Papaya is a fruit cultivated in a number of tropical countries. Ovoid in shape, with orange-pink flesh and filled with black seeds, the papaya has a texture similar to melon. Although considered an acquired taste, the fruit is popularly consumed worldwide. Due to its nutritional content, there are a number of papaya products available, including food products, beauty products, and medicinal supplements.
Papaya are low in calories and high in fiber. They contain a number of antioxidants including vitamins C and E, carotene, and flavenoids. Vitamins A and B, vitamins such as pantothenic acid, and folate are also present in papaya, as are minerals including potassium and magnesium. Perhaps the most significant component of papaya is papain, which makes papaya useful in so many products.
There are a wide variety of papaya products available for consumption. It is especially popular as a diet food due to its low calorie and high fiber content. The fruit is available fresh, dried, and in juices. It is also a popular flavor component in a number of products such as ice cream and candy. The papain, which breaks downs proteins, is a common ingredient in meat tenderizers. It is also commonly used as a stabilizer in beer and chewing gum.
Papaya products are also available as a wide range of beauty treatments. Moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners often boast papaya as their star ingredient due to its cleansing properties and the vitamins A, C, and E. The papain is often used in exfoliation and cleaning products as it breaks down and removes dead skin cells, revealing the new, softer skin underneath. This also makes it popular in antiaging formulas because it can help to reduce wrinkles and age spots.
Papain is also often used in skin-whitening treatments. The beta hydroxy acid also present in papaya products helps to even skin tone and remove dirt and oil from pores. The appearance of cellulite can be reduced by peptin, yet another component of the fruit. Papaya can even be used in fruit form and applied directly to the skin, making it an inexpensive and natural beauty product.
The vitamin and mineral in the fruit have also resulted in a number of papaya products for health purposes. As well as the fruit being eaten raw or in juices, supplements in tablet form are also available. Papaya is thought to have a number of health benefits including protecting against heart disease, colon cancer, and macular degeneration. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and helps to improve the immune system and lung health. Papaya may also be useful in reducing the risk of prostate cancer and the effects of rheumatoid arthritis when taken as a long-term supplement.