Dragon Fruit (Pitaya): 15 Benefits for Health, Skin, and Hair
We all have heard about dragons in our favourite movies or fiction books. But have you ever heard about dragon fruit? Native to central America, dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that is nutrient-rich. The texture of this fruit is a cross between a kiwi and a passion fruit and has a mild flavour. The benefits of dragon fruit make it an excellent alternative to many other fruits as it is low in calories and high in nutrients and antioxidants.
Let us know more about this superfood, all the benefits associated with it, and how to consume it. Read on!
What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is found in tropical regions worldwide and is grown on a climbing cactus called Hylocereus. This fruit has hot pink or yellow bulbs with spike-like green leaves like flames and pulp with black seeds inside.
Although it was initially grown in central and south America and Mexico, during the early 19th century, it was brought to Southeast Asia by the French, and it comes in yellow and red skin colours.
It is called dragon fruit throughout the U.S., Strawberry pear in Asia, and Pitaya in Central America. The seeds of this fruit have a nutty flavour and are described as a cross between kiwi, pear, and watermelon with a juicy and sweet taste.
Dragon Fruit Nutritional Values:
You can get the following nutrition in one six-ounce serving of dragon fruit cubes.
- 102 calories.
- 0 grams fat.
- 2 grams protein.
- 22 grams carbohydrates.
- 5 grams fiber.
- 13 grams sugars.
- 100 IU Vitamin A.
- 31 milligrams Calcium.
- 4 milligrams Vitamin C.
- 68 milligrams Magnesium.
- One gram Iron.
Benefits of Dragon Fruit:
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit:
To maintain a healthy body, a healthy diet and a proper exercise routine play an essential role. While many fruits and vegetables provide you with the necessary nutrition, dragon fruit tops the list. So let us explore more about the health benefits of this fantastic fruit.
1. Good Source of Antioxidants:
Dragon fruit has good antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin, which protect your body from free radical damage (1). It is also effective in strengthening your immune system as it is a rich source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Including heart conditions and certain cancers, you can reduce the risk of many diseases by consuming foods that are a rich source of antioxidants.
2. Boost Your Immune System:
The advantages of consuming Dragon fruit include strengthening your immune system. This is because it contains high amounts of Vitamin C. All the antioxidants promote the growth of white blood cells and kill harmful pathogens as they help maintain a robust immune system (2).
The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants present in the coloured pigments in the dragon fruit are called the betalains to protect your body from the free radicals (3).
3. Good Source of Fiber and Magnesium:
When compared to other fruits, Dragon fruit is an excellent source of fiber; for example, a single one-cup serving of dragon fruit has seven grams of fiber (4).
Fiber plays an essential role in keeping you full for an extended period and adds bulk to your stool, reducing constipation. You can also maintain a healthy weight by consuming wholesome and fiber-rich foods.
Magnesium is a mineral with powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help boost exercise performance, lower blood pressure, and decrease depression.
See Also: Top Health Benefits of Mosambi
4. Increases Your Iron Levels:
Iron is an essential mineral that carries oxygen to various parts of your body and is necessary for red blood cell formation (5). Vitamin C and Iron play a crucial role in your body’s physiological functions, and the dragonfruit is the rich source of these two compounds. Vitamin C helps build the body’s defense system by aiding in iron absorption (6).
You can fulfill the daily requirement of these essential nutrients by incorporating dragonfruit into your diet.
5. Controls High Blood Pressure:
Dragon fruit relieves high blood pressure or hypertension by improving blood circulation and relaxing the blood vessels, making it a significant health benefit. This is because dragonfruit has reasonable amounts of potassium which has vasodilating properties.
But it would be best if you were cautious when consuming dragonfruit because consuming in excess lowers the blood pressure too low because of high potassium levels. Nausea, fainting, dizziness, dehydration, blurred vision are some of the symptoms you can experience.
Caution: consult your doctor before incorporating dragonfruit into your diet if you are already on blood pressure medication.
6. Help to Regulate Blood Glucose Level:
If you want to reduce your blood sugar levels, include dragonfruit in your diet. The dragonfruits and glycemic control are dose-dependent, according to research. For example, the amount of dragonfruit you consume is inversely proportional to the blood sugar levels in your body (7).
But consuming dragonfruit in excess may induce insulin resistance as per rat studies (8). So, pay heed to portion sizes.
7. Gut Health:
The high amounts of fiber and nutritional value of dragon fruit is considered the best option for digestion. In addition, it promotes the growth of good bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in the body with the presence of prebiotic fiber present in this fruit (9).
You can also deal with conditions like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastrointestinal issues by improving your bowel movement with the help of the dietary fiber present in dragonfruit (10).
8. Low in Calories and Fat-free:
Dragon fruit is a rich source of nutrition. It is also naturally fat-free and low in calories making it an excellent snacking option for people of all ages irrespective of gender. This is because you can stay full for longer, keeping your weight gain in control.
