What is a Pawpaw Fruit?
Pawpaw fruit is an oval-shaped fruit, harvested in the fall throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.(1) It has a dull and spotted outer skin with a soft and yellow interior, which has flesh-like large brown seeds which are like sweet custard. Pawpaw fruit has a sweet taste, vibrant color, and has a variety of health benefits making it a popular fruit.
Pawpaw can be used in the desserts like custard, ice creams, and baked goods. Raw pawpaw fruit is known for its strong fruity taste and floral aroma and is soft to touch like avocado or peach.(2)
Nutrition of Pawpaw Fruit
100 grams of pawpaw fruit contain:(3)
- 80 calories
- 1.2 grams protein
- 1.2 grams fat
- 18.8 grams carbohydrates
- 2.6 grams fiber
- 20% of the daily value of vitamin C
- 7% of the daily value of riboflavin
- 7% of the daily value of potassium
- 27% of the daily value of magnesium
- 113% of the daily value of manganese
- 39% of the daily value of iron
This quantity of pawpaw fruit contains 3 times as much vitamin C as apple and 2 times as much as a banana.
Pawpaw is an excellent source of manganese and non-heme iron and is also exceptionally high in manganese. Manganese is needed for nutrient metabolism, reproduction, skeletal health, and immune function.(4)
Pawpaw fruits are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
Health Benefits of Pawpaw Fruit
Pawpaw fruit is known to be beneficial in numerous health conditions.
Pawpaw Fruit Has a Nutrient-Rich Profile
Pawpaw fruit is extremely rich in nutrients like vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Vitamin C is necessary for the body to keep up the immune system functioning that helps fight against illness, and skin health.(5) Pawpaw fruit is also rich in magnesium that is lacking in the diet of most people. Low magnesium levels lead to the risk of certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and calcification of arteries.(6) It is also a good source of nonheme iron. A mix of heme and nonheme iron is important for the body.
Contains Protective Plant Compounds
Along with the vitamins and minerals, pawpaw contains a variety of plant compounds including phenolic compounds like epigallocatechin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, and p-coumaric acid. All these have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(7, 8) As the fruit ripens its antioxidant content may decrease.(9)
Helpful in Cancer Treatment
Products containing extract from the pawpaw plant are used in cancer treatment. A study showed the effect of pawpaw fruit on tumor cells.(10) Another study done on 94 people with cancer, concluded, consuming pawpaw extract daily for 18 months helped in reducing the tumor size.(11) A study done in 2021 suggested the role of pawpaw fruit extract as a therapeutic agent in the prevention and treatment of gastric and cervical cancers.(12)
Help In the Treatment of Head Lice
A combination of pawpaw fruit and tea tree oil is used in the treatment of head lice. A study was done in which it was found that the shampoo containing pawpaw extract was effective in treating headlice.(13)
Fruit Intake Generally Benefits Health
Consuming any fruit benefits health in a number of ways.
Eating more fruits and vegetable help in reducing the risk of various health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, improves healthy body weight and mental health. Pawpaw is hard to find and is highly perishable. If you have access to it, try to include it in the diet.
Adverse Effects of Pawpaw Fruit
Some people have reported adverse effects such as nerve toxicity, vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions after consuming this fruit.(14) It is therefore recommended not to be consumed by pregnant females.(15)
Pawpaw is a unique, nutritious fruit with a sweet taste.
It is a rich source of magnesium, vitamin C, manganese, and a variety of plant compounds that offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If accessible, do add it to the diet and enjoy its benefits.