Dragon fruit is not only pretty to look at, but it’s also full of health benefits! But, does this include helping you poop? I’ve done some research and here’s what I found.
Dragon fruit can help relieve constipation by making you poop more because of its high fiber content. Dragon fruit is also known to help with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome.) That said, overeating could have adverse side effects, so it’s recommended that you don’t eat more than one cup per day.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of dragon fruit, as well as some of the known side effects and how much you should be eating to avoid them!
Reasons Dragon Fruit Promotes Healthy Bowel Movements
1. The High Fiber Content
Dragon fruit is rich in fiber, which plays a major role in the digestive process. Fiber helps to increase water in your stools, and also adds bulk to them, making them softer and easier to pass through the colon.
This makes fiber an excellent remedy for constipation and certain types of IBS. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of dragon fruit provides you with 7 grams of fiber, which is pretty impressive!
One cup of dragon fruit will give you 28 percent of your RDA for dietary fiber, which is pretty significant. This makes dragon fruit an excellent choice of food to meet your fiber requirements and combat constipation!
2. Dragon Fruit Oligosaccharides Have a Prebiotic Effect
Dragon fruit contains oligosaccharides, which are a type of fiber that act as prebiotics that promotes the growth of good bacteria in your gut such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These bacteria are known as “good” bacteria as they play an important role in keeping your gut healthy and functioning properly.
Another health benefit of prebiotics as supported by studies is helping to lower the risk of gut infections and inflammation, which includes diarrhea, bowel function disorder, IBS, and ulcerative colitis.
Another study including mice published in the US National Library of Medicine discovered that the prebiotic oligosaccharides found in dragon fruits corrected gut motility disorders as well as improve gut health.
How Much Dragon Fruit Is Safe To Eat?
According to HealthClevelandClinic, the daily recommended serving of fiber for adults is at least 25 grams.
Dragon fruit packs 7 grams in a single 1-cup serving, meaning that one cup of dragon fruit a day makes up a healthy portion of your fiber RDA.
If you don’t usually eat a diet high in dietary fiber, it is recommended that you introduce the fiber into your diet gradually, and remember to drink plenty of water. Changing your usual dietary fiber intake suddenly may result in stomach pains, bloating, cramping, gas, and may actually worsen your constipation!
Possible Side Effects of Dragon Fruit
While dragon fruit has plenty of health benefits, eating too much can have some less desirable effects! Here are some of the possible side effects of eating dragon fruit:
Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad For Stomach
Eating dragon fruit regularly but in moderation can do wonders for your stomach, and helps keep your digestive system working optimally. This is due to the dietary fibers, however, it is certainly wise to eat dragon fruit in moderation.
This is due to the fact that excess intake of dietary fibers has been found to be detrimental to our health and cause problems such as poor absorption of nutrients by the intestines, intestinal gas, blockage, flatulence, and stomach pain.
Too Many Antioxidants Can Be Damaging
While this may sound strange, it’s certainly true! Dragon fruit is packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C and carotenoids, that are well-known for their health benefits.
These antioxidants found in the dragon fruit help to combat free radicals and stabilize them, which prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, which lowers the risk of various types of cancers. They also help to eliminate toxins from the body which puts less pressure on the liver and kidneys, allowing them to function optimally.
As per a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, it was discovered that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements in large doses for a long period of time were more likely to develop lung cancer compared to those who did not take the antioxidant.
Another study showed that a high intake of vitamin E increases the risk of hemorrhagic strokes! The reasoning behind this could be due to the way antioxidants interact with the cells in our bodies.
In smaller quantities, they target the free radicals responsible for causing damage to our bodies. In larger quantities, if there are not enough free radicals, they may start to target healthy cells and cause oxidative damage rather than fix it. Crazy, right?
Some People May Develop Allergic Reactions
Despite dragon fruit having so many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for most people, not all people enjoy these benefits equally. This is because some people may be allergic to this fruit, and should Avoid it as much as possible.
People with allergies to dragon fruit may experience the following symptoms:
- swollen lips and tongue
- itchy throat
- burning sensation in the mouth or throat
If you do feel strange after eating dragon fruit, you may possibly be allergic!
May Interfere With Diabetes Medications
Eating dragon fruit regularly is found to be very good for diabetic patients, as well as people at risk for diabetes. This is due to the dietary fibers found in the fruit, as they reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and this prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
Eating 100 grams of dragon fruit provides 8 grams of sugar which are a combination of fructose and glucose. This fruit is considered a medium sugar fruit, but the carbohydrates present in dragon fruit get broken down quickly for usable energy, which balances out the sugar.
With that being said, eating too much dragon fruit if you are diabetic may cause your blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low, and this increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia can cause the following symptoms:
- mental confusion
- tingling lips
If you are diabetic and already on medication for it, these effects may interfere with the medication and may even worsen the situation, so be careful.
Does Dragon Fruit Cause Diarrhea?
Since you get two types of dragon fruit, yellow and red, it can be assumed that there may be some small differences. But, what does this mean for your stomach?
The Yellow Dragonfruit/ Pitahaya
This type of dragon fruit is especially sweet, crunchy and delicious! The oil from the seeds, however, are said to have a laxative effect. It should not result in diarrhea, especially if you eat the fruit in moderation.
Eating an entire fruit may be a shock to the system, and this may result in a laxative effect or watery stools.
The Red Dragon Fruit
The red dragon fruit is characterized by a bright red coat with inner white flesh and lots of smaller seeds. In terms of its effect on digestion, it does not actually differ much from its yellow counterpart.
The main difference between the two is that the yellow one is much sweeter in taste, which makes it a more popular choice.
Dragon fruit, regardless of the color, can help promote a healthy bowel movement. However, it should not result in diarrhea so long as you eat it in moderate quantities.
When is the best time to eat dragon fruit?
The best time to eat dragon fruit is 30 minutes either before or after tour meal. If you eat it straight after, you may experience indigestion and your body won’t receive the essential nutrients it needs. Diabetic patients should wait at least an hour before a meal and two hours after to have the fruit.