Do you know what dragon fruit is? Not many people are familiar with dragon fruits. Some may hear about it and think it is out of a fantasy book. But, it is not; it is absolutely a real fruit!
We also know it as strawberry pear or pitahaya. Know may not know this, but it is a sweet fruit with a skin that is bright red and see-spotted pulp.
You may not even be familiar with how to eat dragon fruit if you do not even know much about it. And you might even wonder about dragon fruit side effects if you have just heard of them.
The most asked question will be, are dragon fruit healthy? Yes, they are very healthy fruits.
What Are Dragon Fruits?
Dragon fruit is obviously a fruit that grows on Hylocereus cacti, which we also know as the queen of Honolulu.
It is a native plant of Central America and Mexico, but you can find it all over the world nowadays. So, it is a tropical fruit.
As you already know, we also call this fruit strawberry pear, pitahaya, or even pitaya because it is bright red on the outside and has green scales that might resemble dragons.
This red dragon fruit has another variety, which has yellow skin. Even though this fruit sounds and looks like an exotic fruit, it tastes like any other fruit, and it is delicious.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition
This fruit is very nutritious. Let us take a look at the nutritious content of this fruit.
- 60 kcal calories
- 12.94 grams of carbohydrate
- 2.9 grams of dietary fiber
- 18 milligrams of calcium
- 0 milligrams of sodium
- 0 grams of fat
- 7.65 grams of sugar
- 1.18 grams of protein
- 0.74 grams of iron
- 2.5 milligrams of vitamin C
- 20 milligrams of magnesium
- 0 milligrams of cholesterol
Dragon Fruit Health Benefits
If you read the list of nutrients that this fruit contains, you should know that it has a lot of health benefits as well. The benefits of dragon fruit for skin are boundless, among others.
Let us take a look at the health benefits of consuming dragon fruit.
A fresh dragon fruit has low calories and fats in it while having a lot of minerals, vitamins, and a lot of other nutrients that are essential for your health. Eating dragon fruit may provide you with these nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Promotes Gut Health
Dragon fruit has some great prebiotic properties that are great for the health of your gut. There have been studies that show that if you eat dragon fruit on a regular basis, it can decrease the risk of developing infections in the digestive tract as well as prevent diarrhea.
Some of the studies suggest that the prebiotics in dragon fruit can decrease the risk of developing colon cancer and even help with IBD or inflammatory bowel disease.
Although these studies are a good example, we need further studies on dragon fruit to acknowledge the legitimacy of these studies.
If you eat enough dragon fruit, it can help you reach your RDA or Recommended Dietary Allowances, which is usually 25g of fiber each day. In a 200g serving of dragon fruit, there are about 6 grams of fiber, which is great.
For your digestive health, fiber is really important, and it can even help in controlling the sugar levels in your blood.
There may be a chance that eating dragon fruits can lower the risks of obesity, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Is dragon fruit good for diabetes? Yes, it is really good for people with diabetes as well as preventing the development of diabetes.
So, what is the best time to eat dragon fruit? It is every day!
A study in 2018 shows that dragon fruit contains a decent amount of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids.
Research shows that these fatty acids may help reduce the risks of inflammatory conditions, AMD or age-related muscular degeneration, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer such as colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
There may be a chance that these fatty acids can even help with your mental health. A review of clinical studies in 2016 shows that supplements of fish oil can improve depression symptoms.
Dragon fruits are a good source of carotenoids and vitamin C. These are the antioxidants found in dragon fruits that help with your immune system.
This fruit even contains betaxanthins and betacyanins. These are the pigments that can help fight free radicals in your body, protecting the white blood cells from various infections.
There is more! The antioxidant properties that a dragon fruit contains can also help with inflammatory conditions such as gout and arthritis.
Can Improve Iron Levels
Most fruits do not contain much iron, but dragon fruits do. And iron is essential for oxygen to get to your cells and produce energy from food.
If you do not have enough iron in your system, you may suffer from iron deficiency like anemia.
Dragon fruit is a great source of magnesium, which is very essential to your health. With half a cup of dragon fruit, you can get 10% of your recommended daily value if you are an adult.
Magnesium can help your body in a lot of ways, like breaking down your food, maintaining and forming bone, creating DNA, and contracting muscles.
Side Effects of Dragon Fruits
Overall, this fruit is pretty safe for consumption. But, in rare cases, dragon fruit might have an allergic reaction in some people.
In only two cases, women who had no cases of food allergies did develop anaphylactic reactions when they consumed a mixture of fruits that had dragon fruit in them.
After further investigation, these two women did have antibodies in their system against dragon fruit.
There have not been any other cases that were reported, but you should always be cautious if you have not tried red dragon fruit yet even though it has many health benefits.
Dragon fruit is an amazing fruit. It tastes great, and it has so many health benefits because of its nutrients.
But are dragon fruit healthy? Of course, they are! Dragon fruit can help your body in so many ways. But, in rare cases, it might cause you an extreme allergic reaction.
So, you should heed caution when it comes to allergic reactions. Otherwise, you should definitely add this fruit to your diet.