What is Dragon Fruit Extract?
Dragon fruit is a bright, pink-colored fruit with a rough exterior and a fleshy white and red inside with black seeds. Known as Hylocereus undatus, it belongs to the cactus family and grows around the world, particularly in Southeast Asia. Dragon fruit generally thrives in warm and humid climates and has flowers that bloom for just one day. It has a sweet and refreshing taste and can be eaten as a fruit, used in cooking or mixed in cocktails and other drinks.
The fruit is low in calories, high in antioxidants, has zero cholesterol and boasts numerous other health benefits. It is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, and is an excellent natural source of proteins, fiber and omega fatty acids (x).
Dragon fruit is available as a raw fruit, an extract and a powder. The extract is readily available and offers most of the benefits of the fresh fruit itself, making it the perfect option for using in smoothies.
Dragon Fruit Extract Benefits
The health benefits of the dragon fruit include antibacterial, antioxidant and nutritional properties. Other benefits include:
Recent studies show that the fruit may contain properties that can help fight off cancer — especially colon cancer. Antioxidants such as carotene and lycopene have anti-carcinogenic qualities and help reduce the size of tumors and prevent prostate cancer (x).
Boosts Immune System
The high-level of vitamins present in dragon fruit increases immunity and accelerates the activity of antioxidants within the body. These also work to improve one’s platelet count, which can treat dengue (x).
The dragon fruit has a high content of oligosaccharides, which increases the growth of gut bacteria and aids with digestion. It also has a high fiber content, which helps with bowel movements, smooth flow through the digestive tract and the immediate release of digestive juices (x).
Dragon fruits have high levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol and no unhealthy saturated fats. This helps reduce the possibility of developing plaque in arteries and veins, as well as the chance of strokes and heart attacks.
Skin and Hair Care
The antioxidants in the dragon fruit help to decrease the toxic effects of free radicals and keep the skin looking young. It is also useful for treating acne, sunburn and dry skin. It also promotes healthy hair.
Promotes Strong Teeth and Bones
High levels of calcium in the fruit can improve bone mineral density and help prevent osteoporosis. A fruit-and-vegetable-based diet provides the body with the much-required nutrients and minerals to improve bone density (x).
Vitamins B and C in dragon fruit help maintain healthy cell membranes in the brain, improving brain function and preventing cognitive disorders.
Dragon Fruit Extract Side Effects
This extract is safe to consume in moderate quantities. However, an excess of the fruit can lead to problems such as:
Excess of Antioxidants
Excessive consumption of dragon fruit can cause an intake of too many antioxidants (x), such as beta-carotene, which could lead to lung cancer (x). Higher intake of vitamin E also increases the chances of hemorrhagic stroke.
Some people might experience an allergic reaction to the fruit, which can include an itchy throat, swollen lips and tongue or a burning sensation in the throat (x).
While the consumption of dragon fruit is known to provide relief from high blood pressure and hypertension, excessive amounts of the fruit can lead to an increase of potassium in the system that can cause hypotension. Hypotension is a condition when the blood pressure drops below average levels with symptoms like dizziness, nausea, fatigue, depression and loss of consciousness. If a person is already suffering from hypotension, it is advised to avoid consuming this supplement (x).
Dragon fruit is generally good for the digestion system due to the high level of fiber, which works as a natural laxative and ensures smooth bowel movement. Excess consumption of the fruit, however, could lead to intestinal blockage and gas, stomach pain and flatulence and improper nutrient absorption. These fibers also absorb a lot of water from the body.
Dragon Fruit Extract Dosage
When supplementing with dragon fruit extract powder, take 1 tsp (2,860 mg) daily. Try mixing it into juice, smoothies or a beverage of your choosing, and be sure to store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Of course, always talk to a medical professional before adding any supplement to your regimen.
Over-consumption of dragon fruit in pregnant and nursing mothers could lead to digestive issues for both the mother and the baby. The high levels of minerals and nutrients can also affect certain medications.
The Bottom Line
Dragon fruit is a bright, pink-colored fruit with a rough exterior and a fleshy white and red inside with black seeds and a sweet, refreshing taste. It is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus and is an excellent natural source of proteins, fiber and omega fatty acids.
The fruit provides numerous health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system, prevent cancer, aid digestion, help with weight loss, promote healthy teeth and bones and improve brain function. Dragon fruit extract is readily available and offers most of the benefits of the fruit itself, making it the perfect option for use in smoothies.