doing the digestion of the fruit. Chicken with papaya is a common sight when it comes to street food in places like Vietnam. It is also often served in a sweet and sour sauce on its own with rice. Both the chicken and the rice will have the same effect. They will help to slow down our digestive system so we can absorb more of the nutritional value of this healthy fruit.
Of course, chicken is a protein, so the papain will go to work on that. Rice is rich in carbohydrates, and will help to slow down the effects of the papain. Adding papaya to simple proteins such as seafood and chicken maybe the best way to enjoy this fruit. The only problem is that we do not very often cook with fruits here in the West, so it may not come easy to us to do so. What can we do instead?
Smoothing your papaya
Thankfully we have the ideal solution at our finger tips. Most households in the UK, and the rest of the Western world, now probably have a smoothie maker or blender tucked away somewhere. I use my smoothie maker every day to make health fruity snacks for my family. I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of my papaya recipes with you.
Recipe One: Half a papaya, 500 milliliters of almond milk, and four bite size pieces of unsweetened dark chocolate. It may sound a bit strange but this is really a delicious combination. It comes out quite think and tastes a bit more like a milkshake than a fruit smoothie. The chocolate helps to slow down the papain, and it will take you a little bit longer to digest.
Recipe Two: Half a papaya, small handful of oats, 500 milliliters of almond milk and a teaspoon of honey. Blend for a little bit longer than average, and you will have an excellent smoothie that will with the help of oats give you extra energy for the afternoon.
Recipe Three: Half a papaya, two bananas, 500 milliliters of almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon. Blend fast first of all , and then slow down for at least two minutes. Bananas are the perfect companions for a papaya smoothie. They will really slow down the break down of the fruit, and you will feel fuller for a lot longer. At the same time you will be able to make the most of all of that energy from the potassium in the bananas.
There are so many great recipes that you can dream up with this healthy fruit. Don’t be frighten to add it to your stirfry’s. You will be pleasantly surprised how great it tastes with meat, and it is an easy fruit to peel and prepare as well. Perfect for weekday cooking when dinner has to be ready in a hurry. Let the entire family share in the health benefits of papaya.