Dragonfruit has a substantial amount of fiber, is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and is low in calories. So, if you are looking for a fat-free and low calories fruit option, dragonfruit is a good option.
See Also: Is It Safe to Eat Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy
Hair Benefits of Dragon Fruit:
All the nutrients filled in this Dragon fruit naturally offer us substantial benefits for the hair. So let us explore more about these hair benefits.
9. Help to Treat Colored Hair:
If you are looking for a natural way to treat coloured hair, Dragon fruit juice acts as an excellent agent. This juice allows your hair to breathe and keeps it smooth and healthy by keeping the hair follicles open. All you have to do is add the dragonfruit juice to the conditioner and use it on your hair.
10. Hydrates the Hair Naturally:
Hydration is essential for the healthy maintenance of your body, and the same holds for hair. Even the weakest of hair can get a boost with dragonfruit as it is a cocktail of nutrients.
This fruit is high in Vitamin A, which helps hydrate the hair naturally. It also protects your hair from external damage and strengthens the hair fibers containing minerals, Calcium, and antioxidants (11).
11. Boost Hair Growth:
Dragon fruit nourishes your scalp and hair follicles, keeping them healthy with essential nutrients promoting natural hair growth. It also keeps your scalp free from radical damage due to the presence of compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols (12).
12. Deal with Hair Loss:
The significant Dragon fruit benefits for hair are that you will deal with hair loss naturally. In addition, it helps reduce the risk of hair loss significantly by nourishing and strengthening your hair follicles with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
Dragonfruit minimizes the risk of hair loss as it contains other nutrients like zinc, Iron, potassium, B vitamins, and folate (13).
13. Increase Blood Circulation in the Scalp:
You can naturally nourish your hair follicles and scalp with the help of the minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and vitamin content of Dragon fruit. These nutrients enhance the growth of new hair follicles, promoting scalp health.
Dragonfruit also strengthens your hair protecting your hair follicles from free radical damage with the help of antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds. It also makes your hair strong and lustrous as this fruit has other nutrients like zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
Skin Benefits of Dragon Fruit:
The benefits of this nutritional fruit are not limited to health and hair. Let us go through the following section to know more about the skin benefits of consuming this fruit.
14. Reduce Signs of Anti Aging:
We all are constantly in search of natural options to deal with the early signs of aging. The dragon fruit benefits for the skin include the anti-aging properties as this fruit contains antioxidants. The skin components such as collagen and hyaluronic acid are broke down with the help of the enzymes inhibited by these antioxidants (14) (15). In addition, this wonderous fruit can prevent skin aging with the help of another potent antioxidant, Vitamin C (16).
15. Help You Get Rid of Acne:
Suppose you are looking for a traditional skincare remedy to treat acne. In that case, the Dragon fruit extracts are a perfect solution. This is because of the antimicrobial properties of the red dragon fruit peel (17). In addition, it might control the production of sebum, thereby controlling acne, although more proof is needed.
See Also: Best Benefits of Jamun Fruit
Side Effects of Dragon Fruit:
Dragon fruit is usually safe to consume, but there might be allergic reactions in some rare cases. Some of the symptoms include:
- Swelling of mouth.
However, reported cases of dragon fruit allergic reactions are very few (18).
How to Eat Dragon Fruit:
You can add dragon fruit to flavour your yogurts, smoothies, salads, jams, eat them fresh, or juice it with a blender. But when you choose a dragon fruit for yourself, keep the following things in mind and some tips to eat it.
- Choose a dragon fruit with colour spread evenly and make sure the fruit is not too soft and firm.
- Use a knife to slice the dragon fruit in half.
- You can either use a spoon to scoop the flesh or slice the meat into smaller pieces by removing the peel.
- You can use commercially available dragon fruit powder to substitute for the fruit as the powder is freeze-dried.
Dragon fruit can be a nutritious and flavorful exotic option to enhance your overall health. It is one of the popular choices among health-conscious people as it has high amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential healthy fats, high-fiber, and low-calorie. Although this fruit is safe to consume during pregnancy, it is best to consult a doctor to be safe. So, reap the benefits of dragon fruit by adding it to your diet. Don’t forget to let us know if you found this article helpful!
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in this article are for informational purposes and not a replacement for professional medical advice. It is always safe to consult a doctor or dietician before trying out anything new.
1. Is it safe to consume dragon fruit every day?
Ans: The vitamins and minerals loaded in the dragon fruit make it a perfect snack eaten every day. But consuming this fruit in high amounts suddenly and in excess can result in diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence as dragon fruit has high amounts of fiber.
2. Can Dragon fruit reduce kidney stones?
Ans: Dragon fruit helps improve the functioning of internal organs such as kidneys as it is rich in antioxidants. In addition, it helps reduces the risk of kidney stones by capturing harmful toxins.
3. Can we use the dragon fruit peel?
Ans: The dragon fruit peel contains betanin, pectin, other phytochemicals and has some nutraceutical properties. Although it has many benefits, unless the dragon peel is commercially processed, it is not edible.