Health benefits of dragon fruit
Dragon fruit, commonly known as strawberry pear or pitahaya, is a beneficial tropical fruit with a distinctive, vibrant red color and shape. Dragon fruit contains a range of essential minerals and nutrients and it has health benefits for GI health and the immune system.
Dragon fruit, commonly known as strawberry pear or pitahaya, is a beneficial tropical fruit with a distinctive, vibrant red color and shape. This superfood tastes sweet and is packed with several health benefits.
Dragon fruit is readily available in the market in frozen and fresh forms, so you can buy it from your nearest superstore and include it in your diet to reap the health benefits of this fruit.
Dragon fruit contains a range of essential minerals and nutrients that play a significant role in performing several bodily functions.
Including dragon fruit in your diet is beneficial because it is:
Packed with healthy nutrients
Dragon fruit is a low-calorie fruit with many essential vitamins and minerals for your body. In addition, it also has just the right amount of dietary fiber to keep your body energized throughout the day.
The fruit also contains beneficial plant components, such as carotenoids, polyphenols, and betacyanins. These ingredients contain antioxidants and phenolic properties, which are helpful for several bodily functions.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are components that neutralize the effects of harmful free radicals, unstable molecules that impact cells and damage them, resulting in inflammation and similar conditions.
Multiple antioxidants found in the dragon fruit include:
- Vitamin C: A study indicated a link between vitamin C and cancer risks, suggesting that higher vitamin C intake may lead to lower risks of certain types of cancer.
- Betalains: Several studies found that betalains may effectively fight oxidative stress and suppress the growth of cancer cells.
- Carotenoids: The vibrant color of dragon fruit results from its beta-carotenoids and lycopene pigments. These pigments are also associated with reducing the risks of cancer and several heart diseases.
Antioxidant supplements aren’t for everyone, so doctors recommend dragon fruit as an alternative. Eating this fruit is safe and poses similar benefits.
Contains the right dietary fibers
Dietary fibers are vital for your body. They are non-digestible carbohydrates packed with lots of benefits. These include prevention of heart diseases, diabetes management, weight regulation, and resolution of digestive issues. Some studies also indicate that high-fiber diets may protect against colon cancer.
You need to include a daily dose of fiber in your daily routine to obtain its benefits. The USDA recommends that men consume 38 grams of fiber and women consume 25 grams daily.
Dragon fruit has just the right amount of dietary fiber, so even a cup of this fruit would be enough to fulfill your daily fiber needs.
That said, it’s important to keep your fiber intake moderate, as high-fiber diets are linked to causing stomach issues. Always start with low fiber doses and gradually increase your intake.
Improves gut health
Your gut has a group of diverse microorganisms and bacteria that can affect your health. Multiple studies indicate that any imbalance in your gut may lead to health conditions like asthma and cardiac diseases.
Since dragon fruit includes prebiotics, it supports the balance of your gut’s microorganisms. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that enhances healthy bacteria development in your gut. Your gut may not break these components down on its own, so healthy bacteria can help to break them down by consuming them.
Regularly taking prebiotics can also lower your risks of digestive tract infections as the compound promotes healthy bacteria growth. Moreover, prebiotics can also help treat diarrhea and relieve inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms and colon cancer.
Therefore, consuming dragon fruit may help you improve your overall gut health.
Strengthens immune system
A healthy diet assists your body in fighting infections and different health risks. Dragon fruit’s high vitamin C and carotenoid content can help you boost your immune system to make it strong enough to fight off infections. These components protect your white blood cells from the damage caused by foreign elements.
White blood cells act as your body’s defense against harmful substances, but they are very sensitive to free radical damage. Since dragon fruit is an effective antioxidant, it can neutralize the free radicals to protect your white blood cells and strengthen your immune system.
Promotes your body’s iron content
Dragon fruit’s chemical profile indicates that this superfood is rich in iron. Iron is an essential nutrient in our body that regulates oxygen transportation. It also breaks down food to keep your body energized.
A significant portion of the world’s population doesn’t get enough iron and suffers from different health issues related to iron deficiency. Therefore, it’s important to include iron-rich foods in your diet to prevent iron deficiency.
Meat, nuts, and cereals are good iron sources, but dragon fruit can be an effective alternative. Its vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron quicker.
Fulfills your body’s magnesium requirements
Your body contains an average of 24 grams of magnesium. Even though the mineral is present in such a small quantity, it is present in almost every cell. It plays a significant role in more than 600 chemical reactions taking place inside your body.
Magnesium is vital to breaking down food into energy. Moreover, it takes part in performing critical functions, such as bone formation, muscle contraction, and DNA creation.
It’s essential to keep your magnesium intake moderate, though, as higher intakes may lower the risks for heart diseases and strokes.
What is the right way to eat dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit has a thick skin that may make consuming it quite hard. However, eating this fruit, in reality, is very simple. The first step is to find a dragon fruit that is perfectly ripe.
To choose the best one, look for bright red dragon fruit and avoid buying the green ones, as they are unripe. Dragon fruit naturally has spots on its surface, but too many may indicate that the fruit is overripe.
Finally, take the fruit in your hand and ensure that it is moderately soft.
If you’re confused about how to consume it, these steps will help you out:
- First, take a sharp, pointed knife and cut it into two vertical halves.
- Now, take a spoon and scoop out the pulp of the fruit.
- Alternatively, you can cut the fruit into cubes by making vertical and horizontal lines right into the fruit pulp without penetrating the peel. Now, push the dragon fruit from the back and remove the cubes with your hands.
Dragon fruit tastes delicious when you add it to your salads and smoothies. You can also munch on them with yogurt or simply use them as a snack. The good thing is that you can easily find pre-peeled and pre-cut dragon fruit from the market.
If you have any underlying health condition or deficiency, though, it’s better to consult your doctor to determine the right dosage.