Papayas Nutrition Facts

Calories in Papayas and Their Health Benefits

Fresh papaya cut with seeds inside
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Papaya is a low calorie (containing about 60 calories in one cup), low sodium, cholesterol and virtually fat free food. Papayas are also an excellent source of fiber, racking in about 10 percent of your daily needs in a cups worth. In addition, papaya is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium and antioxidants.

Papayas are a mildly sweet, soft, greenish/yellow fruit shaped like a large pear, weighing in at about one-to-two pounds.

Papayas add versatility to recipes and can be pureed for sweet and savory sauces, soups, or sorbets. Papayas also make for a good protein marinade, as they have an enzyme called papain which breaks down proteins.

Papayas are available year long with their peak season from April to June. They're grown in warm climates and are most often imported from tropical and subtropical locations.

Papaya Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, 1" cubes (145 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 62 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 12mg0%
Potassium 264mg8%
Carbohydrates 15.7g5%
Dietary Fiber 2.5g10%
Sugars 11.3g 
Protein 0.7g 
Vitamin A 28% · Vitamin C 147%
Calcium 3% · Iron 2%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Health Benefits of Papayas

Papayas are rich in vitamin A, beta carotene from their bright orange hue, and an antioxidant called zeaxanthin which may help to prevent macular degeneration and aid in eye health.

Papayas are also rich in fiber which aids in digestive health, can help pull toxins and cholesterol out of the body and increases satiety. Studies have shown that people who eat adequate amounts of fiber are at decreased risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers.

In addition, papayas are rich in vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin responsible for boosting immunity, slowing down aging and repairing tissues.

Papayas might be good for your gut, as they are in an enzyme called papain, that aids in digestion. Their high water content can boost your hydration and help to prevent constipation.

Common Questions About Papayas

Are the seeds of papayas edible?

Yes. The seeds of papaya are edible. They yield a peppery flavor with a slight crunch. They can add flavor to fruit salads or act as garnish.

What does papaya taste like?

Papaya has a taste unlike most fruits, with a creamy mouth feel and a mild flavor. The taste is often compared to that of a melon, but less sweet, and with a softer texture. Sometimes papaya can have a distinct smell, sometimes described as a feet smell, with little to no flavor. Typically this means that the fruit is not ripe. In order to get the full flavor of a papaya it must be very ripe.

Storing and Picking Papayas

The best determinant of ripeness is color, not softness. Select papayas that have a greater proportion of yellow to green skin color. The greener the papaya the less ripe it is.

Avoid papayas that contain blemishes and choose those that are plump and smooth.

Papayas can be stored at room temperature until completely ripe and then refrigerated for up to one week.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Papayas

Papayas add flavor and color to your meals while packing in a nutrition punch.

 Slice papayas and eat them by themselves with a squirt of lemon or lime. Or blend them to make smoothies, sweet and spicy sauces, chilled soups, or protein marinades. Dice papayas and use them in fruit salads, salsas or compote.

Recipes With Papayas

You can incorporate papaya into your meal plan at any time of day. Get some ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and marinades.

Sources: 

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 805.

Linus Pauling Institute. Carotenoids. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids

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