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Papaya vs Watermelon - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Papaya
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Watermelon

Introduction

Watermelon and papayas are delicious fruits that are also good for you.

To find out the similarities and differences of these products, we will discuss a comparative analysis of their nutrition features and health impact. It is very hard to confuse them externally; watermelon is a large fruit, up to 25 cm in diameter, dark green, and smooth rind. Papaya is deep yellow or orange to salmon-colored, about 15–45 cm

Varieties

Watermelon is a flowering plant that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It originated in Africa. Watermelon has five different types: seeded, seedless, mini, yellow, and orange. 

Papayas belong to the Carica genus. They originated in the tropics of America and Mexico. Among the 14 different types, two kinds are commonly grown; Yellow Papaya and Red Papaya.

Uses

Watermelon is a sweet and fresh flowering plant, which is usually eaten raw, or used in different salads and juices. Watermelon can be used in making watermelon wine. The ripe papaya is often eaten raw, without skin or seeds. Green papaya is used in cooking. In Southeast Asia, It is used in dishes such as tinola, lumpia, and empanada. The young leaves of the papaya can be eaten like spinach

Nutrition

In this section of the article, we are going to compare the nutritional content between watermelon and papaya. At the bottom of this page, you can find a nutrition infographic, which will help you to better understand the differences in the nutrition of watermelon and papaya. Both are mostly made up of water, however, watermelon contains more water than papaya.

Micronutrients

Papayas are richer in protein, carbs, and fiber. On the other hand, watermelons contain more protein and fewer sugars. Both contain no cholesterol. 

Vitamins

Papaya is relatively high in vitamins. It contains 7 times more Vitamin K, 6 times more Vitamin C, and 5 times more Vitamin E than watermelon. The levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B2 are also higher in papaya. On the other hand, watermelon has more Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin B6 than kiwifruit. Both contain no Vitamin D and Vitamin B12.

Minerals

Overall, papaya is richer in minerals than watermelon. It has 2 times more calcium, more potassium, and magnesium than watermelon. Watermelon, on the other hand, contains more zinc and less sodium. Both have an equal amount of iron, copper, and phosphorus. 

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a value that measures how much a specific food increases your blood sugar levels. The glycemic index of papaya is lower than that of watermelon. It has a GI equal to 59, whereas a GI of watermelon is equal to 76 [1].

Acidity

On average, watermelon has a pH equal to 2. Papaya has a higher pH, it ranges from 5.5 – to 5.9.

Calories

Papaya contains more calories than watermelon. It has 43 calories per 100 g, while watermelon has 30 calories per 100 g. The food energy of papaya is equal to 43 Kcal, and watermelon has 30 Kcal.

Health Impact

Weight loss

Watermelon is used in different diets due to its low calories, water content, and high vitamin amount. The watermelon diet lasts 3 days, during which people consume nothing but watermelon. This is a sort of cleansing

Papaya is also used in different diets. It contains papain which may help to digest proteins and clean the intestinal walls. Besides, papaya seeds can prevent your body from absorbing fat, and by that help you to lose weight [2] [3].

Diabetes

There is no such study directly associated with watermelon consumption and diabetes management. Watermelon contains a high amount of lycopene, which is a strong antioxidant and may help to fight against chronic diseases. However, more research is needed [4]. 

Papaya, on the other hand, is rich in fiber that can help to lower blood glucose levels in case of type 1 diabetes and may keep in balance blood sugars and insulin levels in case of type 2 diabetes [5]. 

Cardiovascular health

Several compounds of watermelon may have beneficial effects on the heart. In particular, lycopene can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Based on the study, lycopene can reduce the stiffness and thickness of artery walls in Finnish men. Besides, citrulline and amino acids in watermelon may also lower blood pressure [6]. 

Papayas are rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which have protective effects on HDL cholesterol. These compounds may also improve the ratio and reduce the risk of heart diseases [7].

Cancer

According to studies, watermelon contains lycopene, which is a strong antioxidant that has anti-cancer effects. Studies show that lycopene may lower the insulin-like growth factor, which is linked to cancer.
Researches show that papaya also contains lycopene and several phytochemicals which may help to treat health problems. It is highly effective against hormones-related cancer and may stop the growth of cancer cells and normalize the cell cycle [7] [8]. 

Skin and Hair Health

Vitamin A and Vitamin C are important vitamins for your skin and hair health. Vitamin C may help to produce collagen, a protein that keeps your skin supple and your hair strong. Vitamin A is it helps to create and repair skin cells. If your body lacks Vitamin A, your skin will look dry and flaky. Both papaya and watermelon are picked with these vitamins in high amounts. Besides, watermelon contains lycopene and beta-carotene that help protect your skin from sunburn [9] [10].  

Inflammation

Papaya contains two enzymes; papain and chymopapain, which digest protein. This means that they can help with digestion and reduce inflammation. In particular, they may help with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and arthritis. On the other hand, watermelon is rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants and Vitamin C. According to the 2015 rut study, the control ruts group that were fed watermelon had a lower level of oxidative stress and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein [11] [12].

Kidney Health

Potassium is an important mineral that may support kidney health. It removes the toxins deposited in the kidneys and reduces the accumulation of uric acid in the blood. Besides, papaya seeds play an important part in keeping the kidney healthy. They contain flavonoids that help to keep the cells from degenerating and prevent the kidney from dysfunctioning [13].

