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Dragon Fruit: Health and Nutritional Benefits – Forbes Health – Forbes

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“Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that may reduce your risk of diseases and low immune function and help to improve your health,” says Kim Shapira, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian and author of What You’re Really Hungry For: Six Simple Rules to Transform Your Relationship with Food to Become Your Healthiest Self.

Below are potential health benefits of eating dragon fruit.

1. Lowers Disease Risk and Boosts Immunity

Dragon fruit contains bioactive compounds, which are nutrients and non-nutrients that may provide health benefits that extend beyond basic nutritional value. In particular, dragon fruit contains antioxidant vitamins C and A, as well as potassium. These compounds may help prevent diseases linked with inflammatory and oxidative processes, including:

2. Aids Digestion

Dragon fruit is a “prebiotic powerhouse” that supports digestive health, says Melanie Marcus, a registered dietitian based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the wellness and communications manager at Dole Food Company.

“The oligosaccharides (carbohydrate chains containing three to 10 sugar units) in dragon fruit aren’t digested in the stomach but instead act as fuel for healthy gut bacteria,” explains Marcus. “By promoting the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, two important strains of gut bacteria, dragon fruit may help support a healthy digestive system and boosts our immune defenses.”

3. Delivers High Fiber

One 3.5-ounce serving of dragon fruit contains over 3 grams of fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The recommended daily dietary fiber intake is 28 grams per day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet and depending on a person’s gender, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

4. Boosts Hydration

In addition to containing fiber, dragon fruit is a source of hydration, both of which help with digestion and constipation, says Shapira. However, dragon fruit also contains a high amount of fruit sugar, which can lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea, adds Shapira, who notes that individual reactions to dragon fruit and other fruits can vary.

Shapira recommends eating half of one dragon fruit and waiting at least 15 minutes before eating the remaining portion. “Generally, moderation and observing personal tolerance levels can help manage any discomfort,” explains Shapira. “I always suggest starting with half of your normal portion and waiting to see how your body feels.”

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