Papaya, a delicious tropical fruit that provides us with more vitamin C than orange. Therefore, it helps us to increase our natural defenses. In addition, we can highlight the digestive properties that papain provides.
What is papaya?
It is the fruit of a fruit bush called Carica papaya, commonly called papayo or papayero. It can reach 10 meters in height.
It has a very particular ovoid shape with a greenish-yellow skin. Inside we find a fleshy orange or reddish pulp with shiny black seeds.
The texture is very similar to that of melon with a sweet and very soft pulp.
Origin of papaya
This tropical fruit is native to Central America. At this point there is some controversy. Some writings place the origin in Mexico, where it is known as the fruit of good health . Other data place the origin of these fruits in the Andes of Peru.
Papaya is also known by other names depending on the region in which it is produced. In the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, it is known as papayón, olocotón, papayo or milky. In Cuba it is known as fruit bomb. Also, in Argentina, Paraguay or Chile, it is called papaya melon, tree melon or mamón.
On the other hand, the origin of its name comes from the word carica which comes from the Greek karike which means fig tree. It was named after the similarity of its leaves. Papaya is the later adaptation of its Caribbean name.
From Mexico its cultivation spread to other tropical regions such as Florida, Hawaii, East Africa, South Africa, India, Malaysia and Australia.
In Spain, its cultivation is expanding, especially in the Canary Islands, Almería or other regions of the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. Currently, the country with the highest production is India with more than six million tons.
Papaya is produced in tropical areas. For this reason, it is a tropical fruit that is produced throughout the year in these regions. In areas where production is greenhouse, the collection is outside the colder months.
The cultivation of this fruit has recently been introduced in Spain. More specifically, there are currently stable crops in southeastern Spain, on the coasts of Malaga, Granada, Murcia and especially Almería.
Its season in Spain goes from the month of September to the month of June.
You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.
Types of papayas
Over time, various types of papayas have developed, and there are currently a large number of varieties. In each region different varieties are used to grow according to different weather conditions.
We can highlight the Solo, Bluestem, Graham, Betty, Fairchild, Rissimee, Puna and Hortusgred varieties, which are the most commercialized.
The most accepted variety is the Solo with a fruit that weighs about 450 grams. The fruit is green that takes on a yellow tone as it matures. Brown spots may appear on your skin, but it does not affect its quality. It is the variety that is produced the most and the one that is exported the most worldwide.
How to buy papayas?
The ideal is to eat it freshly picked from the tree at its optimum point of conservation. If you do not have this opportunity, when choosing papaya in your trusted greengrocer or market, it should have a uniform, smooth skin without bruises.
Initially it has a green color on the outside and it changes to yellowish when it matures. The skin is very fine and delicate so its conservation is delicate as it is a fragile fruit.
In addition, it is very perishable, so it is recommended to keep it in the refrigerator when it is at its optimum point of maturation so that it can last a few more days.
It is also ideal to consume it cold to enhance its delicious flavor.
How do you eat papaya?
Ideally, cut the fruit in half when it is to be consumed. Then separate the seeds from the pulp helping us with a spoon. Once the seeds are discarded, the pulp is rinsed with a little water to remove any remaining flavor that the seeds may have left, which have a spicy flavor.
The seeds of papayas, although they are normally discarded, can be eaten and some people use them as a dressing once they have been crushed for their spicy flavor.
Once rinsed, the pulp can be extracted with a spoon or cut with a knife.
It can be eaten alone or in different salad recipes or as a complement to seafood, fish or meat. In addition, it is excellent for making different smoothie recipes such as a fruit smoothie.
Properties of papaya
Due to its composition, this fruit provides us with essential nutrients. It provides us with rapidly absorbed sugars that increase with the ripening of the fruit.
The fat quantity index is very low. Its high content of natural fiber stands out, which is very beneficial to help us with intestinal regulation, diabetes or weight loss.
Due to its orange color, it indicates that it is a fruit rich in beta-carotene. Other vitamins such as vitamin A and C and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and, to a lesser extent, calcium and iron also stand out.
It is rich in papain, an enzyme that has very beneficial properties for health and particularly for the digestive system.
