Organic, dried papaya is free from sulphites and other chemicals. This is one of the differences between organic and conventional dried fruits. Buying organic will help to avoid any pesticide residues in the fruit. The papaya fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contains the enzyme papain, useful in treating ailments including constipation and digestive problems.You should eat dried fruit in small amounts, since its sugars and calorie content become concentrated once dried. Since it is naturally sweet, papaya is an excellent snack food and healthy, nutritious alternative to sugary desserts.
This enzyme is specifically found in papaya fruit. It is at its peak concentration in the green, unripened papaya fruit. Since it is an enzyme, it is destroyed, or denatured (rendered inactive), if exposed to high temperatures. For this reason commercially dried papaya does not contain active papain. Traditionally, the fruit was dried in the sun, a much slower process that did not expose it to high heat, so the enzyme was still preserved and active. Asian food stores often carry green papaya, which you can add to salads. Another less known enzyme found in papaya is chymopapain. These enzymes in the fruit help to digest fats, starches and proteins.
Papaya fruit contains high levels of nutrients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants. It is rich in carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which are important nutrients for overall health maintenance and for fighting disease by helping to build the immune system, and in B vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folate and niacin. It contains vitamin A, E and K and is an alkaline fruit, therefore effective for an upset stomach.
Minerals and Proteins
Minerals found in papaya include iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. The fruit contains fibre and lowers high cholesterol levels. It contains protein and the amino acid L-Arginine, which assists in the healing of wounds, maintaining healthy levels of spermatozoa in males and activating growth hormones that aid in cell rejuvenation, helping to rebuild cells in the liver, bones and muscles.
Dried papaya is an excellent, mess-free snack, convenient to carry and eat anywhere. It's sold in thin slices or disc shapes and has a subtle, unique flavour. Nutritionally it has less nutrient quantities than fresh fruit, since some nutrient levels are depleted in moisture extraction and in the process of artificial heating, but it is still rich in many minerals and vitamins.
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