Dragon Fruit: Nutrition, Benefits and How to Eat it

Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that has gained popularity in recent years.

There is evidence that it may also have health benefits, even though people primarily appreciate it for its distinctive appearance and flavor.

This article examines dragon fruit, including its nutritional value, advantages, and consumption methods.

What is dragon fruit?

The Hylocereus cactus, also referred to as the Honolulu queen, is home to dragon fruit. Its blossoms are exclusively visible at night.

The plant is indigenous to Central America and southern Mexico. Today, people cultivate it globally.

It is known by a variety of names, such as pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear.

Their bright scarlet skin and green scales, which resemble dragons, distinguish the two most common varieties, hence their name.

The most prevalent variety is characterised by white pulp and black seeds, although a less prevalent variety is available with crimson pulp and black seeds.

A different type of dragon fruit, known as the yellow dragon fruit, has a white pulp with black seeds and a yellow rind.

Despite its exotic appearance, dragon fruit tastes like other fruits. People describe it as a slightly sweet hybrid of a kiwi and a pear.

Nutrition facts

Dragon fruit contains trace quantities of numerous nutrients. Additionally, it serves as an adequate source of fibre, magnesium, and iron.

The nutritional information for a serving of 3.5 ounces, or 100 grammes, is as follows:

  • Calories: 57
  • Protein: 0.36 grams
  • Fat: 0.14 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
  • Iron: 1% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 2% of the DV

Provides several antioxidants

Dragon fruit is rich in a variety of antioxidants.

These are compounds that protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules associated with chronic diseases and aging.

A few of the primary antioxidants found in dragon fruit pulp are as follows:

  • Betalains: The pulp of red dragon fruit contains betalains, deep red pigments that significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL, and other health risk factor markers.
  • Hydroxycinnamates: Both animal and test tube investigations have demonstrated the anticancer properties of this class of compounds.
  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a diverse and extensive group of antioxidants that are associated with improved cognitive health and a decreased risk of heart disease.

A single study compared the antioxidant properties of 17 tropical fruits and berries.

Despite having a relatively low antioxidant capacity, dragon fruit proved to be the most effective in protecting specific fatty acids from free radical damage.

Potential health benefits

Dragon fruit may offer a variety of health benefits, according to animal studies.

Many of these are likely due to the fiber and antioxidant content of the product.

Researchers have shown that both the red and white varieties of dragon fruit reduce insulin resistance and fatty livers in obese rodents.

In one study, mice on a high-fat diet who received an extract of the fruit experienced a decrease in weight as well as a decrease in liver fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation. We partially attributed these changes to beneficial changes in gut flora.

Prebiotic fibre, which is present in dragon fruit, has the potential to enhance metabolic health by fostering the development of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

This fruit may improve some aspects of metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with type 2 diabetes, but not all of its effects may be advantageous.

The group that received dragon fruit juice in a 2014 study on rodents on a high-fat, high-carb diet showed improved blood sugar responses and decreased levels of certain liver enzyme markers, while another liver enzyme marker significantly increased.

An additional older study found that treating diabetic rodents with an extract from the fruit reduced malondialdehyde, a marker of free-radical damage, by 35%. Their arterial rigidity was also lower than that of the control group.

The effects of dragon fruit on type 2 diabetes in humans are inconsistent, and additional research is required to verify these beneficial effects.


Dragon fruit is generally considered to be harmless. Nevertheless, individuals may experience an allergic reaction in a few rare instances.

In two previous case studies, women who had no prior history of food allergies experienced anaphylactic reactions after consuming a fruit mixture that contained dragon fruit. Tests detected antibodies against dragon fruit in their bloodstream.

There have been only two reported allergic reactions to this fruit, but others may be allergic without knowing it.

How to eat it

Despite its intimidating appearance, dragon fruit is simple to consume.

You can consume dragon fruit in the following ways:

  • Choose a ripe fruit with a vibrant red, evenly coloured skin that yields slightly when squeezed.
  • Slice the fruit in half using a pointed knife.
  • You can either eat the fruit straight from the skin with a spoon or remove the skin and slice the pulp into small segments.

Ideas for preparing dragon fruit include:

  • Slice it and eat it as is.
  • Cut it into small pieces and serve with Greek yogurt and chopped nuts.
  • Incorporate it into a salad.

The bottom line

Dragon fruit is a low-calorie fruit that contains fewer carbohydrates and sugars than a number of other tropical fruits.

It may provide certain health benefits; however, human studies are required to confirm this.

In general, dragon fruit is exceedingly flavorful, distinctive, and can contribute to a diverse diet.

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