"Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase."
"While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease." ~Study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology
In a small 11 oz papaya there is nearly
*30% Daily Value of Folate
*17% DV Vitamin E
*10% DV Vitamin K
*313% DV of Vitamin C
Not that research is required to prove ripe fruit is optimal, but I was taught in my Nutrition classes to see that folate is mainly found in greens, and that you need a whole lot. Also, that Vitamin E was primarily found in nuts, and that Vitamin K was found in greens. It's interesting to see these are present in fruit, too.
It's also interesting to see that when fruits change color, the chlorophyll doesn't go away, but are replaced by "polar NCCs (nonfluorescing chlorophyll catabolytes), that contain four pyrrole rings - like chlorophyll and heme."
This also sounds unusual from what is taught in Nutrition courses. Heme in fruit?
[12/4/08 Edit: I think what the article was saying was that fruits contain four pyrrole rings like other four pyrrole rings we know, chlorophyll and heme.]