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Dragon Fruits: Facts, Nutrition, Health Benefits and Side Effects

Dragon Fruits: Facts, Nutrition, Health Benefits and Side Effects

Dragon fruit, also called pitahaya, pitaya, or strawberry pear, is a member of the Cactus family. The fruit is bright pink in color with a bulb-like shape and is known for its ornamental appearance. Dragon fruit benefits are ample, but its appearance is eye-catching. The spikes and scales present on it give it an exceptional look as well as name. It draws its name from fire-breathing dragons. In taste, the fruit is sweet and unique. The pulp of the dragon fruit may vary in color as it can be either pink or white. However, there is one more variety of dragon fruit called yellow dragon fruit. It has yellow scaly skin and white pulp with black seeds. Yellow dragon fruit benefits for health are almost similar to the other ones.

Dragon fruit is grown all over the world, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas. While the fruit is quite popular throughout Central America and Asia, it is still consumed less in the United States. This is why dragon fruits’ price is also high in comparison with other staple fruits. But dragon fruit nutrition can offer a healthy and delicious addition to the diet, as it contains essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and even healthy fats and iron.

What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?

Many people who are haven’t tried dragon fruit first like to know the answer of what does dragon fruit tastes like. It is an exotic fruit, and the taste is similar to other fruits. When asked the question of what does dragon fruit tastes like, most people say that it tastes like a mixture of pear and kiwi. The taste also has hints of watermelon and berry. The flesh of dragon fruit resembles that of kiwi. Dragon fruit either has pink or yellow scaly skin with white or red flesh. The flesh is similar to kiwi fruit, with a slimy texture studded with black seeds. Storing dragon fruit at room temperature or in the refrigerator is not bad. However, it should be consumed fresh to the ripe best of its benefits. Once it starts getting mushy or brown, it has been rotten and is unhealthy to consume.

Dragon Fruits’ Nutrition Facts- 

Dragon fruit is a rich source of nutrients like iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It also contains a decent amount of fiber that is essential for healthy digestion. Let us now have a look at dragon fruits nutrition. A high amount of vital nutrients and shallow calorie content make dragon fruit nutrition an appealing one.

A 100 Gram Of Dragon Fruit Nutrition Is As Follows- 

  • Calories- 60 grams.
  • Protein- 1.2 grams
  • Fat- 0 grams.
  • Carbs- 13 grams.
  • Fiber- 3 grams.
  • Vitamin C- 9%
  • Iron- 8% 
  • Magnesium- 18%.
  • Vitamin E- 4%
  • Calcium- 107

Dragon Fruit Health Benefits-

As we have seen the nutrition value of dragon fruit, it can be now said that dragon fruit health benefits are abundant. It is a low-calorie fruit with a high amount of essential micronutrients. In fact, dragon fruit health benefits include sufficing the need for magnesium required to a human body. It also contains rare nutrients such as niacin. Let us now dive into dragon fruit health benefits that are provided by these nutrients-

Dragon Fruit Benefits For Diabetes- 

Dragon fruit contains a high amount of fiber that helps maintain blood sugar levels and avoid sugar spikes in people with diabetes. Dragon fruit benefits include regulating insulin production. Consumption of dragon fruit regularly helps prevent further medical consequences among people with diabetes. It is still not recommended to completely rely on foods like dragon fruit for sugar level regulation. Seeking a doctor’s advice is a must, especially for people with type 2 diabetes, while making any addition to the diet.

Also See: Best Fruits To Eat For Diabetics Type 2

Dragon Fruit Benefits May Reduce The Risk Of Having Cancer- 

Dragon fruit contains a few anti-cancer properties that can reduce the risks of specific cancer called colon cancer. It is a rich source of vitamin C and plays a vital role in boosting overall immunity. Dragon fruit benefits provide potent antioxidants like vitamin C that prevents one from contracting chronic diseases like Parkinson Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, etc. Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is also beneficial for bone structure, blood vessels, and cartilage muscles. With the quality of fast iron absorption, dragon fruit benefits the wound healing process as well. 

