Dragon fruit, also known as Pitahaya, is a fruit native to Asia and South America. This tempting exotic fruit with a bright pinkish-red skin is not just appealing to look at but tastes heavenly too. Reading about the various Dragon fruit benefits, you will find it all the more irresistible.
Some of the major benefits of eating dragon fruit are that it helps in regulating cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels, and combats cancer, ageing, and digestion issues. What makes it no less than a superfood is the presence of Vitamin C, magnesium, and other loads of nutrients in dragon fruit.
Let us dig deeper to acquaint you with the various health benefits of dragon fruit along with some dragon fruit side effects. We will also talk about the dragon fruit’s nutritional value.
Dragon fruit’s nutritional value
Let us now acquaint you with all the dragon fruit nutrients. The following are the nutrients found in 1 cup of dragon fruit:
- Calories: 135
- Fibre: 7 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Fat: 0%
- Magnesium: 18%
- Vitamin C: 10%
- Iron: 8%
- Vitamin E: 5%
Besides, dragon fruit is rich in other essential nutrients like calcium, and antioxidants.
Dragon fruit nutrition facts
Dragon fruit is nutritious and provides our bodies with carbohydrates and fibre. Unlike processed sugar, the natural sugars found in fruits, like dragon fruit, are a better choice for our health.
The fibre in dragon fruit is important because it helps maintain healthy bacteria in our gut and aids in regular bowel movements. Although dragon fruit has a high glycemic content, it is still a healthy snack because it is packed with many nutrients.
In fact, dragon fruit contains more than enough vitamin C for our daily needs. Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient that has many health benefits and acts as an antioxidant in our bodies. Now that we understand the benefits of dragon fruit, let’s explore them in more detail in the next section.
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Here goes the list of 10 surprising benefits of eating dragon fruit:
1. Perfect Immunity Booster Fruit
The prime health benefit of eating dragon fruit is that it helps to enhance your immunity. The rich Vitamin C content in this sweet and tangy fruit helps to fight against various infections. It makes your body’s immune system stronger.
2. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
One of the red dragon fruit benefits is that it is rich in fibre content that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. If you eat this fruit daily, it will help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
3. Dragon Fruit is Good for the Heart
The bright red colour of dragon fruit is due to the presence of betalains. This compound is responsible for reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Dragon fruit seeds contain important types of healthy fats called linoleic and linolenic acids. These fats are good for our bodies and can actually reduce the amount of bad cholesterol.
When we have too much bad cholesterol, it can make our arteries hard and increase the chances of heart disease. Luckily, dragon fruit has phytonutrients like lycopene that are really good for our hearts. They can help improve our cardiovascular health, which means the health of our heart and blood vessels.
Another good thing about dragon fruit is that it has a lot of dietary fibre. Eating foods with fibre has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. So, all these helpful compounds in dragon fruit can help lower cholesterol and make us less likely to have problems like heart attacks or coronary heart disease.(2) As a result, eating dragon fruit is good for your heart health. Besides, this tempting fruit is rich in heart-friendly Omega-3 and 9 fatty acids.
4. Helps Combating Skin Aging:
Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals. It helps against harmful UV rays and effectively prevents skin ageing. Moreover, the fruit has a good amount of Vitamin C, which makes it ideal for brighter skin.
5. Superfood for Hair
The list of health benefits of dragon fruit doesn’t end here! This fruit is good for your hair. Consume a mix of dragon fruit powder along with a cup of milk daily to get naturally shiny, black, and thick hair.
6. Makes Your Bones Stronger
Eat dragon fruits every day to make your bones healthy and stronger. Being rich in magnesium, dragon fruits are tremendous in making your bones stronger and healthy.
7. Eat Dragon Fruit for Healthy Eyes
Amongst the best dragon fruit uses, there is a benefit for the eyes. Eating dragon fruit regularly helps to improve your vision. This exotic fruit is rich in beta-carotene which helps to prevent the chances of cataracts in the eyes and eye disorders like macular degeneration.
8. Aids in Digestion
Try eating dragon fruit if you have problems with your digestive system. This delicious fruit is loaded with oligosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that leads to the growth of gut-friendly bacteria.
The fibre in dragon fruit supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in our bodies, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. These bacteria produce important substances that our bodies cannot make on their own. Eating fibre also helps improve digestion and can help with problems like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other gastrointestinal issues.
As a result, you can experience marvellous digestion benefits by eating dragon fruit every day.
