If you love fruits, you would want to try out the exotic variety out there.There’s one I highly recommend and that’s dragon fruit. And let me assure you this fruit doesn’t carry any tales from the East Asia. I will tell you more about its origin later, but before that, I must tell you that there are numerous health benefits of dragon fruit you never knew .
At least I know of at least 27 incredible dragon fruit benefits in my diet.
Scroll down to learn about them!
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Scientific Name—Hylocereus undatus
Other Names—Pitaya, Moonlovers, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, Conderella plant
Pitaya or dragon fruit, as it is more commonly known as is a fruit native to South America. Over time, its cultivation has spread to South Eastern Asia as well, and it is quite a common fruit in the countries of China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The dragon fruit gets its name from the way its peel looks – like the skin of a dragon, yellow or red with green scales.
Although its availability all over the world is pretty limited, its popularity is gaining traction. Commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, the dragon fruit is one of those exotic fruits that offer a multitude of benefits for your skin, hair, and health.
If you take a close look at this fruit, and you will know why it was nicknamed dragon fruit. Its skin has scales and colors similar to that of a Chinese dragon—fiery red, yellow and green.
The unique thing about this particular cactus is that the pitaya flowers bloom overnight and usually wilt by the morning. They rely on nocturnal pollinators such as bats or moths for fertilization. Although the flower dies, the plant gives away to a fruit approximately six times every year. The peak season is between Summer and early fall.
What are dragon fruit varieties and what does dragon fruit taste like? There are basically two varieties of this incredible fruit—one with white flesh, other with red flesh (red dragon fruit). Both these varieties can have a red or yellow skin (that bears a slight resemblance to pineapples). They have a cluster of small, black and edible seeds, and the fruit has a flavor that stands somewhat in between a kiwi and a pear, but with a crunchy texture.
Now let’s examine the nutritional value of dragon fruit.
This fruit has a surprising number of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carotene, and proteins. They also have zero complex carbohydrates and thiamine that assist in the easy breakdown of food in our system. Dragon fruit also has a phytochemical captin that is essential for a healthy heart.
Is Dragon Fruit Good For You And Why?
Benefits of dragon fruit for skin, hair health are surplus. Here you will learn what is dragon fruit good for.
- Fights Signs Of Aging
- Treats Acne
- Soothes Sunburned Skin
- Promotes Skin Health
- Provides Essential Moisture To Dry Skin
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Helps With Stomach Ailments
- Lowers Blood Sugar
- Improves Cardiovascular Health
- Cuts Low Hemoglobin Risk
- Helps In Weight Management
- Prevents Cancer
- Prevents Congenital Glaucoma
- Boosts Immunity
- Helps Suppress Arthritis Pain
- Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy
- Prevents Renal Bone Disease
- Stronger Teeth And Bones
- Is Good For Dengue Patients
- Repairs Body Cells
- Improves Appetite
- Improves Vision
- Boosts Brain Function
- Cures Respiratory Disorders
- Healthy Snack Option For Kids
Skin Benefits Of Dragon Fruit
This strange looking fruit is the answer to all your skin woes. It helps treat even the serious cases of sunburns and acne, making your skin like never before.
Here’s how you can incorporate dragon fruit in your daily skincare regime:
1. Fights Signs Of Aging
Wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, dullness—all these signs appear when your skin starts aging. It’s an embarrassing phase that can make you seek refuge in cosmetic brands that make tall claims.
But why trust a chemical solution when you have a natural remedy in hand?
Aging is caused by cellular damage done by the free radicals loitering in our body. While this is a natural process (you are bound to get old one day, fellas), its untimely attack is what makes us worry this much. Who would like to look older than they actually are? Absolutely no one. And this is where natural ingredients like dragon fruit come into play.
Use the following face pack once every week to get tighter and fuller skin devoid of any wrinkles and lines.
What You Need
- 1/2 dragon fruit
- 1 tablespoon yogurt
What You Have To Do
1. Scoop out the pulp of the dragon fruit and make a smooth paste from it.
2. Add the yogurt to the paste.
3. Apply the pack to your face and neck, and keep it on for 20 minutes.
4. Rinse it off with lukewarm water. Pat dry with a soft towel.
5. Repeat this process once a week for two months to get rid of all those signs of aging.
[ Read: Nutritious Foods To Fight Aging ]
2. Treats Acne
Acne—Another gift from oily skin that gets tagged along in the early years of puberty, sometimes not leaving you until you turn thirty. It’s annoying really, but mourning over the unexpected pop-outs is no solution, neither is going after one market product to another.
