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All about “Papaya”

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Nutritional value of papaya

  Fresh papaya, ½ fruit, 13 cm diameter / 150 g
Calories 59
Protein 0.9 g
Carbohydrates 15.0 g
Fat 0.2g
Dietary fiber 2.7g
Glycemic load  : Moderate
Antioxidant power  : unknown

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2010.

Papaya health profile

  The papaya is consumed simply fresh or dried as a snack . Its small black seeds have a slightly peppery flavor . Rich in fiber , it is a highly vitaminized fruit that contains several antioxidant substances .

The benefits of papaya

Several prospective and epidemiological studies have shown that a high consumption of vegetables and fruits decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other chronic diseases , 2 . The presence of antioxidants in vegetables and fruits could play a role in these protective effects 3 . Researchers have shown in vitro and in animals that papaya juice has an antioxidant activity comparable to that of vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant 4 . It is best to consume papayaripe if you want to make the most of its antioxidant potential 5 .

  • Cancer . A study has shown that a high consumption of vegetables and fruits, especially papaya , watermelon and cantaloupe was associated with a reduced risk of suffering from breast cancer 15 . Other research has found that consuming papaya at least once a week decreases the risk of developing cervical cancer in women with human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 .

What does papaya contain?

Catechins
The main phenolic compounds (a large family of antioxidants) found in papaya are catechins 5 . High consumption of catechins is associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease 6 . Their health benefits have mainly been studied with green tea, which is known to be one of the best sources (it has a concentration at least 2 times higher in catechins than papaya) 17,18 . The specific effects of papaya catechins are not yet well known.

Carotenoids
Papaya contains beta-cryptoxanthin , an antioxidant from the carotenoid family that gives fruits and vegetables a yellow or orange color. Papaya is an important source of this carotenoid, which is a precursor of vitamin A (that is, the body converts carotenoids into vitamin A as needed) 7 . Moreover, regular consumption of papaya could increase the blood concentration of beta-cryptoxanthin in humans 8 . This carotenoid also has an anticarcinogenic activity observed in vitro and in animals 9 . It could also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis in humans7 .

Papaya also contains lycopene , another pigment from the carotenoid family, red one. The more ripe the fruit, the more lycopene it contains 19 . Several studies have indicated that increasing the intake of foods rich in lycopene lowers the risk of prostate cancer . 20

The fresh papaya and juice would be better sources of carotenoids bioavailable as papaya dried 14 . Dried papaya remains an interesting source, however.

Dietary fiber
Papaya is a source of dietary fiber 21 (2.7 g of fiber for ½ fruit) and can help satisfy appetite by quickly providing a feeling of satiety 12 . A high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer. It is recommended to consume 25 g of fiber per day for women from 19 to 50 years old, and 38 g per day for men of the same age group 13 .

Main vitamins and minerals

  Vitamin C Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C.
  Vitamin A Papaya is a source of vitamin A for women , but not for men.
  Vitamin B5 ( pantothenic acid) Papaya is a source of vitamin B5.
  Vitamin B9 (folate) Papaya is a source of vitamin B9.
  Vitamin E Papaya is a source of vitamin E.
  Potassium Papaya is a source of potassium.

Precautions

Papaya and blood thinners
Papaya is one of the foods that can change the blood level of blood thinners 22 . Health Canada recommends that people who take blood thinners daily (Coumadin®, Warfilone®, Sintrom®) not consume too much papaya.

Allergy to papaya latex
The latex , a plant substance used in particular for the manufacture of medical gloves, may be associated with an allergy to certain foods, such as papaya 10.11 . It is therefore recommended for people allergic to latex to carry out food allergy tests. Other foods considered potentially associated with latex allergy, the lawyer include, bananas, brown, kiwi, apricot and passion fruit 10 .

Recipe ideas

Lime and Ginger Papaya
  • You can stuff papaya halves with pieces of banana, kiwi slices and seasonal berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries). Coat the fruit with yogurt and honey or maple syrup. If desired, garnish with mint leaves.
  • Blend papaya pieces in a blender with yogurt or soy milk or coconut milk. Drink it cool .
with papaya
  • The dried papaya can replace or accompany dried fruits in many recipes.
  • Fresh . Cut it into pieces and serve it with a lime or lemon wedge or add it to a fruit salad . In this case, add it only before serving, as it has the effect of softening the other fruits.
  • Firm papayas can be cooked and served like squash or sweet potatoes.
  • In mashed in cakes, pies, ice creams and sorbets.
  • Dip pieces in a chocolate fondue .
  • In vegetable salads . With avocado and sweet onion, all served on a bed of lettuce. With watercress, artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Add a drizzle of lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves.
  • The black seeds have a slight peppery flavor. Eat them as they are or put them in a blender with lemon juice and oil to make a vinaigrette.
  • Papaya and crab salad . Mix cooked crabmeat with finely chopped celery and cool in the refrigerator. Add the juice of half a lime, as well as flaked almonds, previously roasted in a dry pan. Stuff the peeled half-papayas with this preparation.
  • Original dessert . Serve pieces of papaya with couscous which will have cooked in the fruit juice of your choice.
  • Papaya spring rolls . Cover with rice leaves, previously soaked in water, fresh leaves of basil, mint and coriander, strips of papaya and cucumber. Roll up and put to cool in the fridge. Serve with peanut butter sauce.
  • In French Guiana , we stuff chicken breasts with it. Split them in the thickness direction so as to form a pocket which you will fill with pieces of papaya. Dip everything in a mixture of flour, beaten egg, grated coconut and bread crumbs. Fry in oil. Season with chilli and curry, deglaze the pan with white wine and serve with rice.
  • To tenderize tough meat , marinate it between two layers of papaya slices. Sprinkle with a mixture of soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator, overnight if it is beef, a few hours if it is chicken. Then cook according to the recipe of your choice.