9. Prevents the Risk of Cancer
Eating dragon fruit regularly also minimizes the chances of cancerous growth in the body. It helps in preventing colon cancer. It is because it has the nutrients that help detoxify the colon. Dragon fruit has special compounds called carotenoids, like beta-carotene and lycopene, as well as vitamin C, that can help protect against cancer. These compounds are like superheroes that fight and prevent the formation of cancer.
Dragon fruit also has antioxidants called betalains that can reduce something called oxidative stress and fight against cancer cells.
Some studies have shown that the betacyanins in dragon fruit can actually stop breast cancer from growing and spreading. These antioxidants are also really good at fixing any damage that might happen to our cells.
So, eating dragon fruit can be a delicious way to help protect ourselves from cancer and keep our bodies healthy.
10. Highly Nutritional for Pregnant Women
At last, even pregnant women can enjoy numerous dragon fruit benefits. Loaded with Vitamin B, iron, and folate, dragon fruit is a superfood for pregnant women. It eliminates the chances of birth defects in the fetus. During pregnancy, eating dragon fruit can be super beneficial because it has a lot of iron. This is important because iron helps prevent a condition called anaemia, which is when our bodies don’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
Dragon fruit also has other important minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These minerals are great because they help with functions like making sure our blood flows well throughout our body, forming strong bones, and keeping our brains healthy.
So, if you’re pregnant, adding dragon fruit to your diet can be a smart choice to make sure your baby and you get these essential nutrients.
Some Other Uses of Dragon Fruit
Helps in weight loss
A research study conducted on mice discovered that red dragon fruit contains a compound called betacyanins, which can potentially assist in managing diabetes and preventing obesity. This compound works by controlling the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut. Additionally, the high fibre and water content of dragon fruits can make you feel full for longer periods, which may be beneficial for weight loss. However, more in-depth studies on humans are needed to confirm the red dragon fruit benefits for weight loss.(2,5)
Increases iron levels
Dragon fruits are packed with iron and vitamin C, which are really good for our bodies. Iron is important because it helps our bodies make red blood cells, and those cells are the ones that carry oxygen to all the different parts of our bodies.
Vitamin C is great because it helps our bodies absorb iron, and it also helps keep our defence system strong. Both iron and vitamin C have important jobs in our bodies to make sure everything works the way it should.
If we don’t get enough iron, we can end up with a condition called anaemia, and if we don’t get enough vitamin C, we can get a condition called scurvy. So, eating dragon fruit is a great way to make sure we’re getting enough of these important nutrients that our bodies need.
Reduces Arthritis pain
In the past, dragon fruit was recommended as a natural solution for people dealing with inflammatory conditions like arthritis and joint pains. The reason is that dragon fruit has powerful properties that can help reduce inflammation and fight against harmful substances in our bodies.
So, if you have arthritis and experience painful inflammation, eating dragon fruit might be able to help relieve some of that pain and make you feel better. It’s a natural way to ease the discomfort caused by inflammation and improve your overall well-being.(2,8)
Protection against Dengue
Some people have claimed that eating dragon fruit can help those who are infected with the dengue virus, but it’s important to note that these claims are based on personal stories and not on scientific evidence.
However, some studies conducted in labs show that certain compounds in dragon fruit may have antiviral properties against the dengue virus. For example, one study found that a compound called betacyanin in red dragon fruit can fight against the dengue virus in a test tube.
Other computer-based studies have also suggested a connection between the compounds in dragon fruit and viral proteins. While this is an interesting finding, it’s essential to understand that these studies were not done on humans and more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness and ensure their safety. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before considering dragon fruit or any other treatment as a remedy for dengue.
Promotes good brain functioning
Including dragon fruit in your diet on a regular basis might help reduce the chances of experiencing neural degeneration, which is when our brain cells start to decline. A study done on animals showed that the extract from red dragon fruit could actually improve memory and our ability to learn.
One reason dragon fruit is so good for our brains is that it has a mineral called magnesium. Magnesium is known to have positive effects on our mental health, like treating depression, and it can also give our brain a boost to function well. So, by eating dragon fruit, we can potentially protect our brains and enhance our cognitive abilities.
Promotes reproductive health
In traditional medicine, dragon fruit has been reported to enhance reproductive health and provide benefits to our sexual organs.
A study conducted on mice discovered that dragon fruit peel extract could actually slow down the progression of a condition called endometriosis, which affects the reproductive organs in females.
