Dragon fruit is everywhere these days: in smoothie bowls, diced up in salads, and even in ice cream. With its tell-tale neon fuchsia color, it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. So much so that everybody seems to be eating it! But few know the purple dragon fruit benefits. I dive deep into them below and give you a tasty recipe to try purple dragon fruit!
What’s In This Article?
What is Dragon Fruit?
I use this crazy-looking fruit in a lot of my juice recipes, but what is dragon fruit, exactly? Hylocereus undatus, the scientific name for the dragon fruit plant, is a climbing cactus hypothesized to be originally from Central America and now popular in Southeast Asia. It goes by the common names of dragon fruit, pitahaya, strawberry pear, night-blooming cereus, pitaya roja, and dragon pearl fruit (1).
Dragon Fruit Health Benefits
Not only sought out for its vibrant color, the many dragon fruit health benefits collectively are a major reason this tropical fruit has gained such great popularity. Let’s dig into these benefits:
Dragon Fruit Nutrition Facts
Starting off with the dragon fruit nutrition facts, this little fruit boasts some key vitamins and minerals, as well as being a good source of fiber.
- Calories – 57
- Fiber – 3.1 g
- Carbs – 15.23 g
- Protein – 0.36 g
- Total Fat – 0.14 g
- Magnesium – 12% RDA
- Folate (B9) – 11% RDA
- Potassium – 8% RDA
- Thiamin (B1) – 7% RDA
- Vitamin C – 7% RDA
Dragon fruit is considered nutrient-dense thanks to its combination of low calories, high fiber, and high micronutrient content.
Dragon Fruit Antioxidants
Dragon fruit antioxidants can help you combat cellular damage that may lead to disease and inflammation. Before we dig into them, let’s first review what antioxidants are and why they’re important.
Our body’s cells are under constant attack from various threats in the form of infections, toxins, and something called free radicals. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of energy production in the body, but when there are too many, they can cause serious problems (4).
They are unstable compounds that destabilize otherwise healthy cells by stealing their electrons. Why is this a problem? Free radicals damage the genetic material within cells, causing them to do a whole host of bad things in the body from encouraging bad cholesterol to stick to artery walls to causing chronic diseases, like cancer. How do we combat free radicals? By bringing in antioxidants.
Antioxidants work within the body to stabilize these unstable free radicals by giving them electrons without becoming free radicals in the process. They also help repair DNA and maintain cellular health. These substances are found in much of the foods we eat and drink. Therefore, paying attention to what we put in our mouths can really give a boost to our constant free radical fight.
Two of the most notable dragon fruit antioxidants are (5):
- Betacyanin – This water-soluble pigment is found in fruits and vegetables (like dragon fruit) (6) and has been shown to possess antioxidant properties, specifically limiting tumor cell growth and reducing cancer risk (7).
- Vitamin C – This vitamin is key to our body’s healing process. It helps protect you from infection and reduces the risk of everything from cancer to eye disease. We don’t produce vitamin C ourselves, so must get it through dietary sources like dragon fruit (8).
Dragon Fruit for Gut Health
Considered a prebiotic, dragon fruit for gut health is a great benefit of this tasty fruit. Prebiotics are sources of food for those ever-important probiotic organisms that are responsible for good gut health.
Prebiotics are able to make it all the way to your color, bypassing digestion, in order to serve as that good food source (9). Dragon fruit boosts the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, helping to reduce colon cancer (10).
There’s Lots of Fiber in Dragon Fruit
The fiber in dragon fruit is another great benefit (11). Particularly high in soluble fiber, dragon fruit may help regulate blood sugar levels thanks to its ability to slow down the metabolism of sugar in the body. It also helps with constipation by adding water to the stool, allowing it to pass easier (12).
Other benefits of dietary fiber found in dragon fruit are (13):
- Lower cholesterol levels.
- Aid in weight management.
- Reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduce the risk of death from all cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Gives You More Magnesium
One dragon fruit has over 10% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which makes it one of the few fruits with such a high concentration.
Why is magnesium important? Here are a few reasons (14):
- Reduces cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.
- Regulates various metabolic functions, like digestion and blood glucose levels.
- Maintains good bone health.
- Promotes healthy heart muscle function and rhythm.
- Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol production.
Dragon Fruit Side Effects
While considered safe to eat, there are a few dragon fruit side effects. There have been rare, isolated instances of allergic reactions reported in the scientific literature (15). These are tongue swelling, hives, and vomiting. The most common reaction, however, is having your pee or poop turn pink or red after eating red or purple dragon fruit. This harmless side effect also happens when you eat a lot of beets and is simply the fruit’s pigment temporarily coloring your metabolic waste (16).
Make Dragon Fruit Nice Cream
Now that you’ve heard all about the purple dragon fruit benefits, it’s time to try it! Here, I share a simple, tasty recipe for nice cream featuring this deliciously nutritious fruit.
For this recipe, I combine the incredible health benefits of the purple dragon fruit with two other tasty ingredients: Pineapple and Banana. Together, they add not only great flavor but also additional benefits.
In the pineapple, you get a boost of manganese, which is important for bone formation, immune response, and metabolism (17). It also provides more vitamin C, fiber, and the enzyme bromelain which is helpful for digestion.
The banana, which is a typical ingredient in many nice cream recipes, adds even more magnesium, fiber, and vitamin C, as well as potassium (18).
Try this Juicer AND Ice Cream Maker!
I made Passionately Purple Nice Cream using the Nama J2. Thanks to its sorbet attachment, it’s a juicer and ice cream maker! Read more to find out why I love this machine!
The Nama J2 has always been a great juicer since it hit the shelves, and now you can get their sorbet attachment to turn it into an ice cream maker! I use it to make fantastic nice cream (vegan, fruit-based ice cream). Simply replace the juicer screen with the sorbet one (this one has no holes), freeze whatever fruits you want to use, drop them in the hopper, and away you go. Delicious nice cream at the ready!
The same reasons that make the Nama J2 a great juicer also make it great for making nice cream. It has a huge 5 1/4-inch hopper where you load up all the frozen fruit. Just fill it up and walk away while it makes your nice cream.
Not only is this juicer easy and quick to run, but it’s also a snap to clean. Nama has engineered this machine with a limited number of parts that are super easy to clean and reassemble. Quick and easy to run and clean, what a great combination!
The Nama J2 is backed up by an astounding 15-year warranty, the best warranty in the business. I absolutely recommend the Nama J2 to anyone looking for a great juicing AND nice cream making experience. I positively love it!
Here’s the Recipe!Print
More Dragon Fruit Recipes
Get even more health benefits with these delicious dragon fruit recipes!
- Employ the power of both dragon fruit and watermelon to help you get things moving with this recipe.
- Here’s another poop-perfect recipe that also helps improve digestion, thanks to pineapple.
- Not to be outdone, try this third constipation-relief recipe featuring pears and apples.
Post a comment below if you try this recipe. We’d LOVE to hear from you!