Papaya: Digestive Enzymes, Inexhaustible Source of Nutrition

This sweet, juicy, pear-shaped fruit has more vitamin C than an orange. It is described as "the fruit of angels" by Christopher Columbus because it has a smooth texture that almost resembles butter. Papayas were once rare and exotic, but are now common in supermarket chains. Peak papaya season is early fall. The tree is a tropical plant and can bear fruit all year round.

Many phytochemicals are found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, including some varieties of papaya. Plant foods are rich in phytochemicals, including bioflavonoids and carotenoids. These substances have potential health benefits. Find out more about the health benefits of papaya through

Papaya has many health benefits.

High levels of vitamin C provide protection against heart disease and prevent atherosclerosis. High levels of antioxidant vitamins A, E and carotenoid phytochemicals help prevent cholesterol from building up in the arteries.

* Protects against the development of colon cancer through a complex nutritional source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, as well as minerals and fiber.

* Papaya and other fruits may be more effective than carrots in protecting against age-related macular damage. The risk of developing this eye disease among older adults is reduced by eating three to five fruits per day.

The fruit is rich in two proteolytic enzymes, papain and chymopapain, which allow the digestion of proteins. The most important and abundant of these enzymes, papain, is extracted from the unripe fruit and dried. It is the main ingredient in natural digestive aids and has been used for many years to tenderize meats, heal wounds, and soften skin.