However, it’s important to note that there is limited research supporting these claims in humans. While dragon fruit may have potential benefits for reproductive health, more studies need to be done to fully understand its effects on humans.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before relying on dragon fruit or any other natural remedy for reproductive health concerns.(2,13)
May treat acne
In traditional skincare practices, dragon fruit extracts have been used to treat acne, a common skin condition, due to the antimicrobial properties found in the peel of red dragon fruit.
Additionally, the compounds present in dragon fruit are said to regulate the production of sebum, the natural oil produced by our skin, which can help in managing acne. However, it’s important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.
While dragon fruit may have potential benefits for acne-prone skin, it’s always best to consult with a skincare professional or dermatologist for personalised advice and to explore scientifically proven treatments.
May reduce sunburn
Dragon fruit, which is rich in vitamin C and other important vitamins and minerals, can be beneficial in reducing sunburn.
When our skin gets sunburned, it becomes dry and damaged. Vitamin C helps restore moisture to the affected area and aids in healing the sunburned skin, making it feel better.
Additionally, dragon fruit has antimicrobial properties, which means it can help prevent infections on the sunburned skin.
So, using dragon fruit or its extracts on sunburned skin may provide relief, promote healing, and protect against potential infections.
However, it’s always advisable to take proper sun protection measures and seek medical advice if severe sunburn occurs.
May promote healthy skin
Dragon fruit is a great natural source of vitamin C, which has some good benefits for our skin. Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to help lighten our skin tone, reduce areas of hyperpigmentation (like dark spots or uneven skin colour), and enhance our overall complexion.
This is because vitamin C plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, which is a substance that helps keep our skin firm and plump.
Collagen is like a building block for our skin’s structure, and when we have enough of it, our skin looks healthier and more youthful. So by incorporating dragon fruit into our diet or using products containing vitamin C, we can enjoy the benefits of this essential nutrient for our skin’s appearance and vitality.
May promote skin hydration
Dragon fruit has a high-water content, which makes it an excellent choice for keeping our bodies hydrated. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy skin.
Moreover, dragon fruit contains vitamin B, which has moisturising properties. This means that consuming dragon fruit or using products containing dragon fruit can help keep our skin nourished and moisturised, promoting its health and suppleness.
So, by enjoying dragon fruit, we can quench our thirst and provide our skin with the hydration it needs to stay soft and healthy.
How to eat dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit can be enjoyed in various ways, either by eating it fresh or by adding it to different recipes. It can be blended with juice and used to add flavour to jams, salads, smoothies, and yoghurts.
When choosing a good dragon fruit, look for one that feels firm and not too soft. It should also have an even colour throughout. To prepare it, simply use a knife to cut it in half. You can then use a spoon to scoop out the delicious flesh or remove the peel and slice the fruit into smaller pieces.
In addition to its fresh form, dragon fruit is also available in freeze-dried form as a powder. This powdered form can be conveniently used as a substitute for the fruit in various recipes.
So, whether you enjoy it fresh or as a powder, there are plenty of ways to incorporate dragon fruit into your diet and savour its unique flavour.
Dragon Fruit Side Effects
After having a thorough knowledge of the advantages of dragon fruit, it is time to understand some of its side effects:
- Overeating dragon fruit may lead to some stomach issues
- It may lead to diarrhoea if eaten in excess
- Some people may also experience some allergic reactions
The Bottom Line
Feel free to gorge upon this tempting dragon fruit raw, or in the form of a smoothie, dessert, fruit shake, or ice cream. In all its forms, this fruit won’t fail to deliver all the above-mentioned health benefits. However, make sure to buy the right kind of dragon fruit that doesn’t have a dry stem. Dragon fruit with dry stems means it is over-ripened and won’t taste good.
How is dragon fruit eaten?
Eating dragon fruit is very simple. You need to first peel it and then cut it into slices. That’s all and your dragon fruit is ready to eat. Another way is to cut it into halves and scoop the flesh out with a spoon and eat it.
What does dragon fruit taste like?
Dragon fruit has a mild sweet flavor. It tastes like a mix of kiwi and pear. It tastes best when eaten ripe.
Do you refrigerate dragon fruit?
You can keep the dragon fruit at room temperature for a couple of days. However, if you wish to prolong its storage, you may store it in a refrigerator too.
Can we drink water after eating dragon fruit?
As a general rule, water should be avoided after eating any fruit. If you drink water after eating dragon fruit, it may cause some digestion issues and upset your stomach.
Does dragon fruit make you poop?
Dragon fruit is loaded with fibre and therefore it plays a crucial role in digestion. Eating dragon fruit helps to pass out stool easily and therefore, helps deal with constipation. It detoxifies your colon but it doesn’t lead to diarrhea.