Papaya Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
papaya benefits and side effects

Health

Papaya health benefits may include:

Papaya is…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 460 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of papaya / 55 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of papaya

Carbon footprint: low, 0.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fruits, a car driving equivalent of 2 miles or 3.25 kilometers

Destruction: moderate, papaya production is moderately sustainable, deforestation of the Amazon for papaya plantations, however 99% of Peruvian papaya production is for domestic consumption, the problem with papaya is that there are no varieties resistant to ‘papaya ringspot virus’, which reduces production by 60% and the only way to avoid the virus is to establish plantations in new locations, which creates a cycle of deforestation in some locations around the world

Papaya is…

Animals

Kills: none, papaya production does not require any animals

Harms: none, papaya production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, papaya production does not indirectly kill or harm animals, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Papaya is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often subject to exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Papaya…

Where does most papaya come from?

About 75% of the world’s papayas come from only 10 countries. The world’s top papaya producing country is India, followed by Dominican Republic and Brazil. The world’s top papaya exporting country is Mexico, followed by Brazil, Guatemala, USA, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Philippines, Thailand, Mozambique.

Is papaya nutritious?

Yes! Papaya is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, fiber and antioxidants.
Other names for papaya are papaw and pawpaw.

papaya is alkaline when fresh.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is papaya alkaline or acidic? Papaya is alkaline. What is the pH level of papaya? Papaya has an 8.5 pH level when fresh once digested. Most fresh fruits are alkaline.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

papaya is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is papaya gluten free? Yes, papaya is gluten free. Papaya does not contain gluten when fresh but may contain gluten when processed, dried or canned. Papaya is a type of fruit, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

papaya is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is papaya a common food allergen? No, papaya is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to papaya but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

papaya has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does papaya have a high or low water footprint? Papaya has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of papaya? It takes 460 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of papaya / 55 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of papaya.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

papaya has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does papaya have a high or low carbon footprint? Papaya has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of papaya? It takes around 0.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fruits, a car driving equivalent of 2 miles or 3.25 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

papaya is moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is papaya eco friendly and sustainable?

Papaya production is relatively sustainable since there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

papaya is vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is papaya vegan? Yes, papaya is vegan. Papaya is a fruit and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

papaya may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is papaya a product with laborer concerns?

At this time there are no major human rights with papaya production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Conclusion

Papaya pros include:

Papaya cons include:

Sources:

Papayas, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

CIR – USDA/APHIS Fruits and Vegetables Import

UC Davis: papayas

Revealing the hidden: Indigenous perspectives on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.