Papaya reigns supreme among fruits

Papaya, whose scientific name is carica papaya, is a fruit with so many properties that its fruit, roots, seeds and leaves are used therapeutically for their medicinal properties in many countries. In Colombia and especially in the Caribbean Coast we find this fruit all year round, at such an accessible price that makes it one of the best options for a healthy consumption. If we talk about nutrition, a medium papaya has approximately 120 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates, including 5 grams of fiber and 18 grams of sugar.

Physician Isela Esther Juarez, nutrition expert and Doctor of Research in Medicine, explains that the ripe fruit is used as a laxative, antibiotic, antibacterial and digestive.

“In addition, papaya juice is used for the treatment of warts and ulcers. The latex of this fruit contains a high percentage of papain used for the treatment of malaria, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, jaundice and intestinal helminthiasis. The flowers are used in infusion to promote menstruation and its bark for toothaches; in root poultice is used for centipede bites,” adds Juarez. (You may be interested in: Papaya candy with cheese)

Nutritional composition

This fruit contains dietary fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C, benefits that are synthesized in the human body to help improve health.

The industrial uses of this fruit range from oil essences, to nectars, preserves, dehydrated fruit, jams or juices. It is also used to create meat tenderizer, chewing gum softeners, beer clarification, among others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day to prevent chronic diseases, and only 100 grams of papaya provide all the vitamin C needed per day, according to experts.

It is a sweet fruit, so it is not difficult to replace that taste we sometimes have for sweets. It is easy to keep in the refrigerator, and it is recommended to store it with the peel to avoid cross-contamination. It should be placed face down so that its own humidity does not damage it.

Remember that healthy eating habits begin in the first years of life, and that breastfeeding promotes healthy growth and improves cognitive development.

Remember to eat well because malnutrition in all its forms is a cause of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Data from the University of Florida indicate that papaya is produced in more than 60 countries and its production is concentrated in developing nations. Worldwide, it is the third most produced fruit after mango and pineapple, with an estimated cultivated area of 430,000 hectares.

While the largest consumer of papaya in the world is the United States, the largest producers are, in order, India, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Colombia ranks eighth in production on average, according to the Cajamar Agri-Food Service.

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