Can you eat green papaya?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat green papaya?” with an in-depth analysis of green papaya, the nutritional composition of green papaya, and the health benefits and risks of eating green papaya.

Can you eat green papaya?

Yes, you can eat green papaya which is the raw form of papaya. Green papaya is rich in essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes like papain and chymopapain, as well as phytonutrients (1). Green papaya can be consumed in grated form in salads, cut into cubes, and steamed for 5 to 7 minutes, or cooked on the stovetop with some water or even pressure cooked.

What does green papaya taste like?

Green papaya has a neutral taste with a crunchy texture. A green papaya is an unripe form of papaya that belongs to the Caricaceae family. It is a tropical fruit that is round and plump and comes in various sizes (1).

What is the nutritional profile of green papaya?

The following table shows the nutritional profile of 100 grams of raw green papaya (2);

Nutrient Amount per 100g (about 3.53 oz) 
Calories 43 kcal 
Protein 0.5 g 
Fat 0.1 g 
Carbohydrates 11 g 
Fiber 2.5 g 
Sugar 5.9 g 
Vitamin C 61.8 mg 
Vitamin A 950 IU 
Folate 37 mcg 
Potassium 182 mg 
Calcium 20 mg 
Iron 0.3 mg 

What are the health benefits of green papaya?

Green papaya is a nutritious fruit that offers various health benefits. Both ripe and unripe papaya is consumed either raw in a salad or cooked as a green vegetable. Here are some of the main health benefits of green papaya (3-7):

Heal skin conditions and injuries

Polyphenol compounds present in green papaya have powerful antioxidant properties that protect against free radical damage, thus are helpful against acne, pimples, and other skin conditions (3). 

They have a dead cell-dissolving ability that provides flawless and glowing skin. Green papayas are also protective against skin diseases and wounds as they contain vitamins C, E, and A, all of which are beneficial for the skin. 

Relieves menstrual pain

The nutritional composition of papaya is more beneficial for females, as the leaves of papaya provide relief from menstrual pain. 

That is because of the presence of flavonoids in green papaya which possess anti-inflammatory qualities that can hinder the cyclooxygenase enzyme (4). Hindrance of this enzyme decreases the level of pain-controlling prostaglandin hormones. Thus, providing relief from menstrual pain. 

 Improves Digestive Health

Green papaya possesses papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that is beneficial for people with digestive or pancreatic problems. It also possesses anti-amoebic and anti-parasitic qualities which control bowel movements (7). 

It is a natural medicine to treat diseases like indigestion, constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, and even dysentery.

Protects from heart diseases

Green papaya contains folic acid that converts homocysteine into essential amino acids. High homocysteine levels are considered a risk for degrading the lining of blood vessels which can lead to heart disease and stroke (5). 

Green papaya regulates homocysteine levels in the blood by splitting them into amino acids, therefore, decreasing the risk of harm to the blood vessels.

In addition to folic acid, green papaya also contains fibrin, a beneficial compound that improves blood flow and decreases the risk of blood clot formation, hence decreasing the chance of blood vessel blockage and stroke. 

Help treat infections

  Green papaya exhibits antibacterial activity, thus it helps to fight against infections caused by Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella flexneri, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (4).

Green papaya is a natural remedy for treating UTIs that are mostly caused by E. coli. It also fights against bacteria by scavenging the free radicals and superoxides that help in cellular metabolism for bacterial growth (5).

In addition to antibacterial properties, green papaya also show anti-helminthic and anti-amoebic properties, thus helping to fight against the parasitic worms helminths, and amoebas. It also improves immune activity and prevents illnesses like recurrent ear infections, colds, and flu.

Helps with lactation in new mothers 

Green papaya contains nutrients that affect the hormone, estrogen, thus it can be helpful for lactating females (6). What are the  risks of eating green papaya?

Despite the fact that green papaya is typically safe to eat, there are some potential risks to  pregnant women,  and can provoke unfavorable skin reactions in some individuals (6,8).

Green papaya contains compounds that act as a uterine stimulant and can cause miscarriage, so it is prohibited for pregnant women from consuming green papaya (8). 

When topically applied as a treatment for skin issues, such as eczema and acne, the extracts of green papaya can lead to severe itching, swelling, and redness.

How to keep papaya green?

The green papaya can turn yellow and become ripe quickly if it is not properly stored. Here are some ways for keeping papaya green (2, 9): 

Keep in the refrigerator

Store green papaya in the refrigerator to slow its ripening. At low temperatures, there is a decrease in ethylene synthesis. Wrap the fruit in a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture, place it in a plastic bag and  keep it inside the fridge.

Keep away from sunlight

Exposure to sunlight can make green papaya ripen faster, so store it in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat green papaya?” with an in-depth analysis of green papaya, the nutritional composition of green papaya, and the health benefits and risks of eating green papaya.



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  1. Vora JD, Pednekar S, Bendre S, Mathure S, Author C. Biochemical And Nutritional Assessment Of Unripe Papaya (Carica Papaya). IOSR Journal of Biotechnology and Biochemistry (IOSR-JBB. 2018;4(4).  
  1. Aravind G, Bhowmik D, Duraivel S, Harish G. Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Carica papaya. Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies. 2013;1(1).  
  1. Pandey S, Cabot PJ, Shaw PN, Hewavitharana AK. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of Carica papaya. Vol. 13, Journal of Immunotoxicology. 2016.  
  1. Patil P, Alagarasu K, Chowdhury D, Kakade M, Cherian S, Kaushik S. In-vitro antiviral activity of Carica papaya formulations against dengue virus type 2 and chikungunya viruses. Heliyon. 2022;8(12).  
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  1. Loveday SM. Protein digestion and absorption: the influence of food processing. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2022.
  1. Adebiyi A, Adaikan PG, Prasad RN V. Papaya ( Carica papaya ) consumption is unsafe in pregnancy: fact or fable? Scientific evaluation of a common belief in some parts of Asia using a rat model. British Journal of Nutrition. 2002;88(2). 
  1. Fabi JP, do Prado SBR. Fast and furious: Ethylene-triggered changes in the metabolism of papaya fruit during ripening. Vol. 10, Frontiers in Plant Science. 2019. 

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