Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Though people primarily enjoy it for its unique look and taste, evidence suggests it may provide health benefits as well.
Dragon Fruit (Also Called Pitaya or Pitahaya)?
As the name suggests, dragon fruit is just that — a fruit.
It’s grown primarily in Asia, Mexico, Central America, and South America, and historians think it originat But the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation suggests a different story: “Ancient Chinese legends say that the dragon fruit was created thousands of years ago by a dragon in battle who blew a burst of fire containing the fruit,” its website states.
If you’ve never heard of dragon fruit, you might be familiar with its other names: strawberry pear and pitaya or pitahaya.
Dragon fruit (or pitaya) comes from a cactus of the type Hylocereus. It’s a fast-growing crop, and the plants can produce for more than 20 years once established.
Provides Several Antioxidants
Dragon fruit contains several types of antioxidants.
These are compounds that protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases and aging.
These are some of the main antioxidants contained in dragon fruit pulp
- Betalains: Found in the pulp of red dragon fruit, these deep red pigments have been shown to protect “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized or damaged.
- Hydroxycinnamates: This group of compounds has demonstrated anticancer activity in test-tube and animal studies.
- Flavonoids: This large, diverse group of antioxidants is linked to better brain health and a reduced risk of heart disease.
What Are the Benefits of Dragon Fruit?
Because dragon fruit is full of vitamins and nutrients, and offers potentially disease-fighting antioxidants, it probably come as no surprise that eating this fruit on a regular basis can have a positive influence on your health and wellness.
Here’s a look at some of the possible benefits you can receive from dragon fruit.
Plays a Role in Cancer Prevention
Not only does the immune-boosting ability of vitamin C help prevent cancer, but red dragon fruit also contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives red fruits their color.
This antioxidant has been shown to help reduce cancerous cells in the body. According to some reports, red dragon fruit extract may play a part in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, but researchers need to conduct more studies to determine its role in the chemoprevention of breast cancer.
Promotes Skin HealthEating dragon fruit also carries benefits for the skin. It may help reduce age spots, wrinkles, dry skin, and acne. The potential skin benefits come from its vitamin C and antioxidants in the fruit. These vitamins and minerals can play a role in gradually repairing cell damage, resulting in a more youthful appearance.
Wards Off Anemia in Pregnancy
There’s an association among anemia during pregnancy and infant mortality, premature labor, miscarriages, and low birth weight.
A study published in the Belitung Nursing Journal looked at the possible effects of red dragon fruit on pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia, and found that dragon fruit increased the hemoglobin and erythrocyte level in the seventh day of intervention.
These findings have led researchers to believe that red dragon fruit juice could be an alternative treatment for anemia during pregnancy. Even so, you should still speak with your doctor about ways to correctly manage anemia.
Reduces InflammationIf you deal with chronic pain from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, eating dragon fruit might provide relief from inflammation and tenderness. The fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that can function as a natural painkiller for these symptoms.
MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)
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- Adult & Youth Sizes Available
Lowers Blood Sugar in Diabetes
The fiber in dragon fruit can also help people with type 2 diabetes stay fuller for longer and lose weight, helping normalize blood sugar levels.
Eating dragon fruit also carries benefits for the skin. It may help reduce age spots, wrinkles, dry skin, and acne. The potential skin benefits come from its vitamin C and antioxidants in the fruit. These vitamins and minerals can play a role in gradually repairing cell damage, resulting in a more youthful appearance.
Improves Cardiovascular HealthDragon fruit might be the perfect food if you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health and possibly help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Because of the antioxidants in the fruit, and the fact that its seeds — which are edible — provide your body with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eating the fruit may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Improving your cholesterol can help reduce plaque buildup in your arteries, which promotes healthy blood flow.
Aids Your DigestionThe dietary fiber in dragon fruit also can help promote healthy digestion and gut health. Adults need between 21 and 38 g of fiber per day. About 100 g of dragon fruit contains 2.9 g of fiber, or 11 percent of the daily value. Adequate dietary fiber contributes to bowel regularity and can prevent and treat constipation.
Supports Your Immune System
People who have a weakened immune system are more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. This can include the common cold and flu and infections.
Dragon fruit contains vitamin C, which can give your immune system a boost and defend your body against foreign invaders (germs and bacteria) and free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body that can lead to cell damage.
Can Eating Dragon Fruit Help You Lose Weight?
There’s no magic food to quickly melt fat off your body for a slimmer appearance. But with the right food choices, you can see an amazing transformation in your body.
Because dragon fruit is low in calories, you can eat it as a snack in between meals without feeling guilty.
Additionally, the fiber in dragon fruit can help you feel full. When you’re satisfied sooner, you’ll likely to take in fewer calories, which can speed your weight loss efforts.
Are There Known Side Effects of Dragon Fruit?
The good news is that there don’t appear to be any side effects or health risks associated with eating dragon fruit. Even so, if you eat dragon fruit and develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop eating the fruit immediately.
- Swelling of the lips or tongue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tingling or itchy feeling in the mouth