Inspired by a recent CurlyNikki.com post, the papaya has landed its very own spot on the Super Foods list. Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft buttery consistency, the papaya was often called “the fruit of the angels” by the great explorer himself, Christopher Columbus. Once considered exotic, they can now be found in just about any market year round. The flesh of the papaya is a rich orange color with either yellow or pink hues. In the inner cavity are edible black seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. The fruit as well as other parts of the papaya tree contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins and is often extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements. This enzyme is also used as an ingredient in some chewing gums. Papayas are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, vitamin c and flavinoids. Also found in papayas are the B vitamins, folate and antithetic acid, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium and fiber.
The most abundant nutrient in papaya is vitamin C. The vitamin C content in papaya is off the charts. One cup of papaya contains over 300% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. That’s three times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges, pineapples, and grapefruits. For our insides, vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant that helps protect against a variety of diseases (including heat and inflammatory conditions) and help boosts immune support while protecting from free radicals. Thankfully vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it will not build up in the body making the risk of toxicity extremely low. Vitamin C, in a tag team line up with other nutrients and enzymes in papaya, helps to promote digestive help by aiding in the prevention of colon cancer. Form the inside out, vitamin C is often cited as an improver of scalp circulation thereby improving the delivery of nutrients to our scalp and hair. Vitamin C has also said to improve the absorption of iron, glucosamin, and many other nutrients critical to healthy hair growth as well as protecting hair and skin cells from damaging free radicals.
When shopping for papayas there are a few tips to remember. If you want to eat your papaya with in a day of purchase, then you will want a papaya that has a reddish-orange skin and slightly soft to the touch. Papayas with patches of yellow color will take a few more days to ripen. Papayas that are totally green or overly hard should not be purchased, unless you have plans to cook them or want them for use in a cold salad. If you have papaya that is partially yellow, then you should leave it at room temperature where it will ripen in a few days. Papaya can be enjoyed and utilized in a number of ways. You can use it as a hair mask or you can just simply eat it sprinkled with fresh lime juice as is.
Ready to take your running routine to the next level? Take it to the trails! Wherever you life, there is probably a good chance that there are accessible nature trails near by. Trial running allows you to enjoy a refreshing (and beautiful) chance of scenery and get in a great and challenging workout. People often don’t use trails simply because they don’t know where they are, they don’t know what kind of trail to run on, and they don’t know what precautions to take. If you can use the Internet to search for local trails in your area or local parks with trails. Try a Google search and see what you come up with. As far as trail types, there are three different types of trails:
Rails to trails: All over the US, out-of-service railway lines have been converted into multiuse trails. These are perfect for someone making the transition from road to trail running. These trails are well-marked and flat. Surfaces are usually dirt, but can also be gravel or paved. To find a rail trail near you visit www.railtrail.org.
Groomed trails: You can pretty much find these around local rivers, creeks, and parks usually have packed-dirt paths. The smooth soft surface is a great way to reduce the impact of running without the added hazards of rocks, roots, and any other obstacles.
Hiking trails: This is the most challenging of the three. Hiking trails usually have obstacles such as rocks, roots, uneven surfaces that constantly challenge your balance and running mechanics. They make for great workouts but use extreme caution and start with a hike run (running the flat sections and walk the hills a tricky terrain). Using a hike run approach will help avoid injury.
There is some equipment needed when trail running. Given the type of terrain you’re running on, a good pair of trail running shoes is an absolute necessity. They offer better lateral and heel support than the everyday, standard running shoe. They also tend to have a heavier tread patter for extra traction on the trails. You may run into water and end up soaking your socks and shoes. Traditional cotton socks will increase the risk for blisters. Socks made from synthetic fibers or socks that keep your feet cool and help prevent blisters are going to be ideal for trail running. If you’re at a high altitude, sudden temperature changes are possible, so you may want to layer your clothing. Wear clothing that allows your body to cool while wicking away moisture from sweat. Also a taking a pole or stick with you is always a good idea. It will help stabilize your body over tricky terrain as well as fend of any unexpected wildlife.
Other things to consider if you’re thinking of trail running to vary your fitness routine:
- Hike the trail for the first time to familiarize yourself with it, then progress to a run.
- Never (under any circumstances) hike alone.
- Carry various forms of communication like a whistle, satellite-GPS device, or cell phone.
- Carry basic first aid supplies.
- Bend the knees during descents to prevent hyper extending the knee and avoid leaning back to keep from slipping on loose surfaces.
- Use shorter strides on steeper terrain for energy efficiency and increased power.
Train running can deliver a more intense workout in an entertaining fashion. Trail running provides challenges to your balance centers and stabilization muscles as you work to climb trails and control your descents. Trail running keeps you focused as well as keeping your body and mind guessing. It can also be a great way to break though plateaus all while getting you out into the beautiful world around you.
For more info on trail running, visit www.trailrunner.com.
Until next week,