Dragon fruit, also referred to as pitahaya or strawberry pear, may be a tropical fruit known for its energetic red skin and sweet, seed-spotted mash. Its unique look and acclaimed superfood powers have made it popular among foodies and therefore the health-conscious.
Luckily, you don’t need to sleep in the tropics to enjoy the various benefits of dragon fruit. In fact, you’ll find it fresh or frozen in supermarkets worldwide.
Here are 7 health benefits of dragon fruit, all supported evidence.
High in Nutrients
Dragon fruit is low in calories but full of essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains a considerable amount of dietary fiber.
Here’s a rundown of the most nutrients during a one-cup serving (227 grams)
- Calories: 136
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 29 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 9% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 4% of the RDI
In addition to essential nutrients, dragon fruit also provides beneficial plant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids and betaine
May Help Fight Chronic Disease
Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage, which can cause inflammation and disease. One way to combat this is often by eating antioxidant-rich foods like dragon fruit. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, thus preventing cell damage and inflammation. Studies suggest that diets high in antioxidants may help prevent chronic diseases like heart condition , cancer, diabetes and arthritis
Dragon fruit contains several sorts of potent antioxidants, including
Observational studies have found correlations between vitamin C intake and cancer risk. for instance , a study in 120,852 people associated higher intakes of vitamin C with lower rates of head and neck cancer
Test-tube studies indicate betalains can combat oxidative stress and should have the power to suppress cancer cells.
β-carotene and lycopene are plant pigments that give dragon fruit a vivid color. Diets rich in carotenoids are linked to a reduced risk of cancer and heart condition
Importantly, antioxidants work best when eaten naturally in food, instead of in pill form or as a supplement. In fact, antioxidant supplements may have harmful effects, and taking them without medical supervision isn’t recommended. On the opposite hand, dragon fruit is very recommended.
Loaded With Fiber
Dietary fibers are nondigestible carbohydrates that boast an in depth list of potential health benefits. Health authorities recommend 25 grams of fiber per day for ladies and 38 grams for men. Like antioxidants, fiber supplements don’t have an equivalent health benefits as fiber from foods, With 7 grams per one-cup serving, dragon fruit is a superb whole-food source
Although fiber is perhaps most documented for its role in digestion, research has suggested it’s going to also play a task in protecting against heart condition , managing type 2 diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight, Although more research is required , some observational studies suggest that diets high in fiber may protect against carcinoma. While no studies have linked dragon fruit to any of those conditions, its high-fiber content can assist you meet your recommended daily values.
However, it’s important to notice that high-fiber diets can have drawbacks, especially if you’re familiar with a low-fiber diet. To avoid stomach discomfort, increase your intake of dietary fiber gradually and drink many fluids.
Promotes a Healthy Gut
Your gut is home to some 100 trillion diverse microorganisms, including quite 400 species of bacteria. Many researchers believe this community of microorganisms may impact your health. Both human and animal studies have associated imbalances in your gut to conditions like asthma and heart condition. Given that dragon fruit contains prebiotics, it can potentially improve the balance of excellent bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are a selected sort of fiber that promotes the expansion of healthy bacteria in your gut. Like all fibers, your intestines cannot break them down. However, the bacteria in the gut can’t digest them. They use the fiber as fuel for growth, and you reap the advantages . In particular, dragon fruit mainly promotes the expansion of two families of healthy bacteria: carboxylic acid bacteria and bifidobacterial. Regularly consuming prebiotics may reduce the danger of infection in your alimentary canal and diarrhea. This is often because prebiotics promote the expansion of excellent bacteria, which researchers believe may outcompete the bad.
For example, a study in travelers showed that those that consumed prebiotics before and through travel experienced fewer and fewer severe episodes of traveler’s diarrhea. Some studies also suggest prebiotics may ease symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and carcinoma . Unfortunately, these findings are inconsistent, While much of the research on prebiotics is favorable, the research on the prebiotic activity of dragon fruit is restricted to test-tube studies. More studies are needed to work out its true effect on the human gut.
Strengthens Your system
Your body’s ability to fight infection is decided by several various factors , including the standard of your diet. The vitamin C and carotenoids in dragon fruit may boost your system and stop infection by protecting your white blood cells from damage. The white blood cells in your system attack and destroy harmful substances. However, they’re extremely sensitive to wreck by free radicals. As effective antioxidants, vitamin C and carotenoids can neutralize free radicals and protect white blood cells from damage.
May Boost Low Iron Levels
Dragon fruit is one among the few fresh fruits that contain iron. Iron plays an important role in transporting oxygen throughout your body. It also plays a crucial role in breaking down food into energy, Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough iron. In fact, it’s been estimated that 30% of the world’s population is deficient in iron, making it the foremost common nutrient deficiency worldwide To combat low iron levels, it’s important to consume a spread of iron-rich foods. Rich sources of iron include meat, fish, beans, nuts and cereals. Dragon fruit could also be another great option, together serving contains 8% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). It also contains vitamin C , which helps your body absorb iron
Good Source of Magnesium
Dragon fruit offers more magnesium than most fruits, with 18% of your RDI in only one cup. On average, your body contains 24 grams of magnesium, which is about one ounce, Despite this seemingly bit , the mineral is present in all of your cells and takes part in over 600 important chemical reactions within your body
For example, it takes part in reactions needed for the breakdown of food into energy, contraction , bone formation and even the creation of DNA
More studies are needed, but some indicate that higher intakes of magnesium may reduce the danger of heart condition and stroke. Studies also show that diets adequate in magnesium support bone health
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
While dragon fruit’s thick, leathery skin is often intimidating, eating this fruit is sort of simple. The trick is finding one that’s perfectly ripe. An unripe dragon fruit is going to be green. search for one that’s bright red. Some spots are normal, but too many bruise-like splotches can indicate that it’s overripe. Like avocado and kiwi, ripe dragon fruit should be soft and not mushy.
Here’s the way to eat a fresh dragon fruit:
Using a sharp knife, cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the fruit, or cut the fruit into cubes by cutting the fruit flesh in vertical and horizontal lines without cutting the skin. press on the rear of the skin to show the cubes and take them away with a spoon or your fingers. To enjoy, add it to salads, smoothies and yogurt, or just snack thereon by itself. You can also find dragon fruit within the frozen section of some grocery stores, pre-peeled and dig cubes. This is often a convenient option for a tasty snack that packs a nutrient-dense punch.