"What is that mixture you are putting on my face?" I asked my aesthetician D as she slathered on a smooth mask during my facial.

"It's a papaya and yogurt mask," said D. "The healing enzymes in papaya help exfoliate the dead skin and the yogurt is soothing—a good antiaging remedy."

According to D, papaya is a wonderful fruit with many benefits. "Papaya helps with digestion too," said D. "It's good to eat papaya after a heavy protein meal." I was eager to learn about this benefit, even though my gastroenterologist did tell me that I have a beautiful stomach after he looked down my tummy during my endoscopy. I've had irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn during my life after 50, so anything that will help with these issues is a positive attribute.

Dr. Cari Case, a chiropractor from Pennsylvania, writes on her For a Healthy Future blog: "Papaya is rich in many vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin C, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, carotenes, flavonoids, B vitamins, magnesium and pantothenic acid." Dr. Case says that "the carotenoids, antioxidants and vitamins in papaya can help keep your eyes healthy. In fact, they may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related condition resulting in loss of vision."

After my facial, I drove right over to Whole Foods Market to buy some cut-up papaya and plain yogurt. D said to keep the papaya in the freezer and defrost a few chunks before eating or using on my face. To make an at-home facial, D said all I have to do is mash up the papaya, mix it with some yogurt, put it on my face, lie down for 20 minutes and let it soak in and then wash it off.

With my homemade cider vinegar toner and now my at-home papaya facials, I am going to have such fruity and fragrant skin during my life after 50. Ooh, ooh, ooh, but I'll need to stock up on plenty of papayas to also maintain my fabulous looking and hopefully fabulous feeling stomach.

I wonder with my green thumb if I can grow a papaya tree in my backyard? Let's see what it says about growing papayas? Ooh, ooh, ooh, I found a website that explains how to grow papaya from seed. It says it is easy to do. Let me just read down a little bit. Yes, yes, yes, I think I can do it.

Uh-oh! Oh no! The Tropical Permaculture website says: "To grow good papayas you need a frost free climate."

With global warming, maybe when I'm in my 80s I'll be able to grow papayas in the Northeast. Meantime, I guess I'll be purchasing my papaya chunks at the market.

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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