Papaya: The antioxidant powerhouse for weight loss, digestion and anti-cancer benefits

Get to know the extraordinary power of papaya, a remarkable fruit renowned for its exceptional antioxidant properties.

Papaya can cause allergies in some people. If you encounter any adverse reactions after consuming it, discontinue consumption and seek medical advice.

The papaya is a powerhouse of antioxidants and, as such, must be included in the diet. This humble fruit is known to have anti-cancerous properties (lycopene in papaya can reduce cancer risk), aid digestion, protect the heart, enhance the effects of good cholesterol, be good for your skin and may also provide some protection against sunburns. 

Additionally, if you are on a diet, papaya can be an ideal snack as it is low in calories and fiber. Here’s the impressive, nutritious profile of papayas [1].

What is the papaya’s nutritional profile?

Medium-sized papaya or around 152 grams, usually has:

  • Calories: 60
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Vitamin C: 157% of the RDI (recommended daily intake)
  • Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
  • Folate: 14% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 11% of the RDI
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What are the health benefits of papaya?

Sameena Ansari, Senior Dietitian and Nutritionist, CARE Hospitals, Hi-Tec City, Hyderabad, shares the health benefits of papaya [2]:

1. Nutrient-rich: They are a good source of vitamins A and C, folate and potassium.

2. Digestive health: The enzyme papain in papaya can assist in digestion and alleviate constipation.

3. Antioxidant properties: The antioxidants in papayas reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

4. Immune system support: The high vitamin C content in papayas supports immune function.

5. Eye health: The presence of vitamin A and other antioxidants contributes to good eye health.

6. Skin health: The antioxidants and vitamin C in papayas can promote healthy skin and wound healing.

Is papaya good for weight loss?

As a result of their low calorie and high fiber content, papayas are an excellent weight loss food.

“The fiber helps promote a feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating,” explained Ansari.

Also, it has an enzyme called papain, which aids in digestion and may contribute to a healthy metabolism.

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Can diabetics consume papaya?

Diabetic patients do not necessarily have to give up consuming papaya completely, but it’s important to monitor blood sugar levels and ensure that the fruit is consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

“For diabetic patients, it’s generally safe to consume papaya in moderation. As with any fruit, portion control is essential because of the natural sugars present in the fruit.”

Diabetics should consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to establish the appropriate amount of papaya to include in their diet.

Is papaya safe for pregnant women?

Eating fully-ripe papaya is generally considered safe for pregnant women.

“However, it is advisable for pregnant women to consult with their healthcare provider before making any significant dietary changes or incorporating new foods into their diet,” suggested Ansari.

Final thoughts

Keep these things in mind when consuming papaya, according to Ansari:

  • Allergies: Some individuals may have allergies to papaya. If you experience any adverse reactions after eating papaya, discontinue its consumption and seek medical advice.
  • Ripeness: Choose ripe papayas for optimal taste and nutritional content.
  • Pesticides: If possible, select organic papayas to reduce exposure to pesticides.
  • Interactions: Papaya contains enzymes that may interact with certain medications, particularly blood-thinning medications. If you are taking any medications, consult your healthcare provider to ensure there are no potential interactions.
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The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.