Benefits Of Dragon Fruit + How To Eat It? 


Dragon fruit tickles the taste buds thanks to its sweet and slightly sour flavor. The red exterior is slightly hard to bite through, but it’s worth it once you’re in its smooth sailing. If you try to keep it for later, you’ll see that even a salad leaves dragon fruit behind regarding shelf life.

This fruit is recommended as part of your anti-inflammatory diet since dragon fruit reduces joint pain, improves blood flow, and protects against heart disease.

What else can dragon fruit do? Check our complete guide on the benefits of dragon fruit and find out if it is a superfood. Read up on its many health benefits and learn what makes this tropical fruit unique.

What Is Dragon Fruit?

Hylocereus Undatus, aka dragon fruit, is a tropical fruit with bright red and white colors. Dragon fruit belongs to the family of climbing cacti (Cactaceae). It grows on the Hylocereus cactus, also famous as the Honolulu queen. The plant is well known as it opens its flowers only at night. 

The Hylocereus cactus originated in Central America. The plant is also native to southern Mexico but is now farmed worldwide. One can easily find dragon fruit in Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and northern South America. 

Dragon fruit goes by many names in different countries, such as strawberry pear, pitahaya, and pitaya. It exists in many types, but only two are the most common ones, with distinctive bright red skin and green scales all over the fruit. Dragon fruit is named so since it resembles a dragon.

Dragon fruit with white pulp and black seeds is widely available. Another type of red pulp with black seeds is comparatively less common. Besides, yellow dragon fruits also exist. These have yellow skin with white pulp and black seeds. 

Although dragon fruit has an exotic appearance, its flavor profile is similar to other fruits. Its taste is slightly sweet and tastes like a blend of a pear and a kiwi.

In the home countries, dragon fruits are predominantly used as a symbol of strength and inspire one to be tough mentally. They are also popular because they come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Dragon Fruit Nutrition Facts

Dragon fruits are rich in nutrients and offer an adequate amount of fiber, magnesium, and iron. Although the fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals, it is low in calories. 

A 100-gram or 3.5-ounce dragon fruit serving features the following nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 60
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Protein: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Iron: 4% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI

RDI refers to Recommended Dietary/Daily Intake, the average daily nutrient intake levels to meet the nutrient requirements. Since dragon fruits provide a high amount of magnesium and fiber in limited calorie content, it is considered a distinctly nutrient-dense fruit.

House Of Powerful Antioxidants

Dragon fruits offer a rich supply of many types of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that shield your body cells from the harm of free radicals, which are unstable molecules. Free radicals are often linked to aging and several chronic diseases.

The fruit contains three main types of antioxidants in its pulp. These include:

  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a large group of antioxidants that help improve brain health and mitigate the risk of cardiac diseases.
  • Betalains: The pulp of red dragon fruit is dense with deep red pigments called betalains. These compounds have shown proven protection of LDL cholesterol from damage and oxidation. 
  • Hydroxycinnamates: This family of antioxidants has been studied in animal studies where hydroxycinnamates have elicited anticancer properties in test-tube studies. 

Researchers studied the antioxidant properties of 17 tropical fruits, and dragon fruit was one of them. Although dragon fruit’s antioxidant activity was not significantly high, it topped other fruits in preventing certain fatty acids from harm by unstable molecules. 

Potential Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit

Many amusing facts revolve around dragon fruit. The Chinese claim that dragon fruit originated from a dragon’s fire during a harsh battle. Whatever the reality is, dragon fruit is a super healthy and nutritious fruit for humans.

Some of the potential health benefits of consuming dragon fruit are as follows:

  • May Help Fight Chronic Diseases

As mentioned earlier, free radicals are unstable molecules responsible for cellular damage, resulting in inflammation and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants are natural compounds that can combat these unstable molecules and protect your body cells from any potential damage.

One can reduce the risk of free radicals by consuming foods that supply rich amounts of antioxidants, such as dragon fruit. Research demonstrated that antioxidant-rich diets might prevent chronic diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and cardiac disease. 

Dragon fruit contains powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C, betalains, carotenoids, flavonoids, and hydroxycinnamates. 

Vitamin C: Observational research has developed a link between cancer risk and vitamin C. A study demonstrated that higher consumption of vitamin C reduces the risk of neck and head cancer. 

Carotenoids: Plant pigments like lycopene and beta-carotene impart vibrant colors to dragon fruit. A carotenoid-rich diet has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer risk. 

Betalains: These antioxidant compounds can tackle oxidative stress. Betalains may also help in the suppression of cancerous cells. 

A suitable intake of natural sources of antioxidants has greater benefits than antioxidant supplements. Notably, such supplements may threaten your health, and you should never consume them without medical supervision. 

  • Rich In Fiber

Dragon fruit is a rich source of dietary fiber, basically non-digestible carbohydrates. Dietary fibers feature an exhausting list of strong health benefits you can enjoy by eating dragon fruit.

The recommended daily fiber intake for men is 38 grams, and for women, it is 25 grams, according to health authorities. Like antioxidants, dietary fiber supplements do not offer the exact health advantages of fiber from natural sources.

You can get an excellent amount of dietary fiber by eating 7 grams per one-cup serving of dragon fruit. Fiber has a prominent role in digestive health. According to research, fiber may also promote protection against cardiac diseases. Besides, it manages type 2 diabetes and helps in controlling body weight.

