Dragon fruit, also known as Pitaya, is an exotic fruit that has been consumed for centuries in tropical areas. But it is not just its taste that makes this fruit so special, it also has many health benefits!
The taste of dragon fruit is sweet but not overpowering. It’s often compared to watermelon or kiwi. The flavor depends on the variety you choose, with some being tangier than others.
Table of Contents
- Dragon Fruit Benefits
Dragon Fruit Benefits
Dragon fruit is low in calories without sacrificing flavor, making it an ideal snack food for people who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.
So, what happens when you eat dragon fruit every day? Here are some benefits of eating this fruit daily.
1. Protects your body from oxidative stress
Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. It contains antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lycopene, which have all been linked to lower the risk of chronic diseases.
This is because antioxidants lower oxidative stress from progressing in the body.
Oxidative stress (1) occurs when there is a disruption in the balance between oxidants and antioxidants.
It occurs when the body is unable to cope with the effects of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage cells and tissues in the body.
Free radicals (2) are produced by normal cellular activity as well as exposure to environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke or pesticides.
But if there are too many free radicals present in your body, they can cause damage to healthy cells.
Antioxidants help protect against this damage by neutralizing these harmful molecules before they can cause any harm.
If left unchecked, oxidative stress can lead to inflammation that causes damage to organs like the brain or heart.
The antioxidant compounds in dragon fruit help protect against oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals before they damage your cells.
A study also found that dragon fruit contains several phytochemicals (3) such as carotenoids and phenolic acids which are both powerful antioxidants.
These antioxidants help protect your body from free radical damage which can lead to chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, and diabetes.
2. Might help with weight loss
Dragon fruit has recently become popular in the U.S. as a unique and exotic fruit that can be used to make juices, jams, smoothies, or even cocktails.
But the fruit’s nutritional value goes beyond its delicious taste. This is because it’s loaded with health benefits that can help you lose weight.
The fruit contains about 150 calories per cup of raw pulp or seeds. Dragon fruits are also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates compared to other tropical fruits like bananas or mangoes.
The high fiber content in dragon fruit can help you lose weight because it fills you up faster. It also keeps you feeling full longer than foods that contain less fiber.
Plus, having a low-calorie food such as dragon fruit as part of your diet can help prevent overeating from causing weight gain.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that dragon fruit contains high levels of antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage to cells.
This process is important for weight loss because it prevents the accumulation of fat tissue and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Free radicals can also affect your weight loss efforts by causing inflammation which increases insulin resistance and causes difficulty losing weight despite eating a healthy diet.
Inflammation also causes fat storage around the belly area which makes you look larger than you really are!
3. Relieves symptoms of arthritis
Since dragon fruit contains high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants, it can be used as an excellent remedy for reducing inflammation and improving joint mobility.
The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit help to relieve pain associated with arthritis.
Dragon fruit also contains an enzyme called lycopene (4) which helps to maintain healthy bones, cartilage, ligaments, and joints.
The high levels of potassium found in dragon fruits help reduce muscle cramps and spasms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
This fruit also contains calcium which is essential for bone health.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of calcium-rich foods may help prevent osteoporosis (5) or bone loss due to aging or other factors like hormonal changes or diseases.
4. Helps in regulating blood sugar levels
Dragon fruit has been found to have strong effects on blood sugar regulation.
This is because it has a low glycemic index (6), which means it doesn’t cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
This is due to its high fiber content, which slows down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream.
The fruit is also rich in soluble fiber, which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the body. This can help prevent blood sugar spikes and improve insulin sensitivity.
Also, its high antioxidant content can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
This is important for people with diabetes, as chronic inflammation can worsen insulin resistance and lead to complications.
In addition to having high levels of antioxidants, this exotic tropical fruit also contains potassium which helps reduce blood pressure levels in patients suffering from hypertension.
This tropical fruit also contains an enzyme called peroxidase (7), which helps break down cholesterol into bile acids.
This helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. So, if you have high cholesterol levels, then you may want to consider adding this fruit to your diet plan.
5. Can slow the aging process
Dragon fruits contain a variety of nutrients and compounds that have been linked to slowing down the aging process
Firstly, dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, such as betalains and flavonoids.
These antioxidants can help to neutralize free radicals, which can damage cells that contribute to aging.
The fruit also contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants.
Vitamin C is also essential for collagen (8) production, which helps to keep the skin firm and elastic.
The fruit’s high fiber content can also help to regulate digestion and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
This can improve overall health and help to prevent age-related diseases.
6. Supports gut health
Dragon fruit is a good choice for people who want to improve their gut health.
It contains prebiotics (9) that help to promote healthy digestion.
The seeds contain oligosaccharides that support the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
You can also find these in bananas, legumes, and other fruits like mangoes, melons, and pomegranates.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon.
When you eat foods that contain prebiotics, they pass through your digestive tract and become food for the beneficial bacteria living there.
The good bacteria then multiply, crowding out bad bacteria and increasing their numbers throughout your body.
Dragon fruit also contains pectin and mucilage which are both known to help relieve constipation by increasing water absorption into stools, making them softer and easier to pass through the digestive tract.
7. Boosts your immune system
The vitamin C present in dragon fruit helps to support the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases.
This vitamin is essential for fighting off infections and colds because it helps the body produce antibodies that fight against illness-causing bacteria and viruses.
It also aids in healing wounds faster by repairing damaged tissue cells.
The fruit also contains several other vitamins and minerals that are important for immune function, including vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium.
These nutrients help to support the production of white blood cells and antibodies, which play a key role in fighting off infections.
The prebiotic fiber found in dragon fruit also helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
These bacteria are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, as they help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses.
8. Increases iron levels in the body
Iron is an essential mineral that helps build red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia which can be fatal if left untreated.
Therefore, finding ways to increase iron levels in the body is important for maintaining good health and preventing anemia.
Pregnant women need extra iron to make sure that their baby gets enough of it during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding mothers also need extra iron because they lose blood each time they feed their babies.
The iron content in dragon fruit can help prevent or treat anemia by increasing your body’s iron levels when needed.
This can be especially useful if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as those conditions increase your need for iron.
As well as being good for you inside out, dragon fruit contains iron which helps build healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body.
This helps keep you energized throughout the day without needing coffee or tea to help get through it!
The darker red dragon fruits contain more iron than the lighter-colored ones so if you’re looking for a boost in energy levels try adding one of these to your diet today!
9. Improves bone health
Dragon fruit can be used as an alternative to other fruits with high levels of calcium, such as figs, oranges, and lemons.
The fruit is a good source of calcium, which is an essential mineral for bone health. Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones and is important for preventing osteoporosis (10) and fractures.
It also contains phosphorus, which is another mineral that is important for bone health.
Phosphorus works together with calcium to build strong bones and teeth and also helps to maintain the pH balance of the body.
The magnesium found in this fruit also helps to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
A 2014 study showed that dragon fruit helped improve bone health by increasing bone mineral density by 10% in postmenopausal women after 12 weeks.
Dragon fruits aren’t going to send you on any new, life-changing health journey. However, it is a pretty good source of fiber and vitamin C.
It also seems to be fairly low in purine, which is great if you already have issues with uric acid or gout.
So, as long as you take it in moderation, dragon fruit can make for a great addition to any diet!