How Papaya Can Help You Lose Weight

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on February 5, 2020
papaya fruits on focus photography

It takes many effort to finally find the right diet that can shed off your unwanted weight. Sometimes, you need a little trial and error to determine what diet fits you best. But then, one thing is for sure, and that is to eat foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories such as papaya (1)

Where are papayas usually found

Papayas are native to Central America and Mexico. They are also known as pawpaw or papaw. Papayas are somewhat sweet, and they are also used in pies, salads, juices, sherbets, and confections. Usually, they can be found in tropical countries, as well as the warmest area of the subtropical regions of the world (2)

Papayas used to be rare and exotic but, today, they are already available throughout the year. What makes papayas popular are its vibrant color, sweet taste, and the various health benefits they provide such as reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, indigestion, high blood pressure, and inflammation (3)

Benefits of papayas for weight loss

Papayas contain nutrients that can provide various health benefits. They can help in shielding you against various diseases. Here are the benefits of papayas:


  • Powerful antioxidant effects


Do you know that free radicals can lead to various diseases? Free radicals can be developed during your body’s metabolism. Eating papayas can neutralize these free radicals because they contain antioxidants (4)

Antioxidants are known to reduce oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals. A study has shown that fermented papayas are good for people with diabetes, liver disease, and hypothyroidism as conducted in older adults (5)

Aside from that, free radicals are detrimental to your brain as it can lead to Alzheimer’s disease (6). In a study, people who eat a fermented papaya experience a reduction in oxidative stress by 40 percent. This is explained by the lycopene content of papayas, as well as their ability to remove excess iron, and both are attributed to the production of free radicals. 

Furthermore, antioxidants, which can be found in fruits, can such as papayas help in curbing obesity and in improving the heart. The antioxidants, including phenolic acids and flavonoids, are responsible for cutting fatty buildup in cells (7)


  • Improve digestion


If you eat papaya, it will be easier for you to digest proteins. Papayas contain papain enzymes which are responsible for healthy digestion. Papayas are usually used to cure constipation, as well as other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It can even be a remedy for bloating (8).  The leaves, roots, and seeds of papayas are also known to treat ulcers (9)

And yes, your digestive system plays a role in weight loss. If you eat foods that are difficult to break down or if you overeat, you usually experience slow digestion. The waste within your body also gets compacted; that is why you experience constipation, bloating, heartburn, or even diarrhea. 

If your digestive system and your waste buildup are sluggish, then it could lead to weight gain. So if you want to lose weight, you may need to improve your digestion by eating papayas. A diet that includes fermented foods and the digestive enzyme can help your system run smoothly (10)


  • Improve the heart


Including papaya in your diet can help boost your heart. Several studies show that fruits rich in vitamin C and lycopene, such as papayas, can help prevent various heart diseases (11). Papayas are also high in antioxidants, which can combat your heart, especially that they enhance the protective effects of good cholesterol.

A study has shown that people who consumed fermented papayas for almost three months less likely to experience inflammation. And the improved ratio of the bad and good cholesterol is an indication that they have a reduced risk of various heart diseases (12)

Weight loss and heart disease are directly connected because you will have a higher risk of heart disease if you are overweight. The American Heart Association has provided that obesity itself can increase your risk of heart disease even if you have no other complications or health-related conditions (13)


  • Nutrient-rich foods


Papayas are already grown in all parts of the world. It contains papain enzymes that can break down tough proteins in meat. That is the reason why papayas are used for thousands of years for tendering meat. 

Ripe papayas can be eaten raw. But if papayas are unripe, they need to be cooked first before eating. Since unripe papayas are high in latex, they should be cooked first. Otherwise, it can stimulate contractions, which can be dangerous during pregnancy (14).

Small papaya weighing 152 grams contains 59 calories (15). The standard diet is 2,000 calories. And that is just about 3 percent of the calorie requirement. If you trim about 3,500 to 7,000 calories every week, you will most likely experience around 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss. 

Low-calorie fruits, like papayas, can help in promoting long-term regulation of weight (16). Papaya is also a good source of water. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium, and magnesium.


  • Fiber-rich fruit


Papaya is a good source of fiber. A 152 grams papaya contains 3 grams of fiber. And that is 12 percent of the 25 grams daily required fiber intake according to the US Food and Drug Administration. 

If you have enough supply of fiber in your body, you will have a higher satiety level. It means that your food consumption will be controlled. If you are full, you will be less likely to eat more food. But if your food is not filling, then there are high chances that you will get hungry within a short time. 