Here’s how you can use this amazing fruit for your pimples.
What You Need
- ¼ dragon fruit
- 3-4 cotton balls
What You Have To Do
1. Scrape out the pulp of the dragon fruit, and mash it into a smooth paste using a fork.
2. Using a cotton ball, dab it on the affected area. To apply it on another area, use a fresh cotton ball so that you don’t spread the bacteria.
3. Rinse off with lukewarm water after 20 minutes. Let it air dry.
4. Repeat this process twice every week for a flawless and acne-free skin.
3. Soothes Sunburned Skin
While basking in the warmth of the precious sun is a pleasant treat, its unprotected acquaintance can cause severe blisters. In such cases, a pack made of dragon fruit can help soothe the redness and inflammation.
As mentioned earlier, dragon fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. A combination of vitamins E and C has been proven to protect your skin against UV rays and soothe sunburns (4).
What You Need
- ¼ dragon fruit
- 1 vitamin E capsule
What You Have To Do
1. Scoop out the pulp of the dragon fruit and mash it with a fork to make a puree.
2. Puncture the vitamin E capsule and add it to the dragon fruit.
3. Apply the pack to the sunburned area. Keep it on for 30 minutes for it to be effective.
4. Rinse it off with cold water and let it air dry.
5. Use this pack every alternate day until the symptoms subside.
4. Promotes Skin Health
Attaining a healthy and glowing skin is no longer a tough task. Just keep a watch on what you eat and exercise more, and you will witness a change for yourself.
Adding dragon fruit to your diet too can do a lot good to your skin.
Drinking one glass of tangy dragon fruit juice is a good way to start your mornings. It will not only make you healthy but will also help release all the toxins from the body, leaving behind a glowing skin.
This fruit has a very high antioxidant content which works well in scavenging the free radicals, saving you from the sagging and dull skin. Additionally, dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C that helps brighten the skin.
5. Provides Essential Moisture To Dry Skin
Dragon fruit also has an incredibly high water content (a whopping 90%) which is essential in providing hydration to your skin, especially when you have dry skin (5).
So make it a point to include dragon fruit in your diet during winters to save yourself from the perils of the season.
Hair Benefits Of Dragon Fruit
Strong and healthy hair is not that easy to attain and maintain. Trust me; I tried and failed.
But that was when I was busy experimenting with almost every new brand in the market after paying heed to the words of almost every other person. Sounds familiar? Then you must read what I did next…
I continued the practice leading that did more harm than good until I discovered this wonder fruit. Agree that the fruit costs more than any other fruit, but it’s far lesser than any of your cosmetic products. If you are looking forward to know what are the benefits of dragon fruit for your hair, Watch out?
6. Treats Colored Hair
Trends always have a great impact on our life. Fashion, accessories, footwear, gadgets—we choose these based on what’s in vogue, right? And Same is the case with hair color too.
Remember wanting those Shakira blonde streaks back in the mid-2000s? Or the bottom half dye of Kylie Jenner that hit the trending chart in 2014?
But with every hair color comes a lot of care. From fading to damage and dryness, unattended colored mane can bring about a ton of hair troubles. And who is to deny the side effects posed by the handful of chemical compounds fed to your hair roots?
The chemicals that lend your hair color also leave it dry and dull. Using dragon fruit for your hair can mitigate some of the damage done.
Dragon fruit is rich in nutrients, which is why it works really well on hair that has been colored or chemically treated (6).
What You Need
1 dragon fruit
What You Have To Do
1. Scoop out the flesh of the dragon fruit and process in a blender to make a smooth paste.
2. Apply this paste to your hair and scalp.
3. Keep it on for 15-20 minutes, and wash it off with a mild shampoo.
4. Repeat this process once a week and see the change yourself.
7. Promotes Healthy Hair
As explained earlier, dragon fruit can bring in health and shine to your dull and lifeless hair.