Side Effects

Allergy

An allergy to watermelon is rare, however, the symptoms are similar to food allergy. Symptoms usually include hives, itchy or tingly lips, tongue, or throat, coughing, stomach pain, or cramping. Papayas are possibly unsafe if they are taken in large amounts. People who have an allergy to latex may also be allergic to papayas. Papaya latex applied to the skin can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions [14] [15].  

Other side effects

Papayas can be unsafe during pregnancy. Papain in these fruits can cause birth defects. In rare cases, people can have an allergy to papaya, if they are allergic to papain [14].

Summary

In general, papaya is richer in minerals and vitamins than watermelon. It contains 6 times more Vitamin C, 5 times more Vitamin E, and 2 times more calcium than watermelon. Nevertheless, watermelon contains more zinc, more Vitamins B2, less sodium, less saturated fat, and sugars than papayas.

References

  1. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2008/09/18/dc08-1239.DC1/TableA1_1.pdf
  2. https://www.florajournal.com/archives/2014/vol2issue5/PartA/2-4-12.1.pdf
  3. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/4/1043/4688088?login=true
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10068-011-0034-5
  5. https://www.mdpi.com/2311-5637/4/4/83
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660262/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/
  8. http://www.allthingscanid.org/papin.pdf
  9. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/8/866
  10. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-12473-1_39
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25631716/
  12. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/ajrccm.164.10.2104061
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30936264/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29723936/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19295232/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Profession: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: May 13, 2021

Infographic

Papaya vs Watermelon infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Calcium +185.7%
Contains more Potassium +62.5%
Contains more Magnesium +110%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains less Sodium -87.5%
Equal in Iron - 0.24
Equal in Copper - 0.042
Equal in Phosphorus - 11
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 10% 6% 17% 15% 15% 3% 5% 2%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 9% 3% 10% 8% 14% 3% 5% 1%
Contains more Calcium +185.7%
Contains more Potassium +62.5%
Contains more Magnesium +110%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains less Sodium -87.5%
Equal in Iron - 0.24
Equal in Copper - 0.042
Equal in Phosphorus - 11

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Papaya
7
:
Contains more Vitamin C +651.9%
Contains more Vitamin A +67%
Contains more Vitamin E +500%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +28.6%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +100.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +2500%
Contains more Folate +1133.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +43.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +18.4%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 203% 57% 6% 0% 6% 7% 7% 12% 9% 0% 7% 28%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 27% 35% 1% 0% 9% 5% 4% 14% 11% 0% 1% 3%
Contains more Vitamin C +651.9%
Contains more Vitamin A +67%
Contains more Vitamin E +500%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +28.6%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +100.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +2500%
Contains more Folate +1133.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +43.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.7%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +18.4%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
28
Papaya
9
Watermelon
Mineral Summary Score
9
Papaya
6
Watermelon

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
3%
Papaya
4%
Watermelon
Carbohydrates
11%
Papaya
8%
Watermelon
Fats
1%
Papaya
1%
Watermelon

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Papaya Watermelon
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Papaya Watermelon
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Watermelon
Watermelon is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.62g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Watermelon
Watermelon contains less Sodium (difference - 7mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Watermelon
Watermelon is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.065g)
Which food is cheaper?
Watermelon
Watermelon is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Papaya
Papaya is lower in glycemic index (difference - 17)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Papaya
Papaya is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Papaya
Papaya is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Papaya Watermelon Opinion
Calories 43 30 Papaya
Protein 0.47 0.61 Watermelon
Fats 0.26 0.15 Papaya
Vitamin C 60.9 8.1 Papaya
Carbs 10.82 7.55 Papaya
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.25 0.24 Papaya
Calcium 20 7 Papaya
Potassium 182 112 Papaya
Magnesium 21 10 Papaya
Sugar 7.82 6.2 Watermelon
Fiber 1.7 0.4 Papaya
Copper 0.045 0.042 Papaya
Zinc 0.08 0.1 Watermelon
Starch 0 0
Phosphorus 10 11 Watermelon
Sodium 8 1 Watermelon
Vitamin A 950 569 Papaya
Vitamin E 0.3 0.05 Papaya
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.023 0.033 Watermelon
Vitamin B2 0.027 0.021 Papaya
Vitamin B3 0.357 0.178 Papaya
Vitamin B5 0.191 0.221 Watermelon
Vitamin B6 0.038 0.045 Watermelon
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 2.6 0.1 Papaya
Folate 37 3 Papaya
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.081 0.016 Watermelon
Monounsaturated Fat 0.072 0.037 Papaya
Polyunsaturated fat 0.058 0.05 Papaya
Tryptophan 0.008 0.007 Papaya
Threonine 0.011 0.027 Watermelon
Isoleucine 0.008 0.019 Watermelon
Leucine 0.016 0.018 Watermelon
Lysine 0.025 0.062 Watermelon
Methionine 0.002 0.006 Watermelon
Phenylalanine 0.009 0.015 Watermelon
Valine 0.01 0.016 Watermelon
Histidine 0.005 0.006 Watermelon
Fructose 3.73 3.36 Papaya

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Papaya - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169926/nutrients
  2. Watermelon - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167765/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.