Dragon fruit might sound like something out of Harry Potter, but this fruit is for real. It’s also loaded with health perks thanks to all of its important nutrients. Here’s a deep-dive into the seven best benefits plus tips on how to eat it 🐉.
Benefits of dragon fruit
Not sure if you’re ready to slay some dragon fruit? Here are seven reasons to dig in.
- Provides lots of important nutrients.
- Promotes a healthy gut.
- Delivers lots of fiber.
- Adds fatty acids to your diet.
- Supports your immune system.
- Improves iron levels.
- Supplies magnesium.
Dragon fruit (aka pitaya or strawberry pear) is a tasty tropical fruit. It’s known for its vibrant red, yellow, or pink skin and sweet, juicy center. Folks dig dragon fruit because it’s yummy, nutritious, and very versatile. You can find it fresh or frozen in grocery stores across the U.S.
Dragon fruit nutrition facts
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100 gram (g) serving of dragon fruit has:
- Calories: 60 kcal
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrate: 12.94 g
- Sugars (total): 7.65 g
- Dietary fiber: 2.9 g
- Protein: 1.18 g
- Calcium: 18 milligrams (mg)
- Iron: 0.74 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Magnesium: 40 mg
- Vitamin C: 2.5 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Pitaya packs a powerful health punch. Here’s a rundown of the seven best benefits.
1. Provides lots of important nutrients
While it’s low in fat and calories, dragon fruit is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. This includes:
Looking for a one-stop-shop for lots of goodness? Dragon fruit has you covered.
2. Promotes a healthy gut
Dragon fruit’s prebiotic properties can be great for gut health. Studies show that eating prebiotics on the reg can reduce your risk of diarrhea and digestive tract infections 💩.
Some studies also suggest that prebiotics can reduce your risk of colon cancer and improve inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms. But we need more research to prove that’s legit.
3. Delivers lots of fiber
Dragon fruit can help you hit your Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of fiber — which is about 25 grams of fiber a day. A 200-gram serving has almost 6 grams (not too shabby).
Fiber is great for digestive health and can also help control blood sugar levels. There’s also a chance it can lower your risk of:
- heart disease
4. Adds fatty acids to your diet
According to a 2018 study, dragon fruit is a decent source of fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests these acids may reduce your risk of:
- heart disease
- inflammatory conditions
- age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- certain types of cancer (including breast and colorectal cancer)
There’s also a chance that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can benefit your mental health. A 2016 review of clinical studies found that fish oil supplements helped improve symptoms of depression. But TBH, we need more research.
5. Supports your immune system
Dragon fruit is a solid source of vitamin C and carotenoids. These antioxidants can help pump up the volume on your immune system. Dragon fruit also boasts betacyanins and betaxanthins. These pigments can help combat free radicals and protect your white blood cells from infections.
But wait, there’s more! According to a 2018 study, the antioxidants found in dragon fruit may also help stave off inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout.
6. Improves iron levels
Unlike most fresh fruits, dragon fruit contains a decent amount of iron. That’s great news since an estimated 10 millions folks in the U.S. are iron-deficient. Iron plays a major role in oxygen transportation in your body and also helps turn food into energy.
If left unchecked, iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- pale skin
- chest pain
- swollen tongue
- irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- cracked or brittle nails
Bonus: Dragon fruit’s vitamin C content can help you absorb iron more efficiently. Woot!
7. Supplies magnesium
Dragon fruit is a solid source of magnesium, an essential mineral. A half-cup serving provides over 10 percent of the recommended daily value for adults.
Magnesium helps your bod function on fleek in lots of ways. This includes:
- breaking down food
- contracting muscles
- forming and maintaining bone
- healthy nerve function
- creating DNA
BTW, some studies show that magnesium can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. But we need more research to show this is for real.
Generally, dragon fruit is considered safe to eat. But you should stop eating it ASAP if you have allergic reaction symptoms. This includes:
P.S. You may also want to avoid dragon fruit if you have a hard time digesting seeds.
Dragon fruit can look intimidating AF. But once you get past the thick skin, eating it is super simple. Here’s how to prep your pitaya:
- Cut the fruit in half from top to bottom.
- Scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
- Use a knife to slice off any extra skin.
FYI: You might be able to find prepared fresh dragon fruit at the grocery store. You can also check to see if your local shops have it in the frozen fruit section.
Dragon fruit is a nutrient dense fruit that’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other essential good stuff. It’s a tasty addition to smoothies, playa bowls, and baked goodies. But it’s also 10/10 delicious au naturel. You can find it fresh, frozen, or in powder form in most grocery stores.