All you need is to become a devoted and loyal dragon fruit juice drinker. It might be a bit tangy and different, but nothing comes easy in life, right?
Not a big fan of exotic drinks and fruits? No problem, we have a solution for you too. Simply apply some dragon fruit pulp to your hair and scalp. Yep, just like a hair mask. It might be a little bit runny and gooey, so wearing a shower cap is the best solution for making the mask stay till the required time. Oh yeah, keep it on your head for at least 20 minutes and then wash it off with plain water at first. You can use a mild shampoo later. No need to use this mask every time you wash your hair, though doing it once a week is fine too. Repeat this process for a few months and you will see a drastic change in your hair texture.
Alternatively, you can make use of that dragon fruit juice as well. It works the same as the pulp.
Why it works?
Dragon fruits, especially the red variety, contain abundant antioxidants and enzymes that can make your hair smoother and healthier.
[ Read: Foods For Healthy Hair And Scalp ]
Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit
After beauty comes health. I know this topic technically should be on the top, health comes first as they say, but the list is quite long and descriptive and nothing you ever expected the humble dragon fruit to do.
So without further ado, I will start with this surprising list of dragon fruit health benefits. I bet it will make you love it even more.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
Okay, what do you think is the most common disorder in today’s time?
No idea? Well, let me give you a hint; it is related to lifestyle and bad food choices.
There you got it. It is high cholesterol. I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I tell you that more than 39% of the world population is under its sharp claws. The rate is even higher in women; 40% to 37% of the male population. It is also said to cause approximately 2.6 million deaths every year.
Sounds scary, right?
But no worries, certain lifestyle changes and including certain fruits and veggies in your diet can save you from this disorder. Dragon is one of the most trusted ones.
And lowering cholesterol levels doesn’t mean totally cutting off on all the fats. In fact, some fats are absolutely essential for proper function of our body system, just like unsaturated fats. Dragon fruit seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids that help lower cholesterol (7).
All this, with the addition of abundant antioxidants, make dragon fruit a good weapon to fight dangerous levels of LDL.
9. Helps With Stomach Ailments
This special fruit can help in curing several stomach ailments such as indigestion and constipation without harming you.
Dragon fruit is rich in fiber and has high water content, which makes it ideal for people suffering from constipation (8). They help improve our body’s bowel movements by facilitating the proper passing of digested food through the tract. The fiber present also helps bulk up the stool, further helping in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
10. Lowers Blood Sugar
After cholesterol comes another scary disease, diabetes. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can make you do serious sacrifices—‘no sugar’ and ‘no carb’ diet. This phase can be particularly painful if you have a sweet tooth like me.
Thankfully, there are several fruits which are helpful in keeping your blood sugar level from reaching the ‘danger mark’ so you can enjoy your life without any deprivation.
In fact, several studies have demonstrated that the dragon fruit can actually help regulate the blood sugar levels in diabetics.
But, what are dragon fruit benefits for diabetes?
This is simple. Dragon fruit is a rich source of polyphenols, carotenoids, thiols, tocopherols, and glucosinolates, all of which help lower blood sugar (9). Additionally, they have a high fiber content, which helps inhibit the sugar spikes that happen after every high glycemic index meal.
One study published in the journal of Pharmacognosy Research showed that dragon fruit also has a valuable effect on the oxidative stress from aortic stiffness which is commonly seen in the diabetics.
11. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Eating dragon fruit can help in keeping your heart healthy.
The first reason comes in the form of point No. 8, the cholesterol factor (10). It also controls the oxidative damage caused by free radicals and reduces the stiffness of arteries, which lowers the risk of a heart attack, a point that we already discussed in the previous point (11).
Additionally, this fruit is rich in the correct amount of monounsaturated fats that is essential to keep your heart in a healthy shape.
12. Cuts Low Hemoglobin risk
Anemia, a common disorder amongst women, should never be ignored. While you may think less about the fluctuating levels of your hemoglobin, dangerously low levels can even lead to kidney failure.
Dragon fruit is a good option to reduce the chances of anemia.
It contains some iron, meeting approximately 8% of our daily iron requirements. On top of that, dragon fruit has plentiful vitamin C, an agent that enhances our body’s ability to absorb more iron. So what are you still waiting for, go on, test this incredible fruit.
