If you are familiar with keto fruits you should know about dragon fruit. But what is dragon fruit? Is it related to “dragons”?
Well no! Dragon fuit is just pitaya fruit. It is found in Mexico, America, India, and several other places around the globe.
This fruit is highly nutritious and well known for its health benefits. Let’s dive deep and discover dragon fruit health benefits.
Also, this nutritious fruit is low in net carbs. That’s why you can include dragon fruits in your keto fruit list.
Dragon fruit health benefits pregnancy
Dragon fruit is known for its high calcium content. You will get 18mg of calcium from a serving of 100g of dragon fruit (1).
Numerous studies have pointed to the health benefits of calcium during pregnancy.
A proper intake of calcium may reduce hypertensive disorders during pregnancy (2).
Pregnant women should be careful about this fact.
Hypertensive disorders may promote multiple heart disorders. It even causes stroke or heart attack.
Pregnant women can protect themselves from this disorder by eating dragon fruit. Considering all of these facts we can say dragon fruit is good for pregnancy.
Furthermore, a combination of pregnancy smoothies for nausea along with dragon fruit is great for pregnant women.
Dragon fruit is packed with vitamin A.
With 59 IU(international unit) per 100 grams of serving, makes dragon fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A.
Studies have found that vitamin A acts as an important nutrient for the immune system.
The anti-inflammatory property of vitamin A helps to enhance the immune system (3).
Also Retinoid acid plays an important role in the innate immune system.
This metabolite of vitamin A regulates the differentiation, maturation, and function of cells of the innate immune system.
Treatment of infectious diseases
Dragon fruit is a health-promoting fruit. The high vitamin A component of dragon fruit may aid in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Vitamin A may be used to treat the following diseases(4):
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Infectious Diseases in Children
- Acute pneumonia
- Infantile diarrhea
- Enteric infection
- Hand foot and mouth disease
The vitamin A component of dragon fruit makes them great for fighting these infectious diseases.
It is considered one of the best dragon fruit health benefits.
Dragon fruit health benefits for eye
Dragon fruit contains plenty of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A and C have beneficial effects on multiple eye diseases.
Several studies have reported that these two vitamins can reduce the risk of macular degeneration (5).
Furthermore, they can prevent other eye-related diseases.
However, vitamin C is more effective than vitamin A for eye diseases.
Dragon fruit skin health benefits
Skincare is probably the most followed topic around the globe. Everyone from children to elders is careful about their skin.
Dragon fruit contains some essential vitamins and minerals. These essential nutrients may promote healthier skin.
Dragon fruits are rich in vitamin A. It is the most commonly used vitamin for the reduction of wrinkles (6).
Another useful vitamin B3 or niacin is found in dragon fruit.
Niacin can reduce the risk of skin cancer by preventing skin damage by UV rays (7).
Packed with magnesium
Dragon fruits are packed with magnesium. Magnesium has a lot of proven health benefits over humans.
The daily required magnesium intake for 19-51 plus years men are 400-420 mg. For same-aged women, it is 310-320 mg (8).
Magnesium-rich dragon fruit provides 40mg of magnesium(100g serving).
Magnesium may protect our body from the following diseases:
- Bronchial asthma
- Cardiovascular diseases(9)
Dragon fruit health benefits on glycemic control
Studies have shown that dragon fruit may lower blood sugar levels. The fruit may aid in glycemic control of prediabetes patients.
Research conducted on 36 prediabetes subjects showed a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose (10).
That’s why dragon fruit may be used to reverse prediabetes.
However, no notable improvement in blood glucose for type 2 diabetes was not observed. Also, dragon fruit benefits for diabetes type1 and type2 require more research.
Promotes a healthy gut
Dragon fruit may protect our gut from various infections. This fruit is a good source of oligosaccharides.
Studies have shown that the prebiotic property of dragon fruit oligosaccharide improves gut health (11).
Dragon fruit oligosaccharide may increase fecal output and intestinal motility. It also helps to reduce gastrointestinal motility disorders.
Dragon fruit iron health benefits
Dragon fruits are incredibly nutritious. Furthermore, they are a rich source of iron. Iron is considered one of the important factors that promote dragon fruit health benefits.
Iron plays an important role in oxygen transportation and energy formation. Vegetarians may be affected by iron deficiency as they require 1.8 times higher iron than meat-eaters (12).
They can get rid of this problem by eating iron-rich dragon fruit. Also, pregnant women may reduce the chance of anemia by consuming dragon fruit.
High in fiber
Dragon fruit contains plenty of fiber. Fiber aids in multiple dragon fruit health benefits. The fiber component of dragon fruit improves stool density.
