Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit with its origins in South and Central America. This cactus fruit, also known as Pitaya, is quite popular in Asia as well. The scaly and textured skin of the fruit is not edible, while the inside of the fruit, white or red with black seeds, is edible (1) (2).
There are different varieties of the fruit, with each of them being refreshingly sweet. All the variants are rich in nutrients such as protein and fiber, among others. But is this fruit safe for consumption in pregnancy? Read this MomJunction post to find out more about eating dragon fruit during pregnancy, its benefits, and risks, if any.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Dragon Fruit?
Yes. Dragon fruit is rich in calcium, dietary fiber, and magnesium, and is considered healthy for pregnant women. When you have it in limited amounts, dragon fruit is safe.
How Much Dragon Fruit Can You Eat In A Day?
One dragon fruit could weigh 300 grams or more (3). Ideally, pregnant women are recommended to take 200 grams of fruits in a day (4). So as long as you are not eating it in excess, there is nothing to worry. If you are unsure about the intake, talk to your doctor before consuming more than the recommended quantities.
Nutritional Profile Of Dragon Fruit
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), dragon fruit is cholesterol- and fat-free. The fruit contains minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium and has vitamins A and C content. Approximately 100 grams of dragon fruit serving provides 60kcal, 12.94g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 18mg calcium, 40mg magnesium, 59IU vitamin A, and 2.5mg vitamin C (5).
These nutrients in dragon fruit are beneficial for expecting mothers.
Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit In Pregnancy
Besides tasting unique and sweet, dragon fruit is also beneficial for your health.
- Prevents the risk of anemia: According to a study, consuming red dragon fruit juice had significant effects on the levels of hemoglobin and erythrocyte levels in pregnant women. Therefore, it could be helpful to treat anemia in expecting mothers (6).
- Treats constipation: Constipation can be a common problem among pregnant women. Having dietary fiber can help in flushing the toxins and maintaining overall digestive health. Dragon fruit is a good source for dietary fiber and can help ease constipation to some extent (7).
- Protects from free radicals: Pregnant women who are exposed to smoke could have a risk of delivering babies with low birth weight. A study shows that the antioxidant effects of the red dragon fruit can prevent any damage that cigarette smoke exposure can cause to babies (8).
If you’ve never eaten the fruit before but want to try it for the first time during pregnancy, it is best to know if it has any side-effects.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects Of Dragon Fruit In Pregnancy?
There are no major adverse effects of eating dragon fruit in pregnancy. But in case you experience any allergic reactions such as itching, sneezing, rashes, or a burning sensation in the mouth, then it is best to stop eating it.
Even if you don’t have any unpleasant experience, consume dragon fruit in moderation, as anything in excess could lead to certain unfavorable outcomes.
[ Read: Grapefruit During Pregnancy ]
Is Dragon Fruit Good For Gestational Diabetes?
According to Defeat Diabetes Foundation, the seeds of dragon fruit could help in regulating the blood glucose levels and hence have the potential to prevent and help manage Type 2 diabetes (1).
But there is no scientific evidence supporting this theory. So we cannot definitively say that dragon fruit is good or harmful for gestational diabetes. If you are doubtful, talk to your doctor to know whether or not you can have this fruit.
If you get the go-ahead, you can include moderate amounts of this fruit in your diet, in different ways.
Ways To Include Dragon Fruit In Your Diet
Here are a few ways to include the dragon fruit in your diet.
- Cut the inside part of the fruit either in cubes or slices. You may mix the cubes with other fruits and make a fruit salad too.
- Remove the edible part of the fruit and make a smoothie.
- You can even make jams with the flesh of the dragon fruit and enjoy with bread or pancakes.
You may add dragon fruit to your pregnancy diet in any form. There are no known harmful effects of the fruit. If you have any health conditions and are anxious about eating this fruit, discuss with your doctor about it before consuming it. And if you’ve tried the fruit and didn’t like it, never mind. You can get the vital nutrients from other fruits as well.
Have you tried the dragon fruit during pregnancy? Share your experiences about it in the comments section below.
2. Dragon fruit; University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
3. Hylocereusundatus (dragon fruit); cabi.org
4. Diet in Pregnancy and Lactation; Nutrition Society India
5. Dragon Fruit Bite Size Fruit Cubes; United States Department of Agriculture
6. A. Widyaningsih et al.; Effect of consuming red dragon fruit (Hylocereus Costaricensis) juice on the levels of hemoglobin and erythrocyte among pregnant women; Belitung Nursing Journal (2017)
7. Dragon Fruits; NYU Shanghai
8. A. Widyaningsih and W. Kristiningrum; The Effect of Red Dragon Drinking Fruit (Hylocereus Costaricensis) Against Fetal Growth in Pregnant Cigarette Rats Exposed to Cigarette Smoke (100%, 75% And 50% Dragon Fruit Juice Concentration); JOJ Nursing & Health Care (2018)
- Is It Safe To Eat Litchi During Pregnancy?
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