Papaya is a fruit of the plant Carica Papaya. It is cultivated in countries with tropical climate, such as Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and Central and South America. It can be easily recognized by its size: the leaves are large, 50-70 cm diameter, the single stem of the tree plant goes up to 5-10 m, the flowers are wax like, with 15-45 cm long petals, and the fruit has a 15-30 cm diameter. The papaya is ripe when it has a soft texture, with amber to orange hue skin color. Its taste is unique; it may resemble slightly to pineapple and peach.
It can be eaten cooked, in curries and salads and it is a very popular food in India, Sri Lanka and Philippines.
What is spectacular about this fruit is the large amount of nutritional substances and their effects on humans. 100 grams of ripe papaya contains: 6% vitamin A, 3% beta-carotene, 3% of each type of vitamin B, 10% of vitamin C, 2% of each of the following: phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium. It also contains sugars (5.9%) and dietary fibers (2%). Women in Sri Lanka and India used it for a long time as a contraceptive and remedy for abortion. Medical research has proven the contraceptive effect of papaya. Phytochemicals contained by the fruit can lead to suppressing the effects of progesterone.
The seeds are often used as a substitute for black pepper. Due to the substances contained, papaya helps in treating high blood pressure, low libido, skin sores, fungal infections, stomachaches.
Although many diseases can be treated with papaya, it is not recommended eating it in large amounts, because it increases infertility risk. The fruit is known to release a latex fluid if is consumed not ripened, which can cause irritation and allergic reactions to some people. It also contains carpaine which in high doses can be dangerous.