7 Reasons To Eat Papayas As Often As Possible

papaya 002

By Joanne Beccarelli

Most people think of papaya as only a delicious and sweet fruit, but the entire plant, including the seeds, peel, bark and roots also offer nutritional and medicinal properties that have been used throughout history.

papaya1Papaya is a tropical fruit, botanically known as carica papaya and also called papaw, paw paw (Australia), mamao (Brazil) and tree melon. It is native to southern Mexico and Central America, but is now grown in almost every tropical climate country. Today, in the United States, most supermarket papaya is the Hawaiian variety, which is smallish, bearing yellow skin when ripe and bright orange or pinkish flesh.

High In Antioxidant

Papaya fruit provides a concentrated source of powerful antioxidants and vitamins C and A. Antioxidants help prevent the body from the oxidation of cells, which creates free radicals in the body. Free radicals contribute to many chronic diseases and play a role in skin health and aging.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that is important for many body functions, increasing immunity and fighting diseases. It is necessary for growth and repair of all tissues. Your body does not make vitamin C or store it, so a diet rich in vitamin C is necessary to keep levels where they need to be. While papaya is not considered a citrus fruit, a 1 cup serving delivers over 230% of the RDA (75-90 mg).

Vitamin A

Beta-carotene is the type of vitamin A we are all most familiar with. It is found in plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits and is an antioxidant. Vitamin A helps support healthy skin, vision, soft tissue, mucous membranes, teeth and bones. It is also believed that beta-carotene can help reduce the risk of cancer. Papaya is one of the fruits with the highest levels of vitamin A and will provide 44% of the RDA (700-900 mcg or 2300-3000 IU) in a 1 cup serving.

Other Nutritional Benefits

Papaya also contains high levels of other beneficial nutrients, including folate (vitamin B9), potassium, magnesium, fiber and to a lesser degree, a host of other vitamins and enzymes.

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, helps to support adrenal function, maintain a healthy nervous system and help metabolic functions. It is an important element in human growth and development, making it vitally important for pregnant women. Papaya contains 21% of the RDA (400-600 mcg) in a 1 cup serving.

Both potassium and magnesium are important electrolytes that help to regulate the flow of fluids and nutrients in the body as well as being fundamental to nerve and muscle functions. Papaya provides 12% of the RDA for both magnesium and potassium.

Beyond vitamins and minerals, papaya contains the enzyme papain, which is a powerful digestive aid and is also used in the treatment of arthritis. Papain comes from the fruit, bark and leaves of the papaya.

For a complete nutritional profile on papaya, see Wolfram Alpha.

The 7 Top Health Benefits Of Eating Papaya

With such a high concentration of key nutrients, papaya provides an impressive list of health benefits.

1. Papaya is anti-inflammatory and helps protect the body against rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions.
2. Promotes digestive health.
3. Boosts immunity.
4. Protects against heart disease.
5. Safeguards against macular degeneration.
6. Reduces risks of prostate and colon cancers.
7. Supports healthy skin.

These are all great reasons to run out and buy some papaya today. Be sure to look for organic or non-GMO varieties to maximize the goodness it will bring to you. Start with a simple bowl of cut papaya fruit to enjoy it in its purest form and get acquainted with the flavor. Then try it in a smoothie where you might have otherwise used mango or pineapple.

When you are ready to really dive in, give my recipes for Papaya Mango Salsa or BitterSweet Arugula Papaya Salad a try (recipes included). Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Note: If you have a latex allergy, you may also be allergic to papaya.

Papaya Mango Salsa

©GLAD for Health

Papaya Mango Salsa
  • 1 small red onion, diced very small
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded, diced very small
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • ½ papaya, peeled and de-seeded, diced small (save seeds for another use)
  • 1 mango, peeled, diced small
  • ¼ bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil (optional)
  1. In a glass bowl, combine the onion, jalapeno, lime zest and juice. Let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add the spices and stir.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

 BitterSweet Arugula Papaya Salad

©GLAD for Health

BitterSweet Arugula Papaya Salad
  • 5 cups baby arugula
  • ½ papaya, peeled, seeded and diced medium
  • 3 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1 haas avocado, diced medium
  1. Toss and dress sparingly with Pomegranate Dressing

 Pomegranate Dressing

©GLAD for Health

Pomegranate Dressing
  • 1 shallot diced small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • Dash salt
  • Dash pepper
  1. In a glass jar, combine the shallot, garlic, vinegar, lime zest and lime juice. Let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add the pomegranate juice, dijon mustard, honey, oil and spices.
  3. Cover the jar and stir or shake vigorously.


WebMD, Antioxidants, Free Radicals
Wolfram Alpha, Papaya
Journal of Medicinal Plants Study, Papaya
California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., Papaya
University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate
Dr. Mercola, Papaya

Joanne Beccarelli
Follow me

Joanne Beccarelli

Holistic Health Coach, Juicing Junkie and Writer at GLAD for Health
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.

Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
Joanne Beccarelli
Follow me


What Our Clients Say*

Glenn was in an accident with a hockey puck that made it so his mouth had to be wired shut! While he was going through recovery he found that Organifi Protein sustained him in a healthy way where he was able to maintain his muscle mass while still be able to loose weight.

-Tragedy Turns to Opportunity, Weightloss and Holistic Health

Glenn was in an accident with a hockey puck that made it so his mouth had to be wired shut! While he was going through recovery he found that Organifi Protein sustained him in a healthy way where he was able to maintain his muscle mass while still be able to loose weight.

-Tragedy Turns to Opportunity, Weightloss and Holistic Health
View More Testimonials
*Results may vary by individual

Join The Community

Heal the WorldCustomer SupportHealth & Nutrition
Join Now