Papayas also contain healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids, particularly a type called lycopene . In addition, the antioxidants in papayas are very easy to assimilate. 
Average nutritional composition of raw papaya per 100 grams:
|Dietary fiber||1,9 g|
|C vitamin||61,9 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0,22 mg|
|Vitamin A||1095 UI|
|beta carotene||278 mcg|
Benefits of papaya
The healing properties of papaya are popularly known. Also, it is evident that papaya has many benefits for our health and that it makes this fruit a very nutritious food.
Among the different benefits that papaya gives us are the following:
1. Natural diuretic
It is a tropical fruit with a lot of pulp which makes its water supply very high. This water supply of approximately 90% makes this food an excellent natural diuretic.
2. Helps our natural defenses
Papaya is rich in vitamin C and a 100-gram serving provides us with the recommended amount of this vitamin. Believe it or not, papaya provides more vitamin C than orange. In addition, vitamin C is an essential ally of our natural defenses.
3. Antioxidant fruit
As it is a food rich in vitamin C, it is considered a powerful antioxidant. Therefore, it helps us balance free radicals in our body.
Free radicals are reactive molecules created during the metabolic process. In addition, these molecules can promote oxidative stress, which could lead to some diseases.
The carotenoids , antioxidants together with other antioxidants having papayas, can neutralize free radicals. 
4. Natural intestinal regulator
They are sweet fruits that provide us with a large amount of fiber . Natural fiber regulates intestinal transit helping us with constipation.
Papaya has been shown in scientific studies to improve constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 
In addition, fiber benefits us with the control of glucose in the blood, being a favorable food for those who suffer from diabetes.
5. Ideal for weight loss diets
It is ideal for diets to lose weight , since it has a lot of water and tab, which makes it a satiating food. In addition, it only provides us with 38 kcal and only 0.14 grams of fat for every 100 grams of papaya.
6. Helps against inflammatory processes
It seems that chronic inflammation is the root of a multitude of diseases. Surely, due to our diet and an unhealthy lifestyle, they can boost the inflammatory process.
As shown by different studies, the carotenoids in papayas help reduce inflammation. 
7. Helps digestion
Papaya contains an enzyme with a proteolytic function similar to human pepsin, it is papain.
Papain helps us with heavy digestions, as it helps us digest proteins better. It is recommended for people with digestive problems such as gastritis.
Other fruits have similar enzymes. This is the case of pineapple, which has an enzyme with properties similar to papain, called bromelain.
8. Favorable for heart health
Eating papaya can help improve heart health. Also, different studies show that the high content of lycopene, vitamin C and other antioxidants , are favorable to help prevent heart disease. 
9. Helps to have healthy skin
It seems that an excess of free radicals in our body may be responsible in part for wrinkles, sagging and other skin damage that occurs with age.
A study shows that the antioxidants in this fruit, such as vitamin C and lycopene, protect the skin and can help reduce these signs of aging. 
Also, these antioxidants can help your skin recover from sun damage. 
Used in natural cosmetics
Papaya is also used in natural cosmetics, as it helps to improve the beauty of the hair. It also helps us to have healthy skin thanks to its moisturizing, regenerative and exfoliating properties.
Thanks to beta-carotene, it helps us with the protection of our skin, especially when exposed to the sun.
Contraindications of papaya
It is a fruit that provides us with different benefits to our health thanks to its nutritional properties. It is true that it also has some contraindications and side effects that we must know about.
Its consumption can cause stomach problems and even diarrhea. It is true that being a natural diuretic, it should not be consumed in excess when we are taking a diuretic treatment, since it dangerously enhances the diuretic effects.
In some cases it can cause us an allergic reaction. It is known that if we have an allergy to latex we may also have an allergy to papaya because of its composition, although this allergy is rare.
It is always advisable to eat this ripe fruit. However, if it is green, it is advisable to cook it before eating it.
According to the following study, green papaya is not recommended for pregnant women , as it is high in latex and can stimulate contractions. 
If there is any doubt, it is better to consult a nutritionist or health professional.
In conclusion, papaya is a sweet fruit considered a refreshing and easy to consume food. In addition, it provides us with various nutrients such as papain, minerals and vitamins that make this fruit an ideal breath to incorporate into our diet.