Dragon Fruit in Pregnancy: Side Effects And Benefits

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Dragon Fruit in Pregnancy Side Effects And Benefits

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey for every woman. Most of you may have food cravings and aversions, which is considered a classic pregnancy symptom. The cravings could be for certain desserts, specific flavours, or even fruits. Stimulated by its vibrant appearance, dragon fruit can arouse a feeling of craving in you. However, being on a pregnancy journey you tend to be extra cautious, and want the best for your little one! 

Making conscious food choices is essential because the food you eat provides direct nutrition to your growing baby. If you are tempted to eat dragon fruit during pregnancy but are not sure if it is safe, then you are at the right place. We have compiled this article to highlight the benefits and side effects of eating dragon fruit. 

What is Dragon Fruit? [1]

Dragon fruit, also known as strawberry pear, or Pitaya, is a tropical fruit that has a scaly outer covering with spikes like a flame, and seed-speckled pulp. This fruit comes in two colours- red Pitaya fruit, and yellow Pitaya fruit, and has a combination taste of sweet and sour. As the name suggests, it resembles a dragon, power-packed with several essential nutrients. Thus, there are several benefits of dragon fruit for health which makes it the most desired fruit among health enthusiasts. 

Just like a dragon, the dragon fruit stands out, and commands attention!” 

Dragon Fruit Nutritional Value [2]

Dragon fruit is rich in multiple nutrients in small quantities. Have a look at the nutritional value of dragon fruit per 100 grams. 

NutrientsValue
Calories60
Proteins 1.2 g
Fats 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 13 g
Fiber 3 g
Vitamin C3%
Iron 4%
Magnesium 10%
Calcium 8.5 mg

How Beneficial is it to Consume Dragon Fruit in Pregnancy? [3]

Dragon fruit is becoming increasingly popular since it offers several health benefits. However, this fruit can be exceptionally beneficial during pregnancy. 

Dragon fruit benefits in pregnancy include the following:

Packed with Energy-Providing carbs 

  1. The high carbohydrate content of this exotic fruit makes it a convenient and readily usable source of energy for fetal growth and development.

Rich Source of Fats

  1. You may feel tired and lethargic during pregnancy and require good fats to improve your energy levels.
  2. The presence of monounsaturated fats in dragon fruit helps form the fetal brain.

Protects Against Infections [4]

  1. Fetal infection is the biggest nightmare a mother can have. Microbes can easily pass through the placenta and infect the fetus. 
  2. But the risk can be significantly lowered through dragon fruit since it possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and provides cell regeneration.

Helps in Bone Development [5]

  1. Dragon fruit contains a fair amount of calcium, and phosphorus that help in developing the fetal bone structure. 

Provides Relief From Constipation

  1. Dragon fruit consists of fiber and prebiotics that are beneficial to your gut health. 
  2. The dietary fiber can flush out toxins and maintain your overall digestive health. 

Elevated Hemoglobin Levels [6]

  1. The high iron content in dragon fruit helps increase the hemoglobin, and erythrocyte levels in your blood. 
  2. This reduces your risk of anemia during pregnancy. 

Prevent Gestational Diabetes [7]

  1. Dragon fruit helps regulate blood sugar levels due to its high fiber content.
  2. Regular consumption can keep you fuller for a long time and prevents sugar cravings and hunger pangs

Prevents Neural Birth Defects 

  1. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamins and folic acid which is essential for the neural growth of the developing baby. 

Prevent Preeclampsia And The Risk of Miscarriages

  1. Dragon fruit helps regulate and maintain blood pressure thus reducing the risk of pregnancy complications like miscarriages, and preeclampsia 

Does Eating Dragon Fruit in Pregnancy Cause Any Side Effects? [8,9]

Any food when consumed more than a moderate amount can result in adverse side effects. Though there are several Pitaya health benefits due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, it is also relatively high in sugar and carbohydrates. 

Consuming dragon fruit once per day is the safest way to enjoy it while pregnant. Anything more than that may increase your risk of:

  • Dragon fruit allergy

a. Tingling or itchy feeling around your mouth

b. Hives

c. Swollen lips, and tongue 

d. Nausea or vomiting 

e. Wheezing

  • Increased blood sugar levels 
  • Developing gestational diabetes 
  • Bacterial infection, especially after consuming unpasteurised dragon fruit juice 

Keynote

Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit packed with essential nutrients that are important for your baby’s growth. Including it in your diet is the best decision you can take to maintain your and your baby’s health. However, moderation is the key! Going overboard in consuming the Pitaya fruit can lead to side effects. Though dragon fruit can be consumed safely, it is best to consult your gynaecologist before adding it to your diet. This is because isolated cases of dragon fruit allergy have been reported. Hopefully, this article has helped you make wise, and educated decisions about consuming dragon fruit during pregnancy!

FAQs

Can you consume dragon fruit for libido?

Yes, you can consume dragon fruit for libido since it contains a chemical known as phyto albumin that helps in the production of sex hormones. Furthermore, the Pitaya fruit enables nitric oxide synthesis and improves blood flow to the male genital organ.

What are the general health benefits of dragon fruit?

There are several Pitaya health benefits, such as:
Promotes a healthy gut
Aids in weight loss
Reduces the bad cholesterol
Regulates the blood sugar levels 
Boosts brain health
Fights signs of aging and prevents acne

How much dragon fruit can a pregnant woman eat daily?

Ideally, pregnant women are advised to eat at least 200 grams of dragon fruit daily, which is moderately safe and does not cause any side effects. 

Is dragon fruit good for hair growth?

Yes, dragon fruit can help in hair growth since it is loaded with iron which is responsible for carrying oxygen to your hair follicles, stimulating hair growth. 

What is the best time to eat dragon fruit?

Morning is considered the best time to eat dragon fruit as your digestive system breaks down the fruit sugar quickly and provides all the necessary nutrients. However, it can also be consumed at bedtime since it induces good sleep. 

References 

  1. Dragon Fruits as a Reservoir of Natural Polyphenolics with Chemopreventive Properties
  2. Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Other Health Effects of Dragon Fruit and Potential Delivery Systems for Its Bioactive Compounds
  3. Promising Tropical Fruits High in Folates
  4. Phytoconstituents and pharmaco-therapeutic benefits of pitaya: A wonder fruit
  5. Dragon Fruits as a Reservoir of Natural Polyphenolics with Chemopreventive Properties
  6. EFFECT OF CONSUMING RED DRAGON FRUIT (HYLOCEREUS costaricensis) JUICE ON THE LEVELS OF HEMOGLOBIN AND ERYTHROCYTE AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN
  7. Effect of dragon fruit on glycemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis
  8. Excessive fruit consumption during the second trimester is associated with increased likelihood of gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective study
  9. Prepregnancy Consumption of Fruits and Fruit Juices and the Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
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Dr Sunanda Ranade

Sunanda Ranade is Vice-Chairman of the International Academy of Ayurved, Pune, India, and an expert Ayurvedic gynecologist and nutritionist. She has been working in this field for the last 47 years. Dr. Sunanda Ranade holds a Doctorate in Ayurveda. She is also the author of several books on Ayurveda and Yoga, which have been published in Marathi, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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