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Dragon Fruit for Pregnancy, Diabetes, Gut, and Cancer

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

dragon fruit for pregnancy diabetes weight loss

Dragon Fruit for Pregnancy, Diabetes, and Obesity: Because of the minimal amount of calories, lots of fiber, and nutrients, especially iron and vitamin C, it is one of the best fruits to eat during pregnancy and is best for obese individuals with diabetes.

What is Dragon Fruit?

Dragon fruit, also known as “Pitahaya” or “Strawberry pear” is a tropical fruit. It is produced from a cactus called Hylocereus. Dragon fruit is found in Asia, Mexico, South America, and Central America.

It is primarily a fruit of the summer season and early fall. However, because of the advancement in technology, it is nowadays grown throughout the year.

It has become extremely popular due to its huge medicinal potential. Dragonfruit has piqued the interest of various experts in recent years. It contains several phytochemicals that have incredible pharmacological activities.

It can be used as an antidiabetic, antibacterial, anticancer, and analgesic agent. The phytoconstituents are found in the peel, flesh, and seeds of the fruit. It is rich in Vitamin C, Betacyanin, and Lycopene. This fruit is said to be a nutraceutical.

red and ripe dragon fruit
Red DragonFruit

Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit: The reason it is best for pregnancy:

The nutritional value according to 6 ounce serving of dragonfruit:

Nutrient

Amount per 6-ounce serving

Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrates 22 grams
Fat 0 gram
Fiber 5 grams
Sugars 13 grams
Vitamin A 100 international units (IU)
Vitamin C 4 milligrams
Calcium 31 milligrams
Iron 1 gram
Magnesium 68 milligrams
Calories 102 kcal

Antioxidants found in dragon fruit:

Some of the main antioxidants found in dragonfruit pulp include:

  • Betalains:

    • These are found in the pulp of dragonfruit. Betalains include Betacyanins and betaxanthins, these deep red pigments have been shown to have a protective effect against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
  • Hydroxycinnamates:
    • These compounds are known to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Flavonoids:
    • This diverse group of antioxidants improves brain function and heart health.

Different Varieties and Colors of Dragonfruit:

Dragonfruit exists in three different varieties that include:

  • Hylocereus undatus:

    • Also called pitaya blanca pink/red skin with white flesh, and black seeds
  • Hylocereus costaricensis:

    • Also known as pitaya Roja pink/red skin with red flesh, and black seeds
  • Hylocereus megalanthus:

    • Also called pitaya Amarilla yellow skin with white flesh and black seeds
yellow dragonfruit
Yellow dragonfruit

Dragon Fruit for Pregnancy, Anemia, Diabetes, and More:

Because dragonfruit is high in vitamins and nutrients, as well as possibly disease-fighting antioxidants, it should come as no surprise that eating it daily can improve your health and well-being.

Here are some of the potential health benefits of dragonfruit:

Effect of Dragon fruit on the heart:

Dragonfruit can possibly lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. It could be a perfect snack that may help lower LDL (Bad Cholesterol) levels in the body. High amounts of antioxidants present in the fruit may help in improved heart health.

The phytochemicals in red dragonfruit, which include phenolics and flavonoids, have been found to protect the aorta from oxidative damage and improve lipid profiles in hyperlipidemic animals. [Ref]

Diet Plan for Lowering Cholesterol meal plan for high cholesterol
Diet Plan for Lowering Cholesterol

Effect of dragonfruit on the Immune System:

The immune system provides the ability to fight against infections. It consists of white blood cells that fight against infectious substances however they are very sensitive to oxidative damage and damage caused by free radicals.

Dragonfruit contains Vitamin C and carotenoids which serve an antioxidant role in the human body. These antioxidants prevent oxidative stress and help boost the immune system.[Ref]

Dragon fruit for Cancer Patients:

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death all over the world. Several natural substances have been known to show anti-cancer properties. Several studies prove that the phytochemicals present in dragonfruit show cytotoxic effects.

A study conducted to analyze the cytotoxic effect suggested that it is effective against PC3 (human prostate cancer cell line), Bcap-37 (human breast cancer cell line), and MGC-803 (human gastric cancer cell line).