13. Helps In Weight Management
Weight watchers, this point is especially for you.
We know and deeply understand the whole concept behind bringing in a change of taste on our regular meals, without compromising on the weight factor. Obviously, it’s a big deal to stay loyal to one or two diet plans all throughout your fat loss regime, and most of us really can’t stay loyal to it. Two words—repetitive and boring.
Add some spark to your weight loss diet plan by adding dragon fruit or dragon fruit tea to it.
Apart from being lip-smackingly delicious, this fruit is also considerably low in calories (60 calories in every 100 gram), which makes it a perfect replacement for your regular fruit diet. Additionally, this fruit is approximately 90% water and has a high amount of fiber. This property makes you feeling full for a longer period, preventing overeating (12).
14. Prevents Cancer
It might sound pretty far-fetched, but studies have shown that dragon fruit has the ability to curb the multiplication of dangerous cancer cells.
Dragon fruit is rich in an enzyme called lycopene, in addition to the essential vitamin C and carotene, which is said to have anti-carcinogenic qualities (13). They together help prevent the formation of tumors.
Additionally, the peels of the dragon fruit are full of polyphenols, chemicals that may protect us from certain cancers.
[ Read: Healthy Foods To Prevent Cancer ]
15. Prevents Congenital Glaucoma
One published study has shown that having dragon fruit can help prevent congenital glaucoma.
It stated that this fruit has the power to inhibit human cytochrome P450, a protein usually found in the liver, and can help proper functioning of lungs and kidney. This protein is also linked to the possibilities of congenital glaucoma (14).
16. Boosts Immunity
The immunity boosting property of dragon fruit is a given because of its high vitamin C content.
Dragon fruits also help stimulate the activity of other antioxidants, and the presence of several essential and strong vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin B1, pytoalbumin, calcium, phosphorus, iron makes it an even powerful weapon against any bacterial and viral attacks.
17. Helps Suppress Arthritis Pain
Arthritis often leads to serious pain, irritation and immobility, all due to its direct effect on our joints. Thankfully, several fruits and veggies can help you fight these ailments, including our fruit of the day.
In fact, dragon fruit has a huge hand in easing arthritis pain that it often dubbed as the ‘anti-inflammatory fruit’ (15).
So start including this amazing fruit in your daily routine to bid farewell to arthritis pain within no time.
18. Is Good During Pregnancy
Expecting mothers should most definitely include dragon fruit
in their diet. Have patience, we have a long list on what makes this fruit a valuable addition to the pregnancy diet.
This fruit has iron essentials required for the production of red blood cells (RBCs). If the present disturbing trend is any indication, six in every ten women tend to have some anemia experience during her nine months. Dragon fruit, which is a source of iron, is a good way to reduce the dropping hemoglobin levels. And not only the mother, this is also essential for the growing fetus as RBCs also have a big role in providing them with the much-needed oxygen and nutrients.
Next, comes the presence of carbohydrates. You might know this, but a ‘would be’ is needed to have as much as carbs as possible. It helps provide the much-needed energy boost to the mothers.
Another essential requirement for pregnant women is folate. This vitamin, apart from assisting in the formation of RBCs, help prevent the baby from the neural tube defects.
The presence of high content of fiber helps prevent the common digestion troubles during pregnancy.
All in all, introducing dragon fruit to expecting mothers is a great idea. Don’t you think?
19. Prevents Renal Bone Disease
This particular disease is associated with kidney failure wherein the bones start becoming weak and fragile. This is because a weak kidney or renal system cannot activate vitamin D to absorb calcium, which is most essential for the maintained strength of the bones.
Having dragon fruit is a good way to prevent this pretty scary disease as it is high in calcium. Every 100 grams of this fruit contains 8.8 grams of calcium, which is a good amount to help reduce this bone disease.
20. Stronger Teeth And Bones
Dragon fruit is rich in calcium and phosphorus, the most essential nutrients for strong bones and teeth.
Both these nutrients are highly co-dependent on each other, which means that having a calcium-rich diet alone can’t fight serious bone and teeth disorders. This is why dragon fruit is a good solution; it literally provides you best. It helps increase the bone density and mass while strengthening the roots of the teeth.
