I used to hate papayas. I don’t really know why, maybe because I thought they weren’t as sweet as other types of fruit but then when I found out how amazing they are for your health, I gave them another try and I became officially hooked. Funny, how that works!
Papayas are very high in vitamin C, a good source of vitamin A and folate, and are loaded with the enzyme papain that helps you digest protein (which also helps keep your skin, nails and hair beautiful!). When I tried papaya previously, it must have not been ripe, because they are absolutely DE-LIC-IOUS and sweet when they are ready to eat! Yet, so many health conscious people pass them up at the grocery store because they are one of the most common genetically modified (GMO) crops here in America. While this is true, there are non-GMO papayas out there, and although they are not labeled, you just need to know what to look for.
How to choose a Non-GMO Papaya:
There’s a lot of debate about the safety of GMO papaya that is grown in Hawaii. Some say they have introduced new allergens and some say they could harm the environment. Because I follow the precautionary principle, I like to stick to the non-GMO variety, here’s what I look out for…
- Certified organic papayas are non-GMO. Organic is also the best choice to avoid these pesticide residues according to data collected by the USDA Pesticide Data Program. However, organic papayas can be hard to find.
- Choose papayas that are grown in Asia, Brazil, Belize, or Mexico. All papayas that are grown in Hawaii may contaminated with GMOs due to cross contamination.
Look for specific varieties of papaya, which are usually labeled at the store.
- Choose Non-GMO papayas: Kapoho, Mexican Red, Caribbean Red, Maradol, Royal Star, Singapore Pink, and Higgins papayas.
- Avoid GMO papayas: Rainbow, Sun Up, Strawberry, and Sunrise papayas.
The magical papaya seed!
Can you eat papaya seeds? Yes, don’t throw them out! They are the most powerful part of the papaya. When I posted this picture below on Instagram, I got a TON of questions about this…
Papaya seeds have been shown to be beneficial to the liver and kidneys, and may rid your body of intestinal parasites. You can eat the seeds whole, but I like to blend them up into my smoothies. I’ll cut the papaya into chunks and freeze the papaya along with the seeds. They can have a strong taste and are very powerful, so I don’t use a lot at a time, start with a teaspoon and move up to a tablespoon from there. You can also put clean dried papaya seeds into a spice grinder to sprinkle onto your food. They have a kind-of peppery flavor, and mix well into salad dressings or as a replacement to pepper.
Here’s one of my favorite new salads that incorporates papaya (and their seeds if you are willing to try them)… This recipe is refreshing, easy to make and will keep you full for hours!
- 1 cup sprouted lentils
- 1 small papaya, peeled and diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon dried and ground papaya seeds (optional)
- Cook 1 cup of lentils according to package instructions.
- While the lentils are cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Place the lentils, papaya and veggies in a bowl. Top with the dressing and toss to combine. Enjoy!
So what’s the verdict? Are you ready to give papaya a shot?
If you are looking to stop your cravings or to incorporate more healthy remakes like this dish into your diet, you’ve got to check out the Food Babe Meal Plans for Health program. You get exclusive weekly tips, a new monthly meal calendar with recipes, grocery lists and the support of the Food Babe team. Hope you’ll consider joining us!
If you know someone who needs to try papaya – please share this recipe with them, who knows maybe they’ll make a salad or smoothie for ya!