Can you eat papaya raw?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat papaya raw ?” and tell you what are the health benefits and side effects of eating raw papaya. We will also discuss  how to safely eat raw papaya and how to store it. 

Can you eat papaya raw?

Yes, you can eat raw papaya. It’s recommended to choose the ripe papayas to eat since they are more soft, juicy, and sweet, making it suitable for direct consumption.Although papaya has many health benefits, some people with certain conditions should not eat it, such as pregnant women (1,2).

What are the health benefits of eating raw papaya? 

Papaya is rich in many different types of substances that have various health benefits. For example, Papain, a papaya enzyme, was used to reduce pain, inflammation and to improve digestion (1).

Papayas are also high in carotenoids, which are beneficial antioxidants, particularly lycopene, which the body can absorb more easily from papaya than from the rest of the fruits and vegetables (1,3).

Rich in Vitamins

Papaya contains many vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, C, and E, which help enhance the immune system and therefore prevent colds and coughing and also help improve iron absorption (1,3).

Anti-skin Aging

Papaya is a potential candidate to be exploited for its anti-skin aging specialty, owing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Flavonoids such as kaempferol, quercetin, and caffeic acid were isolated from papaya fruits and they have antioxidant activity (3).

Wound Healing

Fruit extract enhances wound healing by exerting an effect on regulation of antioxidant enzymes, inflammation, and arginine metabolism (3).

Antitumor activity

Papaya, which is high in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, has been shown to have chemopreventive qualities. 

The methods of action behind chemoprevention actions include activating tumor-suppressor genes, reducing oxidative damage by acting as free radical scavengers and others (3,4). 

Low calories

Papaya contains relatively low calories, where a small papaya contains 68 calories and a medium-sized one has 120 calories (5).

What are the side effects of eating raw papaya? 

Pregnant woman

Although papaya is a healthy fruit, and healthy eating is important for the baby’s growth and the pregnant woman’s health, papaya poses a risk to pregnant women. Eating papaya leads to an early birth because of the presence of latex and causes cramps in the uterus (2).

Skin Discoloration

A benign skin coloring known as carotenemia can result from consuming too many foods that are yellow, green, or orange in hue that contain beta carotene such as papayas.

The body parts affected by carotenemia are the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. If you want to reduce skin discolouration you just have to reduce papaya consumption (6). 

A respiratory issue

Papain may be another potential allergen because people who consume large amounts of papaya and consequently high amounts of papain may experience symptoms resembling hay fever or asthma, such as breathing issues, and nasal congestion (6).

Digestive System Issues

Papayas have a lot of fiber, which can potentially aggravate the digestive tract. The skin of the fruit’s latex might also irritate the stomach as well (6). 

How to safely eat raw papaya?

To safely eat papaya, first, make sure the papaya is ripe because unripe papaya can have more latex and enzymes that can make you sick or make you allergic (7). 

Wash the papaya thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or pollutants before cutting it. If you are ingesting it for the first time, it is best to start with tiny portions and gauge your tolerance. 

Does cooking papaya reduce its nutrients?

Yes. Cooking papaya can reduce its nutrients due to the effects of heat and water. For instance, nutrients  such as vitamin C and certain B vitamins, are sensitive to high temperatures and can be degraded during the cooking process while water-soluble nutrients can leach out into the cooking liquid (8). 

However, the amount of nutritional loss varies on the cooking method, duration, and heat level used. For instance, compared to steaming or stir-frying, which need shorter cooking durations, boiling papaya for a long time may result in a greater loss of nutrients (8).

Overall, while cooking papaya may result in a loss of some nutrients, it may also result in favorable changes and absorption of others like lycopene, which impacts the overall nutritional value of the cooked fruit (9).


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Can you eat papaya raw?” and we told you what are the health benefits and side effects of eating raw papaya. We will also discuss  how to safely eat raw papaya and how to store it. References:

1. Dotto, J.M., Abihudi, S.A. Nutraceutical value of Carica papaya: A review. Scientific African, 2021, 13. 

2. Adebiyi A, Adaikan PG, Prasad RN. 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. Br J Nutr. 2002, 88(2):199-203.

3. Kong YR, Jong YX, Balakrishnan M, et al. Beneficial Role of Carica papaya Extracts and Phytochemicals on Oxidative Stress and Related Diseases: A Mini Review. Biology (Basel). 2021;10(4):287.

4. Singh, S.P,Acharya, S.V. Anticancer Effects and Associated Molecular Changes of Carica Papaya Against Prostate Cancer, In American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.  American Association for Cancer Research, 2019, 79.

5. Santana LF, Inada AC, Espirito Santo BLSD, et al. Nutraceutical Potential of Carica papaya in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1608.

6. Vyas, M.B., Shah, S.K. Review on nutritional and medicinal values of “Carica papaya”. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2016; 5(4): 284-286.

7. Rojas-Mandujano V., et al. Síndrome látex-papaya: una asociación poco frecuente [Latex-papaya syndrome: an infrequent association]. Rev Alerg Mex. 2018, 65(1):3-9.

8. Mieszczakowska-Frąc M, Celejewska K, Płocharski W. Impact of Innovative Technologies on the Content of Vitamin C and Its Bioavailability from Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(1):54.

9. Toydemir, G., et al. Effect of food processing on antioxidants, their bioavailability and potential relevance to human health. Food Chemistry: X, 2022, 14.

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