Papayas are originally from Central America. They grow best in a tropical region where there is plentiful rainfall but little long-term flooding. Freezing temperatures may damage a papaya crop.
Indigenous people in the area ate papayas and used them for medicinal purposes. In the 1500s and 1600s, Spanish and Portuguese colonizers brought the seeds to other tropical areas of the globe, including the Philippines and India.
Today, Hawaii, the Philippines, India, Ceylon, Australia, and tropical regions in Africa are the most fruitful papaya-producing regions. Smaller papaya-farming operations still exist in Central and South America.
Papaya has many different names all over the globe. In Australia, it’s called a pawpaw. In southern Asia, it’s sometimes called a kepaya, lapaya, or tapaya. Its name in French is sometimes “figueir des iles,” or fig of the islands. Some Spanish names for papaya include “melon zapote,” “fruta bomba,” or “mamona.”
You may encounter many varieties of papaya in a store, including:
- Kapaho solo (also known as puna solo)
- Hortus gold
- Honey gold
- Improved peterson
- Guinea gold
- Coorg honeydew
Protection Against Heart Disease
Papayas contain high levels of antioxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Diets high in antioxidants may reduce the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol oxidizes, it’s more likely to create blockages that lead to heart disease.