For centuries, papaya, also known as the pawpaw (Carica papaya), has been a crucial ingredient in natural healing. It has also been part of the staple diet of many indigenous peoples.
Papayas are known for their long list of health benefits. They have a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They are especially known for how they help with digestion.
What is not commonly known is that unripe (or green) papayas also have health benefits. Here are some of the reasons why green papayas are good for your health.
Green papayas have a higher amount of potassium than ripe papayas. Potassium is one of the major electrolytes in the blood (the others are sodium and chloride), carrying a positive electrical charge.
Green papayas have higher papain, a protein-digesting enzyme, concentration than ripe ones. The papain and chymopapain along with other enzymes and phytonutrients help improve digestion.
Because of their high fiber content, the enzymes present in raw papaya, and the latex, green papayas are perfect for naturally cleaning the digestive system. They help move waste more efficiently and green papaya juice helps to cleanse the colon naturally.
Green papaya contains more active enzymes than the ripe papaya. It contains papain and chymopapain, two very potent enzymes which help in the breakdown of fat, proteins, and carbohydrates, and supports a healthy metabolism.
In fact, papain has been found to be more efficient in the breakdown of fats than pepsin which is produced by the stomach.
In a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition raw papaya was found to have the greatest amount of carotenoids compared to tomatoes and carrots. The carotenoids present in raw papaya were also found to be more easily usable by the human body when compared to those found in other fruits.
Carotenoids act as health nutrients for the body. They help give the immune system a natural boost.
Some carotenoids are converted by the body to vitamin A, which is essential for vision, growth, and development.
Green papaya has a compound that helps improve lactation in new mothers. It is well known for this purpose in traditional alternative medicine.
Green papaya has high protease enzyme content, giving it de-sloughing properties that help keep skin fresh and healthy.
With this extensive list of health benefits, you can see that unripe papaya are a miracle fruit. The next time you buy them among your ripe fruits, don't leave them out to ripen. You can eat them as they are.
Unripe papayas are green on the outside and not pulpy. The inside of the green fruit is sometimes white in color. Green papayas are not that popular when compared to the ripe ones because they do not contain as much sugar.
In fact, they are difficult to eat raw.
They typically need to be incorporated into a recipe with other ingredients in order to satisfy the taste buds. You can include green papayas in a vegetable salad, for example. Alternatively, you can cook them or juice them.
To help you consume green papaya more easily we have created a Green Papaya Powder to help you get all the benefits of eating an unripe papaya. You can easily sprinkle a serving of the powder over cereal, in a salad or over your meal. The options are limitless.
Have you ever tried an unripe papaya? What did you think?
Caution: Caution is in order, the unripe papaya contains latex fluid, which may burn the skin or even cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Just be aware of this before you try it. As mentioned above, the fruit causes uterine contractions so pregnant women should avoid it till after they give birth.