You say papaya, I say… paw-paw

The paw-paw, or, more correctly, the papaya, is a tropical fruit that originated in central America. Cultivated long before the Mayans existed, it’s now grown worldwide, including here in South Africa.

Extremely easy to digest, the papaya is one of those wonder-fruits high up on the list of nutritional masterpieces. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C (a single papaya providing 3 times the recommended daily allowance), provides very good quantities of folate and potassium, and good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Called “the fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus perhaps not only for the sweet taste, but also for the effect it had on his digestion after months of havoc caused by ships rations, the digestive enzyme papain is the main reason for the digestive benefits. It’s particularly good at digesting proteins, and is used as a common ingredient in meat tenderisers.

It has anti-inflammatory effects, supports the eyes and lungs, and protects against a number of forms of cancers, notably colon and prostate cancer.

Papaya has a mild contraceptive effect, and it’s been speculated that large amounts of the unripe fruit may be a trigger for miscarriages. Eating large quantities of green papaya may be dangerous, but ripe papaya haven’t been shown to do any harm.

Excessive amounts of the papaya seeds may also be dangerous, but in normal quantities, they are healthy and assist in removing parasites from the body.

It’s paw-paw season right now, and we have lots available this week, as well a host of other goodies. Browse them all at www.ethical.org.za.

Have a wonderful week,
the Ethical Co-op team.