10 Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

By albert
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Dragon fruit, also called pitahaya, pitaya, or strawberry pear, is a tropical fruit that grows on a type of cactus. It originally grew in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, Florida, and other tropical and subtropical areas. Today, dragon fruit is cultivated in many other regions of the world.

The fruit is famous for its red peel and its black, crunchy seeds that taste like nuts. Dragon fruit has a rich profile of nutrients that are responsible for its many health benefits. In fact, in some quarters, dragon fruit is referred to as a superfood.

Dragon fruit is very rich in antioxidants, especially betalains that have the ability to fight oxidative stress and cancers, according to some studies. It is also rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, which are essential for good health. This article looks at the top 10 health benefits of dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #1: Improves Immune Function

Your immune system is responsible for fighting infections and recovery from disease. Its capability to carry out this role depends on many factors, the key among them being your intake of essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, minerals like zinc, and various antioxidants. Including foods rich in these micronutrients helps keep your immune system in tiptop working condition so that it can keep you free from illness. On the other hand, if your diet is low in these essential micronutrients, your immune system will face a lot of challenges in keeping you healthy.

Dragon fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and carotenoids, which the body can convert to vitamin A. It is also rich in minerals and antioxidant compounds. This combination makes dragon fruit a great supporter for your immune system.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #2: Improves Digestion

As stated elsewhere, the human digestive system cannot digest dietary fiber. Still, fiber is critical for healthy digestion. It improves movement of food and waste through the gut and serves as food for beneficial bacteria that live within the gastrointestinal tract. It is worth to note that friendly or beneficial gut microorganisms have many roles in the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the small intestines. Their other functions include supporting the immune system to maintain good health. To this end, men require an intake of about 38 grams of fiber daily while women require 25 grams.

Eating high-fiber foods is better than taking the fiber as supplements. Dragon fruit is rich in fiber. And although there are no specific studies to this effect, including it in your diet can help in your quest to meet your recommended daily intake of fiber.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #3: Improves Gut Health

The gastrointestinal tract begins from the mouth and terminates at the anus and is home to billions of microorganisms, including bacteria. While many of these microorganisms are harmful, some are beneficial to your health. In fact, you need bacteria to keep your gut working properly. Allergies, asthma, and some heart problems are associated with disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract such as overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria. In order for your gut to function properly, you need to eat fiber-containing foods such as dragon fruit, which provide prebiotics that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria.

Because your digestive system cannot digest fiber, the fiber in your food remains largely unchanged as it moves through the bowel. However, during this time, beneficial bacteria break down some of it for use as food so that they can grow in numbers. This improves digestion and gut health, leading to an improvement in your overall health.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #4: Rich in Nutrients

Besides being a rich source of dietary fibers and antioxidants, dragon fruits also provide protein, calories, and a number of minerals and vitamins. One hundred grams of dragon fruit contains 268 calories. This portion of the fruit can also provide 4% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein, and 11% of the RDI of both calcium and vitamin C.

One cup-serving of dragon fruit, estimated at 227 grams, can provide about 8% of the RDI of iron, 18% of the RDI of magnesium, 4% of the RDI of vitamin E, and 0% fat. These figures show that including dragon fruit in your diet can go a long way in providing a significant amount of your body’s nutrient needs.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #5: Prevents Chronic Diseases

Free radicals cause oxidative stress and inflammation that leads to cell damage. When this continues over the long term, it can cause various chronic disease like hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and premature aging. This is why you should include foods rich in antioxidants in your diet. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals and, with this, reduce inflammation and its effects including the risk of developing chronic diseases.

Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, which makes it a great addition for a low oxidation diet. Including antioxidants in the diet can also improve chronic diseases where they are already present. According to a lot of studies, antioxidant-rich foods prevent chronic diseases like cardiac disease, cancers, and diabetes.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #6: Prevents Anemia

As mentioned earlier, dragon fruit contains a significant amount of iron, which is one of the most important elements in the body. Iron is an essential component in the process of providing oxygen to the cells and tissues of the body. It also plays a crucial role in the production of energy for various body activities. If you are low on iron, or have iron deficiency, you can suffer from many health problems including iron-deficiency anemia. About 30 percent of the population does not meet its daily needs of iron. This is the reason why anemia is a worldwide problem.

Consuming iron-rich foods like dragon fruit provides your body with its needs of iron, which can prevent anemia or help in recovery from it. Adequate iron intake can also help improve overall health. Additionally, dragon fruit contains vitamin C, which improves iron absorption.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #7: Prevents Acne

Dragon fruit has been used to enhance beauty for centuries. This can be attributed to its high content of antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients which help rejuvenate hair and skin. Dragon fruit also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This is the reason why it can help in the prevention of acne and other skin problems.

Also, because dragon fruit is high in water, it hydrates skin, which keeps it feeling soft and smooth. Consuming dragon fruit regularly can also help to exfoliate your skin and get rid of toxins. Some people use it in form of a paste that they apply to skin, which they say is more effective than many popular skin masks.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #8: Prevents Birth Defects

Pregnancy requires almost double the amount of everything a woman would ordinarily take. This is because the growing fetus depends on the mother for whatever it needs. For this reason, it is essential for pregnant women to ensure that they eat an adequate and well-balanced diet. In the event that a pregnant woman does not take enough of some essential nutrients, this could lead to birth defects because the baby growing in her womb does not get the necessary raw materials for proper development.

This is where dragon fruit comes in. Dragon fruit provides both the unborn baby and the mother with iron, B vitamins including folate, and other micronutrients. Iron is essential for the prevention of anemia and hemoglobin deficiency. B vitamins such as folate are extremely important in preventing birth defects such as neural tube defects like spina bifida.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #9: Improves Vision

Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, especially beta-carotene. Antioxidants protect the body against the harmful activities of free radicals. This reduces harmful inflammation, which would lead to tissue damage and inflammatory diseases.

The eyes are very sensitive to exposure to free radicals and other toxins. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals. This protects the eyes from damage that would otherwise lead to vision problems. Dragon fruit is rich in beta-carotene, which prevents macular degeneration and the formation of cataract by fighting against free radicals. The fruit can also decrease the activity of human cytochrome P450 and prevents its growth. This protein, which is mainly found in the liver, is one of the factors that lead to congenital glaucoma.

Dragon Fruit

Health Benefit #10: Improves Bone and Teeth Health

Your bones start becoming weaker as you advance in age due to density loss. This is especially common in women after the age of 45 years. Dragon fruit is rich in both calcium and phosphorus. These two minerals are essential in forming and maintaining healthy and strong bones.

Studies show that people who consume foods rich in calcium and phosphorus have stronger bones and teeth, even as they grow old. Since dragon fruit is rich in both, it can prevent osteoporosis and other bone and teeth problems. Besides improving bone and teeth health, eating dragon fruit regularly can help keep your body healthy well into old age.

Dragon Fruit

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