Dragon fruit or pitaya is a colorful tropical fruit native to South and Central America. It contains several nutrients, such as protein and fiber, and tastes refreshing and sweet. You may consume dragon fruit in pregnancy. However, before adding it to your diet, consult your doctor since isolated cases of dragon fruit allergy have been reported.
There are several varieties of dragon fruit, but all of them have scaly and textured outer skin and soft, red, magenta, or white-colored edible flesh with tiny black seeds embedded in it (1). You can pick any variety once your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
Read on as we tell you more about whether it is safe for pregnant women to consume dragon fruit, its nutritional value, possible health benefits, side effects, and ways to include it in your diet.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit contains sugars, carbohydrates, calcium, dietary fiber, and sodium, and is believed to be 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 average-sized dragon fruit could weigh 350 to 400 grams (2). Ideally, pregnant women are recommended to take at least 200 grams of fruits in a day (3). 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 cholesteroliXA waxy substance essential for the production of hormones and digestion of fatty foods and fat-free. A 100 gram serving of dragon fruit might provide you the following nutrients that could help your pregnancy needs.
|Nutrient||RDA (4) (5)||Per 100g of dragon fruit (6)|
|Calories||1800 – 2400 calories||264kcal|
These nutrients in dragon fruit are beneficial for expecting mothers.
Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit In Pregnancy
Besides tasting unique and sweet, dragon fruit might be beneficial for your health.
- Prevents the risk of anemiaiXA condition where there is a lack of blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues : According to a study, consuming red dragon fruit juice had significant effects on the levels of hemoglobin and erythrocyteiXRed blood cells containing hemoglobin and found in the blood and bone marrow levels in pregnant women. However, there are just limited studies about this benefit (7).
- Provides relief from constipation: Dragon fruit can be a good source of dietary fiberiXAlso known as roughage, a kind of carbohydrate that does not digest but helps in relieving constipation (6), and might help ease constipationiX A condition in which a person passes stools less than three times a week and may have difficulty in completely expelling waste from the rectum to some extent. Having dietary fiber can help in flushing the toxins and maintaining overall digestive health.
- Protects from free radicals: A study shows that the antioxidant effects of the red dragon fruit could prevent any damage that cigarette smoke exposure might cause to babies (8). Pregnant women who are exposed to smoke could have a risk of delivering babies with low birth weight.
If you’ve never eaten the fruit before but want to try it for the first time during pregnancy, it is good 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 not allergic to dragon fruit, you must eat it in moderation, as anything in excess during pregnancy may lead to unfavorable outcomes.
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 might 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 diabetesiXA condition marked by high blood sugar during pregnancy . 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 may even make jams with the flesh of the dragon fruit and enjoy with bread or pancakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I drink water after eating dragon fruit?
Drinking water after consuming dragon fruit is not known to have any side effects. Thus, you may consume some water after consuming dragon fruit.
2. Can dragon fruit be eaten daily?
You may include dragon fruit in your daily diet in moderate amounts. Studies suggest that dragon fruit may help combat stress and inflammation disorders, which could benefit expecting mothers (10).
If you have any health conditions and are anxious about eating this fruit, discuss it 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 vital nutrients from other fruits as well.
Infographic: Possible Health Benefits Of Eating Dragon Fruit When Pregnant
Dragon fruits are tropical fruits with a rich nutrient profile. They are mostly known for their unique appearance and taste. Also, they have several health benefits in store for pregnant women. So, look at the infographic below to learn about some of the health benefits these fruits have on pregnant women.
Have you tried the dragon fruit during pregnancy? Share your experiences about it in the comments section below.
2. Hylocereusundatus (dragon fruit); Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International
3. Diet in Pregnancy and Lactation; Nutrition Society India
4. Lisa S. Brown; Nutrient Requirements During Pregnancy; Jones and Barlett Publishers
5. Eating right during pregnancy; NIH (2018)
6. Dragon Fruit (Branded); Basic report: United States Department of Agriculture
7. 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)
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)
9. Ying Jun Chang; Antiviral activity of betacyanins from red pitahaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) and red spinach (Amaranthus dubius) against dengue virus type 2 (GenBank accession no. MH488959); NCBI (2019)
10. Paweł Paśko et al; Dragon Fruits as a Reservoir of Natural Polyphenolics with Chemopreventive Properties; NCBI (2021)