Although the research is limited, observational studies elicit that  high fiber diets may prevent colon cancer. The available research has not directly linked these conditions with dragon fruit. However, the high levels of fiber in dragon fruit help you achieve these benefits. 

Contrastingly, a diet with high fiber content has its downsides, particularly if you are used to a low-fiber diet. Sudden consumption of a high amount of dietary fiber often leads to stomach issues. One way to avoid discomfort is to drink plenty of fluids and gradually increase the levels of dietary fiber in your diet.

  • Promotes Healthy Gut

About 100 trillion distinct microorganisms and over 400 bacterial species are housed in the human gut. Studies show that your gut microflora significantly impacts your overall health. 

Researchers have studied the gut microbiome’s effects in human and animal studies. They have associated disparity in your gut microflora with health conditions like cardiac diseases and asthma.

Dragon fruit has prebiotics. Therefore, it can significantly boost the stability of your gut’s good and beneficial bacteria. Dietary fiber is divided into three main types, including prebiotics, a special type that improves the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut.So, dragon fruit is the best way to improve gut health.

The human gut can’t break these fibers down without the help of bacteria in your gut. Your gut bacteria digest these fibers and utilize them as an energy source for growth. In return, you enjoy the benefits a balanced gut microbiome offers you.

Particularly, dragon fruit improves the proliferation of two main families of healthy bacteria; bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria. Regularly taking prebiotics may mitigate the risk of digestive tract infection and diarrhea. Since prebiotics promote good bacteria growth, high levels of healthy bacteria can outcompete the harmful ones. 

Furthermore, research suggests that probiotics may relieve the signs of colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. However, the findings are inconsistent and demand further research on the topic. 

  • Reinforces The Immune System

The human body fights off infections in many ways. Factors like the quality of your diet, sleep, exercise, etc., significantly impact your immune system. Dragon fruit contains carotenoids and vitamin C that boost your immune system’s performance and protect your body from infections. 

Both of these compounds protect your white blood cells from bacteria and viruses. White blood cells are the key to your body’s immunity and directly attack and destroy pathogens. Since white blood cells are highly sensitive to free radical damage, potent antioxidants are essential to protect them. Vitamin C and carotenoids neutralize these unstable molecules and shield white blood cells from damage. 

  • Improves Low Iron Levels

Only a few fresh fruits, including dragon fruit, supply a suitable amount of iron to your body. Iron is responsible for smooth oxygen transport throughout the human body. 

Moreover, it plays a key role in digesting food and converting nutrients into energy. About 30% of the world’s population has iron deficiency. Therefore, it is one of the common mineral deficiencies in populations worldwide.

To recover the low iron levels in your body, you should consume foods rich in iron. Notably, legumes, nuts, meats, fish, and cereals are on the list of iron-dense foods. 

Besides, dragon fruit makes the best alternative to these foods. One serving of dragon fruits provides 8% iron of your RDI – Recommended Daily Intake. Since dragon fruit contains vitamin C, your body will easily absorb iron from the fruit.

  • Provides Magnesium

With 18% of your RDI in one cup, dragon fruit provides a significant amount of magnesium compared to other fruits. The human body contains about 24 grams of magnesium on average. Although magnesium is in your body so small, it plays an important role in over 600 vital chemical reactions. Also, it is present in almost every cell of your body. 

For instance, magnesium is important for the digestion of food, bone formation, and muscle contraction. Besides, it also takes part in the synthesis of DNA. Although the research is limited, some studies show that higher magnesium levels reduce the risk of stroke and cardiac diseases.

Side Effects Of Dragon Fruit

You can reap many health benefits by consuming dragon fruit regularly. The fruit is generally safe for consumption. Still, some people may experience an allergic reaction in rare cases. 

Some studies demonstrated that women developed anaphylactic reactions after eating a fruit mixture containing dragon fruit, despite having no allergic food history. Further testing showed that subjects had antibodies in their blood against dragon fruit that led to allergic reactions.

Currently, there are only two cases of allergic reactions reported. However, other people may experience allergic symptoms upon consuming dragon fruit. 

How To Eat Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit looks like a cactus, but it is very easy to remove dragon fruit peel and eat it. Dragon fruit flesh is the only part that is digestible. To eat dragon fruit, you need to:

  • Choose a ripe dragon fruit with evenly bright red colored peel.
  • Cut the fruit in half using a sharp knife.
  • Using a spoon, eat the dragon fruit flesh out of the outer skin. You can also peel off its skins and cut the dragon fruit pulp into small cubes. 

Tips for serving dragon fruit:

  • Eat the fruit without peeling it off.
  • Slice the fruit into small cubes and serve with chopped nuts and Greek yogurt. You can even make a dragon fruit smoothie using these ingredients.
  • Simply use it in a salad.

Conclusion: Health Benefits Associated With Dragon Fruit 

Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit native to Central America and Mexico. Due to its popularity, you can find this fruit in many countries. The fruit features many potential health benefits. In addition to promoting a healthy gut, dragon fruit may boost your cardiovascular health, immunity, and magnesium and iron deficiencies. 

The fruit provides high antioxidants that help your body combat free radical damage. Overall, dragon fruit is highly nutritious, with high levels of fiber and low amounts of calories.


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