The flowers are pointed at the tip and bulb-shaped at the base before they open. In a small study in older adults with inflammation and precancerous stomach conditions, a fermented papaya preparation reduced oxidative damage (16). It originated in Central America and Southern Mexico but is now grown in many other parts of the world. Chronic inflammation is at the root of many diseases, and unhealthy foods and lifestyle choices can drive the inflammatory process (22). Learn more about the dragon fruit, also called pitaya. Most papaya growers prefer hermaphrodite plants because they don’t need male or female plants to grow fruit. Because of this, people have used papaya to tenderize meat for thousands of years. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. Here are the 20 healthiest fruits on earth, backed by science. Excessive free radical activity is believed to be responsible for much of the wrinkling, sagging and other skin damage that occurs with age (30). The seeds, leaves and roots have also been shown to treat ulcers in animals and humans (28, 29). The papaya is an incredibly healthy tropical fruit. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, papayas need both male and female flowers to produce their bounty. There is three basic steps: 1. A Tropical Fruit With Health Benefits, Passion Fruit 101 — Everything You Need to Know, Durian Fruit: Smelly but Incredibly Nutritious. After washing it well, you can cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and eat it out of the rind with a spoon, like cantaloupe or melon. Male flowers look different that other papaya flowers because they grow in large numbers on drooping stalks, known as peduncle. In one study, supplementing with lycopene for 10–12 weeks decreased skin redness after sun exposure, which is a sign of skin injury (32). From vegetable-based ideas to berry-packed varieties, try these tasty smoothie recipes to up your intake of vitamins and antioxidants. If you’re growing papayas at home, it’s a good idea to plant several of them. What it is, what it looks like, nutrition facts, health benefits and how to eat it. Papaya is rich in valuable nutrients and has a delicious taste. Antioxidants, including the carotenoids found in papayas, can neutralize free radicals (4). Many home gardeners that grow papaya wonder why the plants don’t produce fruit. Among 14 fruits and vegetables with known antioxidant properties, only papaya demonstrated anticancer activity in breast cancer cells (15). In one study, people with Alzheimer’s given a fermented papaya extract for six months experienced a 40% drop in a biomarker which indicates oxidative damage to DNA — and is also linked to aging and cancer (10, 11). In another, older women who consumed a mixture of lycopene, vitamin C and other antioxidants for 14 weeks had a visible and measurable reduction in depth of facial wrinkles (33). The plants produce three different types of sexual flowers. If the flower isn’t pollinated, the developing fruit falls off while still small. Here are a few easy recipe ideas using one small papaya: Papaya is rich in valuable nutrients and has a delicious taste. Just cut like a melon, scoop out the seeds, and enjoy. This way, there’s a better possibility that you’ll have either a male and a female, or a hermaphrodite that can pollinate itself and a female. Try adding this healthy and delicious fruit to your diet today. Like an avocado, its skin should yield to gentle pressure. In one study, people who took a papaya-based formula for 40 days had significant improvement in constipation and bloating (27). If the papaya is ripe, it can be eaten raw. The following lists the features of the three papaya flowers: Since male papaya flowers don’t have ovaries, they can’t produce fruit.