Papaya, succulent fruit of a large plant of the family Caricaceae. It is a popular breakfast fruit in many countries and is also used in salads, pies, sherbets, juices, and confections. The unripe fruit can be cooked like squash. The fruit is commonly spherical to cylindrical in form, is 75 to 500 mm (3 to 20 inches) or even more in length, and sometimes weighs as much as 9 to 11.5 kg (20 to 25.5 pounds). The very juicy flesh is deep yellow or orange to salmon-colored. Along the walls of the large central cavity are attached the numerous round, wrinkled black seeds.
Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant found in papaya filters out harmful blue light rays. It is thought to play a protective role in eye health, and it may ward off macular degeneration.
Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels. One small papaya provides about 3 grams of fiber, which is equivalent to just 17 grams of carbohydrates.
Papayas contain an enzyme called papain that aids digestion; in fact, it can be used as a meat tenderizer. Papaya is also high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.