A papaya serving has 0.36 mg of iron, or only 2% of the recommended daily intake. But, we should eat papaya regularly, as it has many health benefits!
Health benefits of iron
Iron is necessary for good health. It’s a key component of hemoglobin, which is a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Additionally, iron supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Also, it’s crucial for energy metabolism, cellular functioning, physical growth, neurological development, and the synthesis of some hormones, amino acids, and collagen.[1,2]
Unfortunately, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide! It may lead to serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Moreover, iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
How much iron do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men. Women require much higher doses due to menstruation period.
Women older than 51 years require 8 mg of iron, while pregnant women require 27 mg of iron a day.
Many women of reproductive age have a hard time to meet the recommended daily intakes of iron. Hence, women may benefit from taking iron supplements.
You’ll find a wide variety of iron supplements on iHerb.
Is papaya rich in iron?
Papaya isn’t a great dietary source of iron. It contains only 0.25 mg of iron per 100 g.
A typical 1-cup (145 g) serving contains 0.36 mg of iron, or only 2% of the recommended daily intake.
Dried papaya contains 0.69 mg of iron per 100 g or 0.3 mg per serving.
Papaya juice contains 0.34 mg of iron per 100 mL, or about 0.8 mg per glass.
But, you should avoid regular consumption of dried papaya, papaya juice, or canned papaya. These products are particularly high in sugars!
Why should we eat papayas?
Although, papaya isn’t particularly rich in iron, we should consume it regularly. Papaya is beneficial for health.
Above all, it may protect from many oxidative stress-related diseases, as it’s particularly high in antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants fight chronic inflammation, which has been associated with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease![5,6]
Moreover, papaya pulp and seeds may help reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Also, papaya pulp is among the richest foods in vitamin C. Furthermore, it contains decent amounts of vitamin A, B, and E, as well as minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as fiber.
In addition, papaya seeds are edible. They’re particularly high in phenolic compounds and carotenoids.
Other common foods high in iron
Common foods high in iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole cereals, legumes, beans, as well as certain fruits and vegetables.
Above all, we should eat legumes and beans to boost daily iron intake. For instance, white beans with 44% DV (Daily Value per serving), lentils (17% DV), tofu (17% DV), kidney beans (11%), and chickpeas (11% DV) are among the richest foods in iron!
Last, but not least, you could boost your daily iron intake by drinking certain fruit juices!