To access other recipes, you can go to the CuisineAZ.com cooking recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: papaya gratin, papaya juice, green papaya salad

In sauces and salsas  :

  • Mix diced cucumber and diced papaya, drizzle with lemon juice, season with fresh dill and pepper. This sauce goes wonderfully with baked fish .
  • Cook tomatillos in chicken broth until tender. Add the minced onion, browned in oil and the coriander leaves. Mix in dices of papaya, add a drizzle of lemon juice and serve with fish, chicken or seafood.
  • Mix fresh coriander leaves, lime juice and hot pepper and let stand. Peel the papaya and dice it, mix with minced onion and garlic, as well as thin strips of red and yellow pepper. Add the preparation to the cilantro and let stand for a few hours at room temperature. Serve with shrimp, scallops or fish .
  • Mix diced papaya and mango, add garlic, hot peppers, coriander, olive oil and lime juice and let stand 1 hour before serving.
  • Caribbean salsa . Mix diced papaya, onion and red and yellow pepper, cooked black beans, hot pepper, pineapple and lime juice, coriander leaves and ground cumin seeds.

Choice and conservation

Dried papaya

To choose

The papayas are in the year in trading since the papaya produced continuously. The skin of the fruit should be orange or green with traces of yellow. It should show no signs of browning, be smooth, and give way slightly under pressure. Avoid completely green and hard fruits, which will not ripen well, unless you want to cook them.

Dried papaya is also found , but it is usually supplemented with sulfur dioxide and possibly sugar and a yellow dye. Look on the side of organic merchants.

Keep

If the papaya is not perfectly ripe, keep it at room temperature until fully ripe, then place it in the refrigerator where it will keep for a few days.

The little story of papaya

Common name: papaya.
Scientific name: Carica papaya.                                                                       Family: caricaceae. 

The term “  papaya  ” appeared in the language in 1579. It comes from papaya, a word belonging to the Caribbean spoken in the Antilles.

Unknown in the wild, the Carica papaya species probably comes from a spontaneous cross between two other native species. It seems to come from the lowlands of eastern Central America. The Amerindians would have introduced it to Mexico and South America. Its domestication and its diffusion certainly occurred very long before the conquest, because at the arrival of the Spaniards, it occupied a region going from Mexico to Panama and displayed many different types. The Spanish and Portuguese will introduce papaya to the Philippines, India and parts of Africa. At the end of the XVII th  century, it was cultivated in all tropical regions of the globe.

About fifty countries produce papayas, the main ones being Brazil, Nigeria, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Congo, Peru, China and Colombia. In many places, in addition to the ripe fruit , the immature fruit , young leaves and flowers are eaten . Other Carica species are cultivated at high altitudes, where the common papaya cannot survive. Their fruits are generally not very attractive when fresh and are mainly eaten cooked .

Papaya is also grown for the production of papain , a proteolytic enzyme found in the latex of leaves, stems and fruit. This enzyme has many industrial uses: treatment of meat to tenderize it, clarification of juice and beer, extraction of tuna liver oil, treatment of silk and wool before dyeing, elimination of hair on tanned hides, preparation of facial creams and cleansing creams, in particular for contact lenses. In addition, chymopapain , another enzyme derived from this plant , is used in medicine .

Ecology and environment

Since 1998, the new papaya trees planted in Hawaii essentially consist of 2 genetically modified varieties. They have the virus gene for a disease called ”  ring spots  “, which has the effect of immunizing the plant against this disease. These varieties were created by researchers with the aim of saving the American papaya industry which, since the mid-1990s, had been threatened by the virus in question.

However, the results did not meet expectations. The gene gave plants good resistance to ring spot disease, but in return, it made them more susceptible to other diseases, including black spot , caused by a microscopic fungus. This forces producers to use more treatments for fungi.

There is also a very real problem of contamination of non-transgenic papaya trees with pollen from transgenic papaya trees . This happened in Hawaii and organic producers had to destroy their plantations for this reason.

In Thailand, green papaya is a ubiquitous food. There are papaya trees not only in orchards, but also in private gardens, school yards and other public places. The risk of contamination of local varieties by transgenic varieties is very high. In 2004, independent analyzes revealed that batches of seeds for sale produced by the research station of the Ministry of Agriculture contained genetically modified (GM) papaya seeds. You should know that tests on these genetically modified organisms were banned in 2001, precisely in order to avoid the risks of genetic contamination.

GM papaya trees were also found at the home of a producer who obtained his seeds from the research station. This contamination occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the research station. The latter had isolated the experimental orchard of transgenic papayas from its other orchards only by a hedge of banana trees and a fence of barbed wire. This protection is clearly insufficient to prevent pollen from circulating from one place to another. In principle, the Thai government has ordered the destruction of all transgenic papayas , but in practice it was found again in 2005 in the northeast of the country.

A large grass that gives fruit
Like the coconut and banana trees, the papaya tree is not a tree, but a giant semi-woody grass. The plant grows quickly, but lives a short time. The fruit, which has the distinction of growing directly on the trunk , can weigh, depending on the variety, from 250 g to 10 kg.

In addition to the risk of contamination of local varieties, some fear that the widespread use of genetic modifications will lead to the formation of new strains of virus which could have disastrous effects on the environment.

To limit the proliferation of the virus that affects papaya, Thai producers do not practice intensive monoculture, as is done in Hawaii. Rather, they traditionally grow it with other plants – mango, coconut, citrus and vegetable plants. This technique makes it possible to control the insect vectors of the virus by ecological means.

Note that in Canada , the sale of transgenic papayas has been authorized since 2003, while it is prohibited in Europe and Japan.

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