More interestingly, fiber can help you get rid of belly fats. Belly fats are very unhealthy. It can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health diseases. Fortunately, a study has shown that consuming fruits high in fiber can lower your risk of belly fats (17)

Soluble fiber can help get rid of belly fats in many ways. Soluble fiber helps in encouraging the diversity of gut bacteria. These bacteria are linked to reduced belly fats. Soluble fiber can also reduce appetite. Suppressing your appetite will help you consume fewer calories, which will then lead to weight loss (18)


  • Fewer fats


The fat content of a small papaya is only 0.41 grams. And that is only 1 percent of the 65 grams required daily fat consumption according to the Food and Drug Association. If you hear about fats, you will most likely think that it can make you gain weight. But healthy fats are needed by our body for cardiovascular and brain health. 

Fats are high in energy as compared to other nutrients. Too many fats can eventually lead to weight gain that is why you may need to control your fat intake. Since papayas contain fewer fats, it can contribute to weight loss. Aside from that, it can also help lower your risk of various heart diseases (19)

Other Health Benefits of Papayas


  • Anti-cancer properties


Lycopene is also an antioxidant that can provide various health benefits such as improved heart health, sun protection, and lower risk of cancer (20). Since papayas contain lycopene, they can help in reducing your risk of cancer (21). It is also good for people who already have cancer. 

Papayas are known to fight free radicals, which can increase your risk of cancer. It also has unique effects that cannot be taken from other fruits. A study has shown that papaya can kill breast cancer cells, not shared by other fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants (22)

Another study has shown that fermented papayas can help reduce oxidative damage. It can help reduce your risk of precancerous stomach conditions, as well as inflammations (23)


  • Anti-inflammation


Many diseases are usually caused by chronic inflammation. Lifestyle choices and unhealthy foods are usually the main culprits of inflammation (24). Fortunately, fruits are rich in antioxidants, such as papayas, which can help reduce inflammatory markers. 

Furthermore, one of the most important nutrients found in Papayas is choline. It aids in your muscle movement, memory, learning, and sleep. It also helps in maintaining cellular membranes structure, assisting in fat absorption, transmitting nerve impulses, and reducing chronic inflammation. 


  • Protection from skin damage


Papayas are not only beneficial for your health, but it can also help improve your skin to look more youthful and toned. Free radicals affect not only your brain but also your skin. It can cause sagging, wrinkling, and other skin damage as you age (25)

Lycopene and vitamin C are also known to protect your skin. Since these properties are rich in papayas, the latter can help in reducing the signs of aging (26). A study has shown that people who take lycopene experienced reduce skin redness after being exposed to sunlight (27)

What is Inside Papayas?

Many people love the unique taste of papayas because they are sweet when ripe. But the taste is different between ripe and unripe papaya. The color of ripe papayas is usually orange-red or yellow, while unripe papayas are green. The skin of papaya can give in to gentle pressure just like an avocado. 

Most people love to eat papayas when cold. It is always a great idea to place them in a refrigerator before eating. You can cut papayas in half lengthwise. And just like melon or cantaloupe, you may need to scoop out the seeds. 

And because papayas are flavorful and versatile, they can be combined with other foods. You can eat papayas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also serve them as a salsa, appetizer, smoothie, dessert, or salad (28)

Papayas are very healthy. It contains various vitamins such as choline, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It contains various minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. It also contains proteins and amino acids, as well as carbohydrates. Plus, it contains 88.06 grams of water (29)


Fruits are needed for a balanced diet. Papaya is rich in nutrients that can be beneficial for your entire well-being, including your weight. Papayas can be found in most supermarkets all year round so it will not be difficult for you to find and include these in your diet. 

Papayas can be eaten, whether ripe or unripe. Green papayas are usually unripe. Orange-red or yellow papayas are already ripe. Most people prefer to eat ripe papayas because of its delicious and sweet taste. But unripe papayas can also be eaten, cooked or uncooked. 

Papayas can help you lose weight because it is rich in antioxidants that can help shed off those pounds. It is also known to improve digestion, which can affect be a remedy for constipation, bloating, heartburn, and even diarrhea. 

It also contains vitamin C and lycopene, which are known to prevent different kinds of heart diseases. And since weight loss and heart disease are linked, it is important to consider both factors. Fortunately, papayas can help you lose weight and at the same time, protect you from heart diseases. 

Papayas are not only good for weight loss, but it also has anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties. It can also help protect your skin from skin damage. Papayas are not only healthy, but they are also affordable and highly available. So if you want to include fruit in your diet that can help you lose weight without compromising your budget, buy papayas. 


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