I like food!
Little wonder I went to study it in the university. Foods are what we eat every day to live and remain healthy but so many people do not consider that sometimes what we eat to live can be why we are sick.
With the rise in technology, conventional ways of meal preparation, new recipes, and food inventions, most people have lost touch with nature and all it has provided for our well-being. Little wonder shawarma spots seem to thrive every day while local fruit sellers spend market days in misery.
In as much as we embrace the new, we should never forget the old. I hope this article helps you reconsider and invest more in local foods and fruits.
The first fruit I will talk about, which I know is found in almost everybody’s backyard in Eastern Nigeria. I don’t know about other parts of Nigeria because I’ve not seen much of those parts. But certainly, it is a fruit we all know and refer to as “paw-paw”.
Papaya, locally called paw-paw in Nigeria, is a yellowish fruit of the Carica papaya species. The papaya tree is most times tall with a soft stem. It is unlike most fruit trees that are strong and can be used to make fire. The papaya stem on the other hand is soft and can not make a good fire. The fruit is made up of a yellowish, sometimes orange fleshy pulp with black round seeds. The peel is green at first but turns yellow upon ripening. This amazing fruit is a load of goodness!
Paw-paw contains a lot of water! Have you noticed? Probably not. Studies have shown, its water content is around 88%. That’s a whole lot to stay hydrated! It also has a substantial amount of carbohydrates about 11%. It provides the body with 43kcal of energy.
It is very rich in vitamin C (about 73% of it), A, and E. It is a good source of folate and you know folate is very good for women especially women from 13 to 40. Because of the monthly blood loss. It also contains a substantial amount of calcium. And yes, it has fiber. The dietary fiber in paw-paw is about 1.7g. All values given above are per 100g.
Health Benefits of Paw-paw
Improves Heart Health
Due to the vitamin C, A, and E content of paw-paw, it works as an antioxidant and protects your heart from heart diseases.
Heart diseases are most times caused by the oxidation of cholesterol in the body causing it to block vital passages to the heart leading to heart diseases. With a daily dose of paw-paw, you get enough antioxidants than the oxidation of cholesterol thereby giving you a healthy heart.
Not only do the antioxidants in paw-paw help the heart, but the fiber too. Papaya like most fruits is very rich in fiber. Fiber may also reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
Fruits as we all know helps in digestion and bowel movement because of the fiber content. However, paw-paw contains certain enzymes that aid the digestion of protein – the enzymes papain and chymopapain. These enzymes are what drug manufacturers use in making digestion enhancing drugs and we buy them when we can have it in just a few bites.
The two enzymes mentioned above also help to reduce inflammation in the body. They help in the healing of cuts, bruises and Burns and also in treating arthritis and asthma.
Rich Immune System
Vitamin C as we all know boosts the immune system. When your immune system is strong, it can fight diseases that may want to invade your body. If your immune system is strong then you have better chances of surviving the pandemic and remaining healthy. So what’s it going to be? Drugs or nay?
The vitamin A content of paw-paw makes it good for the eye. Eat some for your eye health.
Properly wash paw-paw before peeling and cutting. Remember to wash your hand properly too to avoid contaminating the fruit and causing harm to yourself. Cut paw-paw into smaller sizes and serve before meals. Always remember to eat fruits before meals.
Give yourself a healthy treat!