If you have been to the market, you probably would have come across an exotic-looking, prickly fruit, which may have poked your curiosity. That’s ‘dragon fruit’ for you! Pink peel, green/yellow scales, and white flesh studded with tiny black seeds is mostly how people describe dragon fruit. While it tastes amazing, its appearance is far more dramatic than the flavor which is because of the mythical creature-inspired name.
According to health experts, it is not just an exotic fruit that looks amazing, but it is a tasty and healthy fruit that arouses the taste buds and has many health benefits as well. Today, you will see different varieties of dragon fruit in the market – some with red skin and red flesh, yellow skin with white flesh, among others. Apart from different looks, different varieties of dragon fruit have subtle variations of taste also.
If you have never tasted a dragon fruit, you must, not because everyone is doing so, but to reap its health benefits. With that in mind, we have created this post to help you understand the benefits of dragon fruit and what nutritional value it provides to you and your loved ones.
Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit can weigh anywhere around 150 grams to 600 grams depending on the variety and where it is grown. About 60% of the fruit is edible and boasts a plethora of nutritional benefits. Dragon fruit is high in fiber and antioxidant properties, including certain minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for our health. In this section, we have outlined the nutritional value of the dragon fruit with the help of tables to help you get a clear insight into its health benefits.
A 100-gram serving of dragon fruit contains:
- Calories – 60
- Protein – 2.0 gram
- Carbohydrates – 9.0 grams
- Fat – 2.0 gram
- Fiber – 1.5 grams
Considering the above table, it can be said that dragon fruit contains all the necessary nutrients required for better health. If you are looking to add a bit of freshness, taste, and nutrition to your diet, dragon fruit is something to go to.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Because it is full of nutrients and vitamins, and offers disease-fighting antioxidants, consuming dragon fruit regularly can have a positive impact on your health and well-being. According to health experts, eating dragon fruit has plenty of health benefits. Here are some of the possible health benefits you can receive from consuming dragon fruit.
1. Aids weight loss
If you are watching your waistline and trying hard to reduce your calorie intake, adding dragon fruit in your diet can help you achieve fitness goals related to your weight. While there is no superfood that quickly melts off fat and gives you a slimmer-looking appearance, dragon fruit is low in calories, which you can eat as a snack, in-between meals. Dragon fruit will keep you full and make you feel satiated for longer duration, preventing the urge to eat more. When you are satisfied, you will take in fewer calories. This is a beneficial boost to your weight loss efforts.
2. Helps ward off anemia during pregnancy
There is a link between anemia during pregnancy and premature labor, infant mortality, low birth weight, and miscarriages. Women are prone to developing anemia during pregnancy, which is caused due to iron deficiency. In a study published in the Belitung Nursing Journal, it was stated that dragon fruit increased the erythrocyte and hemoglobin level in a pregnant woman on the seventh day of the intervention. Since dragon fruit is rich in iron, researchers believe that raw dragon fruit juice could be an alternative treatment option for anemia during pregnancy. However, you must consult your primary physician before taking dragon fruit if you are pregnant.
3. Prevents inflammation
If you are suffering from chronic pain from conditions like arthritis, doctors suggest that you should eat dragon fruit. Dragon fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve you from severe pain in the joints and muscles. People with rheumatoid arthritis are advised by the doctors to include dragon fruit in their daily diet. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit might provide relief from tenderness and inflammation. According to health experts, dragon fruit can function as a natural painkiller for chronic pain symptoms. Even if it doesn’t eliminate your suffering completely, it might reduce the severity of the inflammation, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
4. Improves skin health
Dragon fruit could do miracles for your skin that your skincare products cannot. Dragon fruit has vitamin C in abundance that is extremely important for skin health. Eating dragon fruit might help reduce acne, treat dry skin, reduce fine line and wrinkles, and eliminate age spots. The antioxidant properties of dragon fruit can help flush out dirt from your skin and clean out pores, allowing your skin to breathe and glow. The best part, the vitamins and minerals in dragon fruit can help repair the damaged skin cells, which could result in a more youthful appearance.
5. Helps in lowering blood sugar levels
Doctors advise people with type-2 diabetes to include dragon fruit in their diet as it can help them normalize their blood sugar levels, allowing them to stay fuller for longer and lose weight. Diabetes can take a toll on your lifestyle and if not maintained, could prove to be severe. You must keep your blood sugar levels in check and eat healthy foods to keep them normalized. One of the symptoms of type-2 diabetes is feeling hungry, even after eating. As discussed earlier, eating dragon fruit can help you feel full while helping you manage your sugar levels.
6. Boasts cancer-prevention properties
Dragon fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as a great antioxidant. The immune-boosting ability of vitamin C can help prevent cancer. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in dragon fruit help reduce cancer-causing free radicals in the body. According to some studies, dragon fruit extract may play a vital role in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. However, more research and studies have to be conducted for determining the role of dragon fruit extract in treating cancer. Overall, eating it can help keep your immune system strong that may ward off many diseases.
7. Aids digestion
One of the biggest health benefits of dragon fruit is that it can promote your gut health, followed by healthy digestion. Dragon fruit is high in fiber content that helps in stimulating proper and healthy digestion. Per hundred gram of dragon fruit contains about 2.5 grams of fiber, which is 11% of the daily value (DV). Including dragon fruit in your diet will take care of your required daily fiber intake and will contribute to bowel regularity. With that said, it can treat and prevent constipation and other digestive health conditions.
8. Supports your immune system
Dragon fruit is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can protect your immune system from a variety of illnesses, which can include infections, flu, and common cold as well. Dragon fruit contains vitamin C in abundance that gives the immune system a boost, enhancing its ability to defend your body against foreign invaders like bacteria and germs, and free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage if not removed and eating dragon fruit can help remove free radicals from the body.
9. Helps improve cardiovascular health
One of the biggest reasons why dragon fruit is popular among people is that it helps in improving cardiovascular health in people. This means that eating dragon fruit can possibly reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack. The seeds of the fruit provide the body with necessary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for cardiovascular health. It keeps the arteries clean, allowing the blood to flow to and from the heart properly.
Best Ways to Consume Dragon Fruit
As with any other fruit, dragon fruit is best eaten raw. However, if you want to add some tang to it, you can prepare dragon fruit in many ways. In this section, we will tell you how to make the fresh and healthy –
Dragon Fruit Smoothie
It is a delicious, mint-flavored smoothie that you and your loved ones would definitely love.
- Dragon fruit – 1 complete
- Mint leaves – 15 leaves
- Yoghurt – 1 cup
- Slice dragon fruit into small pieces or take a spoon and take out scoops of the flesh (ensure that you only take the creamy white part)
- Take mint leaves and chop them into small pieces
- Now, in a blender, add yoghurt.
- Blend until no lumps are formed
- Pour the mix in the glass and serve with ice and fresh mint leaves
Dragon fruit Salad
- 1 Dragon fruit, peeled and cut in cubes
- 1 cup fresh fruit (pomegranate, apple, kiwi, grapes, watermelon)
- 1 cup lettuce leaves torn
- Dressing –
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.
- In a bowl, combine dragon fruit, other fruits and lettuce. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.
Dragon fruit is ‘one of a kind’ exotic fruit that has many health benefits. From treating cancer to improving cardiovascular health, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and more, dragon fruit is a superfood that can improve your overall health and well-being. The best part, you can eat dragon fruit any way you want – raw, smoothies, salad dressing, or in any other way you prefer.