Papayas are a great source of vitamin C and also beta carotene. It is this latter which helps to prevent damage caused by free radicals. These can cause some cancers. There is a little iron and calcium in the papaya fruit, but perhaps its most interesting content is papain. This enzyme aids the digestion.
Sometimes known as pawpaw, papaya stems from Mexico and Costa Rica. It is now extensively grown in Hawaii.
The seeds can be used to flavour dressings. Buying papaya in tins does not stop you experiencing the delicious taste, but nearly all the vitamin C is lost in the canning process. Always best to enjoy fruit in its natural raw state, and to source organic fruit and vegetables whenever possible.