Experts Suggest Four Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit

The nutrient-dense dragon fruit is regarded as a “superfood” because of its possible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Eating this unusual pink or crimson fruit may lower your chances of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to some research.

Learn more about the health advantages of dragon fruit, possible allergies, and how to include this nutrient-dense fruit in your diet by reading on.

Dragon Fruit: What Is It?

Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit belonging to the cactus (Cactaceae) family. It is also referred to as pitaya, pitahaya, strawberry pear, and night-blooming cereus. Mexico, Central America, South America, the Philippines, Israel, Vietnam, and other Asian nations are among the nations and areas that grow dragon fruit. Commercial dragon fruit cultivation has place in Florida, California (mostly Southern California), and Hawaii in the United States.

Dragon fruit contains green succulent scales and skin that is vivid scarlet, pink, or yellow. The fruit’s pulp, or flesh inside the skin, can be either pink or white depending on the species and include tiny, edible black seeds. Dragon fruit is frequently used as an ingredient in fruit salads and smoothies because of its sweet flavor and crisp texture, which are reminiscent of pears or kiwis.

Dragon Fruit’s Health Benefits

According to Kim Shapira, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles and the author of What You’re Really Hungry For: Six Easy Rules to Change Your Relationship with Food to Become Your Healthiest Self, “Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that may reduce your risk of diseases and low immune function and help to improve your health.”

The possible health advantages of eating dragon fruit are listed below.

Increases Immunity and Reduces Disease Risk

Bioactive substances, which are both nutrients and non-nutrients found in dragon fruit, may offer health advantages above and beyond their basic nutritional worth. Specifically, potassium and the antioxidant vitamins C and A are found in dragon fruit. These substances may aid in the prevention of illnesses associated with oxidative and inflammatory processes, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart-related conditions
  • Cancer
  • dyslipidemia, or elevated cholesterol
  • The metabolic syndrome is a group of illnesses that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Promotes Digestion

According to Melanie Marcus, the wellness and communications manager at Dole Food Company and a registered dietitian based in Charlotte, North Carolina, dragon fruit is a “prebiotic powerhouse” that improves intestinal health.

“The oligosaccharides (carbohydrate chains containing three to 10 sugar units) in dragon fruit aren’t digested in the stomach but instead act as fuel for healthy gut bacteria,” explains Marcus. “By promoting the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, two important strains of gut bacteria, dragon fruit may help support a healthy digestive system and boosts our immune defenses.”

Provides High Density

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that 3.5 ounces of dragon fruit has over 3 grams of fiber.[1] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the recommended daily consumption of dietary fiber is 28 grams, depending on gender and based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Increases Hydration

Dragon fruit is high in fiber and water, which aid in constipation relief and digestion, according to Shapira. But dragon fruit also has a lot of fruit sugar, which Shapira says can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. She also points out that different people react differently to different fruits, including dragon fruit.

Shapira recommends eating half of one dragon fruit and waiting at least 15 minutes before eating the remaining portion. “Generally, moderation and observing personal tolerance levels can help manage any discomfort,” explains Shapira. “I always suggest starting with half of your normal portion and waiting to see how your body feels.”

Dragon Fruit’s Dangers to Your Health

According to Martin Smith, M.D., a double board-certified allergy and immunologist who founded Untoxicated Skincare, a line of allergen-free skincare products, dragon fruit seeds contain a number of oils and proteins that can cause allergic reactions.

“The allergen in dragon fruit is thought to be a lipid transfer protein, a specific type of protein found in certain fruits, vegetables, nuts and some types of pollen,” explains Dr. Smith, who recommends anyone with food allergies consult with an allergist before eating dragon fruit. However, he notes that allergic reactions to dragon fruit are exceedingly rare.

Dr. Laura Purdy, M.D., a board-certified family medicine specialist located in Miami Beach, Florida, says eating dragon fruit shouldn’t significantly interact with diabetic meds, despite some research suggesting it may lower blood glucose levels. Before including dragon fruit into their diet, anyone with diabetes or using diabetes medication should speak with their healthcare provider because dragon fruit does contain fructose, a sugar present in fruit.