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Papaya: A Tropical Journey through History by the Fruit of Good Health

Papaya, with its sweet, juicy flesh, is a tropical fruit that is a delight for many people all over the world. Its history goes back to faraway lands, taking us on a journey from ancient cultures to the present day. Join us on this fascinating journey from the origins of papaya.

Papaya (Carica papaya) are native to Central America and the northern regions of South America. It is believed that farming of papaya started in Mexico and nearby regions, where the indigenous tribes valued them for their flavour and their medicinal properties.

Journey along the Trade Routes: As ancient civilisations and trade routes grew and expanded, papaya found its way to other parts of the world. Explorers and merchants took the fruit to different places such as Europe, Asia and Africa, where the plants adapted to warm and tropical climates.

Papaya in History and Mythology: Papaya has left its footprint in the history and mythology of several cultures. In Central America the Mayan people considered it a sacred fruit, as did the Aztecs who called it the “Fruit of Angels”. Its ceremonial and medicinal use is deeply rooted in those cultures.

Expansion into Asia: Papaya arrived to Asia via shipping trade where it adapted and was included in different cuisines in the region. Today, countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines are known for their significant papaya production and consumption.

Varieties and Genetic Improvements: Papaya have undergone changes and improvements over the centuries. The most widely known variety, the Hawaiian papaya, was developed in the 20th century. Genetic improvements have led to varieties that are more resistant to diseases and that are adapted to different climates.

Nutritional Properties and Health Benefits: In addition to their delicious flavour, papaya is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fibre and digestion enzymes such as papain. It is said to be a “healthy” fruit because of its benefits for our digestion, skin and immune system.

Papaya in Modern Cuisine: Papaya is eaten all around the world today, and is prepared in different ways. It can be eaten fresh, in salads, shakes, desserts and sauces. Its culinary versatility and nutritional profile have made it a popular ingredient in modern cuisine.

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