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Papaya, also known as paw-paws, is a tropical plant with a soft, sweet fleshy fruit similar to a peach that can be found in markets worldwide all year round. Papaya is spherical or pear-shaped and about 7-inches long. The fruit contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins; papain is especially concentrated when the papaya fruit is unripe.

Papaya in raw form contains enzymes, which are used in the preparation of dietary supplements and chewing gums. Papaya is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamin C and vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). Papaya is also a good source of fibre and minerals such as magnesium.

Papaya can be eaten as a fruit, added to salads, smoothies, milkshakes and vegetable dishes. When buying papaya choose a yellow fruit with a uniform colour and a pleasant smelling scent. Papaya is a natural source of vitamins and minerals. To prepare papaya, cut it lengthways, scoop out the seeds and eat it immediately.

Papaya Seeds: The black seeds of the papaya contain traces of an enzyme called carpine, which is a potentially toxic substance. This enzyme can make the nerve centres numb, which could lead to paralysis or cardiac depression.

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