21. Is Good For Dengue Patients
Those suffering from the vector-borne disease like dengue see a serious dip in their platelet count, which can even cause death if not treated in time.
While a normal person has a platelet count of 150,000-450,000 for every microlitre of blood, dengue patients can have as little as 10,000.
The primary function of these platelets is to stop the bleeding by clotting the blood vessels injuries, and their depletion can cause hemorrhage.
Don’t worry; you can increase your platelet count by simply adding some special fruits and vegetables in your diet. Dragon fruit helps improve the platelet count in dengue patients due to its strong antioxidant properties.
22. Repairs Body Cells
Dragon fruits have special proteins and enzymes that can help our body in regenerating and repairing cells.
This property comes handy during the treatment of burns and injuries. And trust dragon fruit for its impressive healing properties.
23. Improves Appetite
Don’t feel like eating?
It might be because of certain diseases and disorders like fever and anemia that just killed your appetite. Good news, a certain fruit can bring back your desire to eat and enjoy.
Dragon fruit helps treat stomach ailments, further increasing your appetite. On top of that, the heavenly odor will certainly lure you.
24. Improves Vision
Those complaining of blurry vision and pain in the back of their eyes should include dragon fruit in their diet.
This fruit is a boon for your eyes—courtesy the presence of beta-carotene and other essential plant pigments. These elements can protect our precious orbs from the harmful effects of free radicals, further preventing eye diseases like cataract and macular degeneration.
25. Boosts Brain Function
Undoubtedly, brain holds the top position on the list of vital organs in the body. Therefore, its proper working is most essential for the proper functioning of the rest of our organs.
Dragon fruit, with its ability to boost the RBC production in the body, contains essential vitamins and minerals that can protect our precious brain from any damage. These nutrients also promote healthy nerve function, further boosting our brain function.
26. Cures Respiratory Disorders
Respiratory disorders such as asthma or a cough, caused by the common flu can be annoying to deal with on a daily basis. Seriously, who likes a blocked nose, or troubled breathing which generally arrives with the winter season?
The solution is vitamin C, my friend. And dragon fruit, being super-high in this essential nutrient, automatically qualifies to be the most trustworthy choice for beating respiratory disorders. Additionally, vitamin C can also keep the loitering infections at bay.
27. Healthy Snack Option For Kids
The next time you run out of ideas for sending healthy snacks in your kid’s dabba, think of dragon fruit. Not only is it a healthy option but tasty too.
Selection And Storage
Dragon fruit is not available easily. As its cultivation is limited to tropical and subtropical areas, it needs to be imported by other countries.
When selecting a dragon fruit, look for uniformity in color, and avoid the ones that have spots or have started browning. Also, see if the fruit has filled out properly. How to store dragon fruit? Dragon fruit should be stored in the refrigerator, where it stays fresh for two to three weeks. It should be stored in a cool place, else it may rot.
How to eat dragon fruit? The most popular way of eating dragon fruit is by cutting it in half, and eating it right out of the rind.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition Facts
Dragon fruit, which is a rich source of nutrients including vitamins C and B, iron, calcium, and potassium, is extremely beneficial for our health.
|Nutritive value per 100 g of Dragon|
A Word Of Caution
Every natural substance has a flip side, and this is also true for our precious dragon fruit.
Here are a few dragon fruit side effects which when ignored can cause serious damage.
- First of all, dosage is the key. Avoid over consumption of dragon fruit as it contains fructose, which can add flab to your body and come in the way of your weight loss goals.
- Avoid having the outer skin of this fruit, as it may contain pesticides which can harm your health.
And that’s it. Keep these pointers in mind, and you will do well.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How many calories in dragon fruit?
One cup of dragon fruit contains about 91 calories which is a fair amount if you want to use it for weight loss.
How to peel dragon fruit?
The easiest way is to cut the fruit into two halves and then scooping out the flesh with the help of a spoon.
I understand how confusing it is to choose the perfect food item, amongst the limitless and promising possibilities offered by the grocery stores and supermarkets. I hope this article convinced you to pick this incredible exotic fruit seeing the plethora of health and beauty benefits of dragon fruit.
Now you know what are the benefits of eating dragon fruit. So, would you consider adding this amazing fruit to your diet? Share your opinion in the comments section below.
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