Top 6 benefits of dragon fruit for a healthy living
1. Immune Booster
Dragon fruit is jam-packed with flavonoids and flu-fighting vitamin C, which is great for the immune system. In fact, it contains more vitamin C than a carrot, making the dragon fruit one of the top vitamin C foods around.
Dragon fruit also ranks high on the antioxidant list, which helps kick those free radicals to the curb. And even more support steps up from vitamin B1, B2, B3, as well as calcium, phosphorous, iron, protein, niacin and fiber teaming up to keep that immune system in tip-top shape.
The micronutrients in dragon fruit are also impressive. A study published in the Journal of Food Science observed polyphenol and flavonoid content and effects on several cancer cell lines from the extracts of the flesh and peel of the white and red dragon fruit. Both extracts revealed anticancer activity and a direct correlation between the phenolic content and antioxidant effect, suggesting that this may be a valuable ingredient in foods as well as cosmetics, nutraceuticals and also in pharmaceutical applications. All of this is because of the fruit’s immune-boosting ability, which is one of the top dragon fruit benefits.
2. Digestion Helper
We know that fiber aids in digestion and the best way to get fiber is through fruits and vegetables. Dragon fruit contains a good bit of fiber, which can help with that morning bowel movement. It can even help eliminate constipation and IBS issues.
Dragon fruit contains about one gram of fiber per 100 grams for the fresh version and about 10 grams per 100 grams of the dried version, making it a high-fiber food. To get a bit more fiber, you can even eat the skin of the pitaya.
Another reason dragon fruit benefits digestion is due to the oligosaccharides it contains. These oligosaccharides work as prebiotics, which in turn improves gut health and digestion. And that’s not all prebiotics can do.
According to a research , “the introduction of functional compounds like prebiotics in the diet seems to be an attractive alternative to ameliorate the quality of life ridden with obesity, cancer, hypersensitivity, vascular diseases and degenerative disorders.”
3. Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
I noted the fiber content and how that helps with digestion, but fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain normal blood sugar. The dragon fruit can help by preventing sugar spikes after eating high glycemic index foods.
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research found that dragon fruit had positive results on the oxidative stress on tested subjects, suggesting its consumption as beneficial in reducing some issues that may be associated with diabetes. Further research examining the way dragon fruit benefits insulin resistance on obese mice found that eating dragon fruit can help reduce the risk for diabetes and diabetes symptoms.
The same study noted above on dragon fruit benefits in relation to diabetes and oxidative stress also stated the effects that dragon fruit may have on the heart. The numbers are impressive regarding how many people die each year from cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease. It’s estimated that 175 million die annually from heart problems — about 31 percent of all deaths worldwide.
The study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research showed that dragon fruit may help decrease bad cholesterol while improving the good cholesterol, making dragon fruit an excellent cholesterol-lowering food. In addition, because it’s an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, it can help keep the heart in good shape.
And let’s not forget those little black seeds inside the dragon fruit. They’re big in delivering omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Research shows that these omega-3s and omega-6s can drop problematic triglycerides, supress the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Keeps You Looking Youthful
While antioxidants are awesome at keeping the interior of the body in good order, those amazing little antioxidants pack a powerful punch for the skin too. Antioxidants, in this case due to the vitamin C content, do a great job of keeping the skin tight and firm, which can offer a youthful appearance.
Additionally, the phosphorus in dragon fruit provides a boost in the anti-aging department. Phosphorus, an important mineral found in every cell of the body, makes up about 1 percent of your total bodyweight. Because it’s found in every cell, its effect on the repair of those cells is important to the youthfulness of our skin and prevention of premature aging.
6. Potential Cancer Prevention
Dragon fruit contains phytoalbumin, and phytoalbumin, combined with the vitamin C and also minerals it hosts, makes the dragon fruit highly valued for antioxidant properties and cancer-preventing qualities. There is yet another characteristic that may help in cancer prevention — the lycopene it contains. The lycopene, also found in tomatoes, offers the rich color, and results from studies show that it may contain “chemopreventive effects for prostate, breast, lung, liver and skin cancer.”
Another study published in Nutrition and Cancer indicates that cancerous cells had difficulty living and were significantly reduced when treated with lycopene. Ovarian cancer evaluation showed a decrease in cancerous cell numbers after lycopene treatment, and given dragon fruit’s lycopene content, it may be a potential cancer-fighting food.