No one knows why dragon fruit takes its English name from a mythical fire-breathing beast. Perhaps it’s because of the fruit’s bright pink colour, or how the outer petals look like flames. Either way, dragon fruit is a truly unique exotic fruit.
Many foodies love dragon fruit because it’s beautiful. Slice dragon fruit open and inside are tiny black seeds encased in a smooth white oval, bordered by bright fuchsia skin.
In this article, we’ll explain what dragon fruit is and where it comes from. We’ll go through dragon fruit’s health benefits and nutritional profile, so you can discover how this fruit might serve you. Finally, we’ll advise of any side effects.
What is dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit is grown on the cactus known as the Honolulu Queen. Although native to Central America, dragon fruit now extends across the world, including in Vietnam, the world’s largest exporter.1
Health benefits of dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is packed full of health benefits, including:
Protects the body from premature ageing
Free radical damage is one of the leading causes of ageing and a significant risk factor for developing age-related diseases.2 Dragon fruit contains many potent antioxidants which effectively combat free radical damage.3
Promotes liver health
Dragon fruit combats insulin resistance. This medical problem affects hormone regulation and blood sugar and can cause liver damage. It can also reduce liver fat, improving the health of the organ.4,5
Healthy gut bacteria development
Emerging science shows that a healthy gut likely improves the health of the entire body and mind.6 Dragon fruit contains prebiotic fibre which encourages good gut health.7
Promotes eye health
Dragon fruit is relatively high in beta-carotene.8 This compound protects the eyes against the degenerative effects associated with ageing.9
Dragon fruit nutritional value
A 170g portion of dragon fruit contains10:
|% of RDA*||5.1%||5%||9.7%||8.5%|
Dragon fruit is rich in iron, providing around 8% of your daily allowance of the mineral. Iron is essential for health and wellness; without it, you can develop anaemia, which causes fatigue, apathy, and irritability in adults. Children with anaemia can suffer from stunted growth.11
Dragon fruit provides 18% of your daily recommended magnesium. Magnesium helps our glands release the correct hormones to maintain bone health, and also helps our body expend the energy we acquire from food.12
One portion of dragon fruit will also supply around 8% of your daily recommended vitamin C.
Dragon fruit side effects
Allergic reactions to dragon fruit are infrequent, and an allergic response typically occurs when dragon fruit is eaten with a more allergenic fruit, like kiwi.14
If you experience throat, chest, or mouth discomfort after eating dragon fruit, stop eating the fruit and consult with a medical professional.
Last updated: 23 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal