Food Profile: Papaya

The Papaya is a South American plant that is a favorite in the Philippines for it’s ease of cultivation and of course, it’s flavor. These fruit come in a multitude of varieties, meaning the shapes, colors and tastes vary. They are also eaten unripe as a vegetable.

Nutrition Facts

Effects on the Immune System

Papaya’s greatest benefits are offered in the form of Vitamin C and A.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is needed in the proper function of the immune system. It is also needed for our body to produce it’s physical structure such as skin, muscles and bones.

Vitamin A is highly important in the health of our immune system as it is needed to regulate the mucosal surfaces that coat them and keep them safe from infection and virus. This includes our mouths, noses and lungs.

Antioxidant Profile

Aside from Vitamin C, It is also rich in Beta- Carotene, an antioxidant that has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of asthma, making it especially valuable for the respiratory health of those with this condition.

All of these factors make Papaya an excellent boost to your defenses against COVID and other viruses.

COVID RESISTANCE: Vitamin A is the number one nutrient for protecting our respiratory system, bolstering your first(mucous) line of defense, and also produces antibodies (IgA) that protect your lungs. Vitamin C is essential for adaptive immunity which will protect you from variants of the virus. Recent research has shown that Antioxidants are key in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation which lead to progression to severe COVID symptoms.

Special Information

Papaya is a delicious fruit that can be eaten raw, or in a dish or shake. Unripe papays can be cooked like a vegetable, although nutritional value varies. They are easily propagated, although there are some things you need to know about Papaya plants first. You need to learn to distinguish between female (productive) and male (useless) plants. Papaya trees are very sensitive to water and standing water will die very quickly if exposed to this. Plant them in well draining, sloped areas.

More importantly you need to be aware that there are Genetically engineered papaya varieties.

Choose Organic

I have heard quite a bit about GMO papayas; that we need to avoid “Red Lady” and that GMO papayas do not produce seed. Having done my research on this, turns out that these are not quite true. There is one genetically engineered papaya called the “Rainbow Papaya”. They were created in the 90’s to prevent the ringspot virus. A gene from the virus was inserted into the papaya’s DNA, meaning it is in every cell of the fruit. It is important to avoid this variety and it’s hybrids.

Papaya is also heavily treated with fertilizers and pesticides on conventional farms.

It is always best to choose organic papayas as they will contain up to 60% more antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C, as well as ensure that you are not exposed to toxic chemicals.

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