Do You Eat Papaya?
Papaya fruit is soft, creamy, sweet and luscious. The flavor is delicate, making papaya a great accompaniment to other more tart fruits such as pineapple, lime and strawberries. This somewhat exotic fruit is not only a treat to enjoy cut fresh, in salads and in smoothies, but it is also packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber with only a few calories and no fat.
The Calorie Break Down
One medium sized papaya fruit contains only 119 calories. Like most fruit, there is little fat in papayas, which makes this a great snack for anyone trying to lose weight and satisfy a craving for sweets.
In one piece of fruit, there is less than half a gram of fat, including both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There are two grams of protein, adding a small but significant amount of energy producing nutrition. A medium papaya fruit contains 30 grams of carbohydrates, 18 of which are sugars. There are five grams of dietary fiber, which means one of these sweet, musky fruits supplies you with over one-fifth of your daily requirement for fiber, thus promoting good digestion and heart health.
Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C. One medium fruit contains over 300 percent of the daily requirement for this invaluable nutrient. What does vitamin C do for the body? It plays many roles, acting as a protective antioxidant and protecting the body against cancer. It supports healthy adrenal gland function and is necessary in high quantities for healthy gums. Vitamin C also supports the cardiovascular
system, lowering high blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis. Vitamin C is reason enough to enjoy papaya once in awhile.
This orange-rose colored fruit is also high in vitamin A because of a high concentration of carotenoids, which can be converted into vitamin A. This vitamin also acts as an important antioxidant. It is necessary for preventing eye problems and for maintaining the well-being of skin and mucous membranes.
Papayas are also good sources of vitamin E, with 11 percent per fruit, rounding out the triad of antioxidant vitamins. When vitamin C, A and E act together they are more effective for protecting cells and preventing serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin E is also very important for the health of red blood cells and of nerves.
There is more. Regularly eating papaya is a great way to supply the body with some vitamin K, an important nutrient for bone health and for proper blood clotting. There is ten percent of the necessary daily requirement for vitamin K in one medium papaya.
Papayas also contain a high amount of folate, which is a very important vitamin for pregnant women, regulating fetal nerve cell development. Folate is important for brain health and energy production. One ripe papaya contains almost 30 percent of the daily recommended amount of folate.
Papayas are a good source of potassium, with a little over 20 percent for one fruit. Potassium balances with sodium in the body. It is important for nervous system health and a regular heart rhythm. This exotic fruit also contains a small amount of magnesium, calcium and iron, promoting bone and cardiovascular health and healthy red blood cells.
Papaya fruit nutrition is well-rounded and makes this delicious fruit an excellent addition to any healthy diet. Today this fruit can be found in most grocery stores. For the highest nutrition and antioxidant content, eat fully ripe papayas. They will have a pink-orange skin when they are ready and will be slightly soft. Enjoy sliced, tossed with other fruit, or drizzle with lime juice and honey and have for dessert.
World’s Healthiest Foods. Papaya. https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=47
Nutrition Data. Papayas, raw. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1985/2
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).