It also helps to reduce the gut transit time. Because of this dragon fruit reduces the chance of constipation.
Also, fiber-rich dragon fruit keeps our stomachs full for a long time. That’s why dragon fruit helps to maintain a healthy weight.
Furthermore, you may also get iron-rich dragon fruit health benefits for the following diseases. These disorders require excess iron for treatment (13)
- Gastric bypass surgery iron deficiency
Dragon fruit nutrition facts
Dragon fruit provides a wide variety of nutrition facts. You will get the following nutrients from 100 gram serving of dragon fruit
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 1.18 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.94 g
- Sugar: 7.65 g
- Net carbs: 2.39 g
What’s more, dragon fruit also contains the following vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin C: 2.5 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.1 mg
- Niacin: 0.35 mg
- Vitamin A: 59 IU
- Calcium: 18 mg
- Iron: 0.74 mg
- Magnesium: 40 mg
- Potassium: 156 mg (*)
How to prepare dragon fruit for eating
Before buying dragon fruit you should identify the best ones. The proper and ripe iron fruit is a little bit soft.
Choose the bright red ones without too many spots.
After buying the dragon fruit you need to follow these steps
- Cut the fruit into two pieces
- Peel the outer skin with a knife
- Now make multiple pieces by slicing with a knife
- Alternatively, you can scoop out the pulp using a spoon
Now your dragon fruit is ready to serve. It can be served with salads, soup, and desserts.
Remember to wash your hands with soap for 5 minutes to get rid of the red coloring of your hands caused by dragon fruit juice.
To make the taste of dragon fruit better you can add garlic salt and ketogenic black pepper with it. The flavor of dragon fruit may improve a couple of folds after adding these.
For achieving a great taste after baking dragon fruit you need to add a small amount of garlic paste, onion powder, black pepper, and salt during baking.
Dragon fruit side effects
Hope you have learned about dragon fruit’s health benefits. Now, what are the side effects of dragon fruit? Frankly, there are a limited number of dragon fruit side effects.
By excess consumption of dragon fruit, you may get the following side effects. These are a bi-product of too much nutrient intake or side effects related to excess protein, fiber, and other nutrients
- Skin allergy and rash
- Nausea & vomiting
- Gas, bloating, and constipation
- Weight gain
- Liver disease
- Heart problems
Also, anthracnose, stem canker, and the cactus viral disease are common diseases of dragon fruit (15). If you consume any of these disease-affected dragon fruits you may get stomach troubles.
However, these types of dragon fruits are identified easily. Dragon fruit affected by these diseases may dry up before reaching maturity.
Furthermore, you may get a yellow webbing on dragon fruits from these diseases. In that case, you should cut the web using a clean knife before eating.
Also, dragon fruit is rich in ascorbic acid. Studies have shown that consumption of ascorbic acid on an empty stomach may cause acid reflux (16).
Some people believe that fresh dragon fruit may heat up their heads. However, it’s not true, magnesium-rich dragon fruit does the opposite i.e relieve from headache.
Although a normal intake of dragon fruit is safe. You will not get any of these side effects from a limited consumption of dragon fruit.
Best time to eat dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is highly nutritious. By regular and controlled eating you will get a wide range of dragon fruit health benefits.
Although, there is no best time to eat dragon fruit. You can eat it any time. But the best time should be with breakfast or afternoon.
As dragon fruit is heavy on nutrition, it may take time to digest. That’s why these two timings are great for eating dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit is a highly nutritious, delicious, and convenient fruit. It can be added to any diet. This fruit offers a wide variety of health benefits.
Dragon fruit’s health benefits are well known, especially over the skin and chronic diseases. It may also aid in weight loss and immunity boost.
Another added advantage of dragon fruit is high blood pressure control during pregnancy. This benefit may aid in protection for both mother and child.
To achieve the majority of the dragon fruit health benefits remove the fruit’s skin.
Is dragon fruit a Superfood?
Dragon fruit is an excellent source of useful nutrients.
Both of these are linked with a number of health benefits, like chronic disease control, anemia reduction, immunity boost, etc.
Considering all of these facts we can say dragon fruit is a superfood.
Can I eat dragon fruit everyday?
Yes, you can eat dragon fruit every day. Dragon fruit provides a high volume of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
As dragon fruit is a very high source of these, you should limit your daily intake to no more than 75 grams.
Is dragon fruit keto?
Dragon fruit is keto because it is low in net carbs. However, the total carbs of this fruit are on the upper side.
So, don’t overconsume it otherwise it may break your ketosis.
You can consider a controlled intake of dragon fruit with your daily keto meal plan.