It has been claimed that papaya is one of the healthiest fruits that we can eat. Since fruits are generally regarded to be very beneficial to our health then papaya must really be a benefit laden fruit.
The Plant– Papaya comes from the Carica papaya plant which is plant native to the tropical part of the Americas. The plant has been cultivated in that part of the world even before the emergence of the civilizations that later flourished there. The Carica papaya is a treelike that can reach heights of about 5 to 10 metres. The leaves are confined to the top part of the plant while the trunk is filled with markings where the leaves where once attached. The tree does not grow any branches unless cultivated to do so or the trunk is lopped.
From the Americas the cultivation of the papaya plant has spread into other parts of the world. It can be grown in any tropical area and requires very little care. It can now be found in almost all the tropical countries in the world. Since the plant is very sensitive to frost it can not be grown on colder climates.
The Fruit- There are two types of papaya fruits. The first one has reddish or orange flesh that is very sweet when ripe. The second one is rather yellow in colour. Unripe papaya fruit is also considered to be a good food source and is used in salads and in some Asian dishes.
Nutritional and Medicinal Value of Papaya– The papaya fruit is rich in vitamins C, B and A. The fruit is also very rich in phytochemicals which is very beneficial to the body. Some cultures also use the papaya plant for its properties in fighting malaria and some modern researchers have noted that it does have some antimalarial actions although it still requires more intense study and research.
Papaya for Skin Care- One of the most exciting benefits of papaya that has been discovered in recent years is its benefits in skin care. The chief benefit of papaya for skin care comes from the fact that it contains papain which is an enzyme that can act as a very good natural exfoliating agent. It can help remove dead skin cells, dirt and other unwanted particles on the skin surface without being harsh on the skin. It is also believed that it can help curing of skin ulcers and helping burn victims to recover more quickly.
It has also been claimed that papaya can be used for its anti-aging properties. You can make an anti-aging mask from the fruit. All that you have to do is to mash the fruit on a bowl, you can choose to add milk in it and then apply to your face. It can even help with your skin tone. In some Asian countries papaya is also used as a skin whitening product. The fruit is processed and included in products like soaps and lotions that are supposed to make the skin fairer with continued use.