Phytoconstituents β-amyrin, β-sitosterol, and stigmast-4-en-3-one found in dragonfruit peels have potential anticancer properties. The peels of dragon fruit contain 5 times greater amounts of polyphenols and flavonoids. [Ref]

One study conducted on the effect of dragonfruit on breast cancer suggested that dragonfruit extract causes a selective decrease in cell proliferation. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that dragonfruit extract induces an increased G0/G1 phase and a decrease in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. It also induced apoptosis in cancer cells. This study suggested that dragonfruit may have a protective effect against breast cancer.[Ref]

dragon fruit ripe
Ripe dragon fruit

Read: Cancer Diet Plan: Balanced Diet for Cancer Patients

Dragon fruit and Diabetes:

Dragonfruit is a rich source of dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber helps maintain satiety, which regulated blood glucose levels.

A study on the effect of dragonfruit on prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus suggested that dragonfruit has a preventive effect on prediabetes.

While its effect on type 2 diabetes is not significant but increased consumption suggests glucose regulation.[Ref]

Phytochemicals present in white dragonfruit are effective in decreasing blood glucose levels. The flavonoid content of dragonfruit maintains glucose by decreasing oxidative stress, inhibiting GLUT-2, and inhibition of phosphodiesterase thereby it causes insulin retention.[Ref]

keto type 1 diabetes Nutritional Ketosis Vs Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Nutritional Ketosis Vs Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Dragonfruit for acid reflux, IBDs, and colon cancer:

The gut contains millions of microorganisms, which aid in digestion. Prebiotics are the substances that promote the growth of healthy gut microbiota which then maintain healthy digestion in the human body.

Dragonfruit contains great amounts of prebiotics, that’s why it increases the number of good bacteria in the gut and prevents various disorders such as diarrhea. Dragonfruit promotes the growth of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria.[Ref]

These properties may also be beneficial in the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

Anti-microbial Activity and role in Dengue fever:

Dragonfruit peel has a potential antimicrobial effect against various microorganisms. In one study, ethanol, chloroform, and hexane extracts from dragonfruit peel were tested against bacteria. The results showed that chloroform extracts had potential antibacterial activity. [Ref]

One study that tested the effect of dragonfruit against dengue fever demonstrated positive relation between betacyanin and inhibition of dengue virus protease which in turn restrains viral replication.[Ref]

Dragonfruit for iron deficiency anemia:

Dragon fruit is one of the fresh fruits that contain iron. It contains 8% of iron according to its Daily value. Dragonfruit also supplies vitamin C which is required for the absorption of iron. It may be used to restore the iron stores in patients with iron deficiency anemia.

Dragon fruit in Pregnancy:

Dragonfruit is rich in vitamins and fibers but low in calories. It contains iron and vitamin C which are required during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

However, taking it as a medicinal product and eating it in large amounts on a daily basis is not recommended unless advised by your healthcare provider.

best foods to eat while pregnant diet for pregnant women
Best foods to eat while pregnant

Dragon fruit for weight loss:

Dragonfruit is good for weight loss since it contains a lot of fiber and water. One serving of dragonfruit (6 ounces or 170 gms) contains 5 gms of fiber and zero fats. It relieves hunger and can be used as a mid-day snack for weight loss.

How to eat dragon fruit?

Dragon fruit can be served as an excellent snack. Some of the ways to eat dragon fruit include:

  • It can be consumed raw by cutting it into small pieces.
  • It can be added to Greek yogurt along with nuts.
  • Dragon fruit can be added to fruit salads.
  • It can be consumed in the form of a smoothie or juice.

It has a slightly sweet taste like raspberries that can be thought of as a combination of a pear and a watermelon. The taste differs when the fruit is unripe.

What do you think?

Written by Diabetes Doctor

I am an Internist practicing medicine for the last fifteen years. Over the years, I have learned that medicine is not about prescribing pills. True medical practice is helping people.
I do prescribe pills as well but the best results I get are when I motivate people to overcome their problems with little changes in their lifestyles.
Since most of my patients are obese and have diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels, I am writing at dibesity.com when free.
Dibesity, I know the correct word is diabesity. Ignore this! Be with us.
Also, you can contact me directly at dibesity.com@gmail.com

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