If you have been to the market, you probably would have come across an exotic-looking, prickly fruit, which may have poked your curiosity. That would be a ‘dragon fruit’. Pink peel, green/yellow scales, and white flesh studded with tiny black seeds is how most people describe dragon fruit. While it tastes amazing, its appearance is far more dramatic than the flavour which is because of the mythical creature-inspired name.
Today, you will see different varieties of dragon fruit in the market – some with red skin and red flesh, and yellow skin with white flesh, among others. Apart from different looks, different varieties of dragon fruit have subtle variations in taste too.
If you have never tasted a dragon fruit, you must, not just because of its taste but the health benefits it offers. With that in mind, we have created this post to help you understand the benefits of dragon fruit and what nutritional value it provides to you and your loved ones.
Table of Contents
- Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit
- Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
- Best Ways to Consume Dragon Fruit
Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit can weigh anywhere around 150 grams to 600 grams depending on the variety and where it is grown. About 60% of the fruit is edible and boasts a plethora of nutritional benefits.
Dragon fruit is high in fibre and antioxidant properties, including certain minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for our health. In this section, we have outlined the nutritional value of the dragon fruit with the help of tables to help you get a clear insight into its health benefits.
A 100-gram serving of dragon fruit contains:
- Calories – 60
- Protein – 2.0 gram
- Carbohydrates – 9.0 grams
- Fat – 2.0 gram
- Fibre – 1.5 grams
Considering the above table, it can be said that dragon fruit contains all the necessary nutrients required for better health. If you are looking to add a bit of freshness, taste, and nutrition to your diet, dragon fruit is something to go to.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Because it is full of nutrients and vitamins, and offers disease-fighting antioxidants, consuming dragon fruit regularly can have a positive impact on your health and well-being.
Here are some of the possible health benefits you can receive from consuming dragon fruit.
1. Aids weight loss
If you are watching your waistline and trying hard to reduce a few inches, adding dragon fruit to your diet can be of great help. While there is no superfood that quickly disappears fat off your body and gives you a slimmer-looking appearance, dragon fruit is low in calories and sugar, which you can eat as a snack, in between meals to control binge eating.
Dragon fruit will keep you full and make you feel satiated for a longer duration, preventing the urge to eat more. This fruit is also packed with fibre which boosts metabolism and is beneficial to your weight loss efforts.
2. Helps ward off Anaemia during pregnancy
There is a connection between anaemia during pregnancy and premature labour, infant mortality, low birth weight, and miscarriages. Women are prone to developing anaemia during pregnancy, which is caused due to iron deficiency.
A common treatment of anaemia is to consume iron tablets suggested and advised by doctors. However, iron tablets can cause severe side effects like heartburn, constipation etc. Substituting iron supplements with dragon fruit can be a healthier option minus the side effects as it’s a rich source of Vitamin C too (9% of RDI) for better absorption of Iron.
In a study published in the Belitung Nursing Journal, it was stated that dragon fruit increased the erythrocyte and haemoglobin level in a pregnant woman on the seventh day of the intervention. Since dragon fruit is rich in iron, researchers believe that raw dragon fruit juice could be an alternate treatment for anaemia during pregnancy. However, you must consult your physician before having dragon fruit when you are pregnant.
3. Prevents inflammation
If you are suffering from chronic pain due to arthritis, doctors suggest that you should eat dragon fruit. Studies indicate that dragon fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve severe pain in the joints and muscles.
The antioxidants present in dragon fruit work by neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation. People with rheumatoid arthritis are advised by doctors to include dragon fruit in their daily diet. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit might provide relief from tenderness and inflammation.
According to health experts, dragon fruit can function as a natural painkiller for chronic pain symptoms. Even if it doesn’t eliminate your suffering completely, it might reduce the severity of the inflammation, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
4. Improves skin health
Dragon fruit could do miracles for your skin. It has vitamin C in abundance which is extremely important for skin health. Vitamin C present in dragon fruit can help reduce sunburn and prevent infection over the burnt region.
Eating dragon fruit might help reduce acne, treat dry skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and eliminate age spots. Dragon fruit also has other nutrients like Vitamin B3 which treats sunburns and also prevents premature ageing.
The antioxidant properties of dragon fruit can help flush out dirt from your skin and clean out pores, allowing your skin to breathe and glow. The vitamins and minerals in dragon fruit can help repair the damaged skin cells, which could result in a more youthful appearance.
5. Helps in lowering blood sugar levels
Doctors advise people with type-2 diabetes to include dragon fruit in their diet as it can help them normalize their blood sugar levels, allowing them to stay fuller for longer and lose weight. Dragon fruit is thus responsible for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Thus, lowering the risk of several chronic diseases.
You must keep your blood sugar levels in check and eat healthy foods to keep them normalized. One of the symptoms of type-2 diabetes is feeling hungry, even after eating. As discussed earlier, eating dragon fruit can help you feel full while helping you manage your sugar levels.
6. Boasts cancer-prevention properties
Dragon fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as a great antioxidant. The immune-boosting ability of vitamin C can help prevent cancer. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in dragon fruit, helps reduce cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
According to some studies, dragon fruit extract may play a vital role in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. The Bioactive compounds present in dragon fruit can change specific carcinogenic processes that include cancer metabolism. However, more research and studies have to be conducted for determining the role of dragon fruit extract in treating cancer. Overall, eating it can help keep your immune system strong which may ward off many diseases.
7. Aids digestion
One of the biggest health benefits of dragon fruit is that it can promote your gut health, followed by healthy digestion. Dragon fruit is high in fibre content that helps in stimulating proper and healthy digestion.
Per hundred grams of dragon fruit contains about 2.5 grams of fibre, which is 11% of the daily value (DV). Including dragon fruit in your diet will take care of your required daily fibre intake and will contribute to bowel regularity. With that said, it can treat and prevent constipation and other digestive health conditions.
8. Supports your immune system
According to recent research, dragon fruit is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can protect your immune system from a variety of illnesses, which can include infections, flu, and common cold as well. The antibacterial properties present in dragon fruit back up the white blood cells and help to fight infections and other pathogens.
Dragon fruit contains vitamin C in abundance that gives the immune system a boost, enhancing its ability to defend your body against foreign invaders like bacteria and germs, and free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage if not removed and eating dragon fruit can help remove free radicals from the body.
9. Helps improve cardiovascular health
One of the biggest reasons why dragon fruit is popular among people is that it helps in improving cardiovascular health in people. This means that eating dragon fruit can possibly reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack.
The seeds of the fruit provide the body with necessary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for cardiovascular health. It keeps the arteries clean, allowing the blood to flow to and from the heart properly.
Best Ways to Consume Dragon Fruit
As with any other fruit, dragon fruit is best eaten raw. However, if you want to add some tang to it, you can consume dragon fruit in many ways. Listed below are a few of them –
Dragon Fruit Smoothie
It is a delicious, mint-flavoured smoothie that you would definitely love.
- Dragon fruit – 1 complete
- Mint leaves – 15 leaves
- Yoghurt – 1 cup
- Slice dragon fruit into small pieces or take a spoon scoops out the flesh (ensure that you only take the creamy white part)
- Take mint leaves and chop them into small pieces
- Now, put the chopped mint leaves, dragon fruit flesh and in a blender and add yoghurt.
- Blend until no lumps are formed
- Pour the mix into the glass and serve with ice and fresh mint leaves
Dragon fruit Salad
- 1 Dragon fruit, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup fresh fruit (pomegranate, apple, kiwi, grapes, watermelon)
- 1 cup lettuce leaves torn
- Dressing –
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.
- In a bowl, combine dragon fruit, other fruits and lettuce. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.
Dragon fruit is a ‘one-of-a-kind exotic fruit that has many health benefits. From treating cancer to improving cardiovascular health, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and more, dragon fruit is a superfood that can improve your overall health and well-being. The best part is you can eat dragon fruit any way you want – raw, smoothies, salad dressing, or in any other way you prefer.
Dragon Fruit – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is the benefit of dragon fruit?
A. Dragon fruit is high in fibre and antioxidants, along with various minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for our health. It is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants that help in digestion, aid weight loss, treat anaemia during pregnancy, lowers blood sugar levels and even improves skin health.
Q. Is dragon fruit high in sugar?
A. No, quite the opposite. Dragon fruit is a low-sugar fruit that only contains 7.65 grams of total sugar per serving (100g).
Q. What are the side effects of dragon fruit?
A. Dragon fruit can help to lower your blood sugar levels. So, it is advised to monitor your blood sugar levels if you frequently consume dragon fruit. Also, some people tend to be allergic to dragon fruit. Look out for any allergic reactions like swelling of the tongue, hives, and vomiting if you are consuming it for the very first time.
Q. Does dragon fruit make your skin glow?
A. Yes, this is a great fruit to improve your skin health. The vitamin C content in dragon fruit brings out radiance in the skin and the antioxidants prevent acne and breakouts. Eating dragon fruit might help reduce acne, treat dry skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and eliminate age spots. Dragon fruit also has other nutrients like Vitamin B3 which treats sunburns and also prevents premature ageing.
Q. Is dragon fruit anti-ageing?
A. Yes, dragon fruit has anti-ageing properties and antioxidants that may slow down the process of ageing.
Q. What is the use of dragon fruit peel?
A. The peel of the red dragon fruit is great for reducing cholesterol, improving visual health, promoting anti-ageing, boosting mood etc.
Q. What is the best time to eat dragon fruit?
A. You can eat dragon fruit any time of the day. However, consuming dragon fruit in the morning would provide all the essential nutrients that fuel your body.
Q. Can I eat dragon fruit every day?
A. Yes, dragon fruit is highly nutritious and can be eaten in moderate quantities daily.
Q. How many dragon fruits should I eat a day?
A. You can have one dragon fruit every day.
Q. Is dragon fruit a Superfood?
A. Yes, dragon fruit can be considered a superfood owing to its high fibre, antioxidants, and vitamin and mineral content. It also contains healthy acids and probiotics while being low in calories.
Q. Does dragon fruit make you sleepy?
A. Yes, dragon fruit is a natural sedative and can make your sleep better. Sleeplessness is often linked to a low level of magnesium and thus, this magnesium-rich fruit can help with the issue.
Q. What if a dragon fruit is red inside?
A. Red-flesh dragon fruit is a variant of the dominant white-flesh dragon fruit. The red dragon fruit is arguably more flavourful and sweeter than the white one. It also has a higher amount of antioxidants.
Q. Is dragon fruit poisonous?
A. No dragon fruit is not poisonous. However, some people may be allergic to dragon fruit. Look out for any allergic reactions like swelling of the tongue, hives, and vomiting if you are consuming it for the very first time.
Q. Does dragon fruit help you poop?
A. Yes, dragon fruit can promote your gut health. It is high in fibre content that helps in stimulating proper and healthy digestion. Including dragon fruit in your diet will take care of your required daily fibre intake and will contribute to bowel regularity thus treating and preventing constipation and other digestive conditions.
Q. Can I eat dragon fruit skin?
A. Yes, you can eat dragon fruit skin. The peel of the red dragon fruit is great for reducing cholesterol, improving visual health, promoting anti-ageing, boosting mood etc.