Chunky Avocado Papaya Salsa

Why are papayas phenomenal for our gut?

Native to South Mexico and Central America, papaya is a soft tropical fruit with a yellow-orange color, it is filled with little seeds that can either be scooped out, or not. It is round and plump and can come in many delicious sizes. It is best to eat it when it is ripe as the flavor is more desirable and sweet. As for the seeds found on the inside, they are edible but may be a little bitter to taste. This tasty tropical fruit has been linked to aid in reducing risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and aid in better digestion.

Papaya is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. One cup of papaya also contains 3 grams of fiber. Papaya's rich antioxidant profile is rooted in their abundance of enzymes known as papain and chymopapain. Both of these have been shown to be beneficial to our gut microbes because they aid in reducing inflammation in various parts of the body, this in turn makes them useful in maintaining/improving gut and digestive health. In addition the enzyme papain assists in the breakdown of proteins, this enhances digestion increasing intestinal motility and transit time.

Studies have also shown that papaya is great in helping with abnormal digestion and gastrointestinal issues such as IBD. One study observed an experimental group of participants and a control group of participants, both groups experiencing gastrointestinal issues. In this study, the experimental group received papaya preparations for 40 days. Results showed that the papaya helped relieve symptoms such as constipation, heartburn, bloating, and other symptoms of IBD among the experimental group participants. For those of you who suffer from IBD, papaya may be a #goodgut fruit to pick up from your grocery shopping trip.

Ways to eat it

  • Eat papaya fresh by itself or frozen and thrown into smoothies

  • Add it to salsa or salads

Recipe: Chunky Avocado Papaya Salsa

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):

  • 2 medium-size ripe hass avocados, diced

  • 1 small ripe papaya, seeded, peeled and diced

  • 1 tart apple or asian pear, diced

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1 fresh red or green serrano chilo, seeded and thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped

  • 1/2 small red onion, diced

  • salt to taste


  1. Combine diced avocados and papaya in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Season with salt.

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Shulman, M. R. (2014, April 14). Chunky Avocado-Papaya Salsa. The New York Times.

Spritzler, F. (2018). 8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Papaya. Healthline.

Ware, M. (2017). Papaya fruit: Health benefits, uses, and risks. Medical News Today.

Muss, C., Mosgoeller, W., & Endler, T. (2013). Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive

disorders. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 34(1), 38–46.

Santana, L. F., Inada, A. C., Espirito Santo, B., Filiú, W., Pott, A., Alves, F. M., Guimarães, R.,

Freitas, K. C., & Hiane, P. A. (2019). Nutraceutical Potential of Carica papaya in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 11(7), 1608.

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