Dragon Fruit Benefits For Heart And Immunity- 

Dragon fruit is abundant in flavonoids that help fight infections and strengthen immunity. Consuming just one cup of dragon fruit can add rich anti-inflammation properties to your diet. Dragon fruit benefits are also present in the red pulp. Dragon fruit with red pulp contains betalains which give the flesh its red color. Betalains help removes the bad cholesterol from the body and keeps the heart happy. Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids and omega 9 fatty acids present in the tiny black seeds of dragon fruit try to eliminate the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Also See: The List of Foods That Fight Inflammation

Dragon Fruit Benefits For Skin And Hair-

Dragon fruit benefits include fighting against oxidative stress. One of the main causes of skin aging and harm is oxidative stress. Dragon fruit benefits include a highlight of vitamin C being a rich source of antioxidants. These antioxidants repair the damage of aging, sun and brighten the skin. Dragon fruit is also great for people wanting black, thick, and shiny hair. Mixing dragon fruit powder with milk and consuming it once a week can boost shine and improve hair texture. This remedy is an excellent source of essential nutrients that can repair past hair damage as well. Drinking this dragon fruit beverage once a week can make you witness some terrific improvement in skin and hair. 

Dragon Fruit Benefits For The Digestive System-

Dragon fruit has a high content of fiber that helps increase its satiety value. Apart from this, dragon fruit benefits are also derived from a nutrient present in it called oligosaccharides. It is a carbohydrate that stimulates the growth of good bacterias. Further, good bacteria boosts digestion and keeps the digestive tracts clean. Healthy digestion is a valuable dragon fruit benefit as it also reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer.

Also See: 7 Days GM Diet Plan

Dragon Fruit Benefits For Bones And Eyes-

The benefits of dragon fruit do not miss out the mobility and sight. With boosting immunity, the essential nutrients present in dragon fruit avoid joint pain and make bones stronger. Dragon fruit benefits the bones because of the presence of vitamin C and minerals like magnesium. The same logic applies to the dragon fruit benefits for the eyes. Iron is a potent nutrient beneficial for a good sight. Moreover, these nutrients also repair and heal the cells as they have anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit- 

Like dragon fruit health benefits, eating dragon fruit is also efficient. Here is a step-by-step guide of how to select and eat dragon fruit-

  • First comes the selection of freshly riped dragon fruit. This dragon fruit must be red.
  • Select a ripe dragon fruit that is bright red in color, evenly colored scaly skin. The scaly skin of dragon fruit has to be discarded. 
  • Take a sharp knife to cut straight through the dragon fruit and slice it in half.
  • People can use a spoon to scoop out the dragon fruit from its skin or peel off the skim completely to slice or dice dragon fruit flesh into small pieces. 
  • The neatly sliced-up dragon fruit can be eaten as it is. 
  • Dice the dragon fruit into small pieces and top with some yogurt. You can also add nuts or jam to it. 
  • Dragon fruit can be similarly added to a fruit salad as well.

Also See: What Are Superfoods?

Side Effects Of Dragon Fruit- 

The dragon fruit benefits the overall wellbeing of the body in general. It is a safe and easy-to-use fruit. However, in some rare cases, people can develop an allergic reaction to dragon fruit. In two different cases, women who had no history of food allergies got severe anaphylactic reactions after consuming a fruit salad with dragon fruit. It was later found that they had antibodies against dragon fruit but still experienced an allergic reaction. 

There have been few cases of allergic reactions against dragon fruit. Reported symptoms include swollen, itchy red skin, swelling over the mouth, and severe itching in the body. Although, there has only been limited study for whether or not dragon fruit interacts with medications. It is vital to get personalized information for what should be added and avoided in the diet of a person who takes medicines for any type of illness. However, if you suspect even mild hints of an allergy against dragon fruit, speak to your health care provider immediately to get a proper diagnosis.

Hence, it can be safely said that dragon fruit benefits are ample but can be subjective. The low-calorie dragon fruit contains less sugar and few carbs than the other tropical fruits available in the market. Dragon fruit health benefits also require more human studies to verify what it claims. Thus, dragon fruit is a delicious and unique gift of nature that can add variety in taste and nutrition to the diet.

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