April 14, 2019 | Abby Caviness
To prepare for HBO’s Game of Thrones* premiere, you may be dreaming of becoming the next Mother (or Father) of Dragons. While USHEALTH Group® does not cover dragon riding, we do advocate for healthy lifestyles. So, perhaps it is time to shift your focus from dragon eggs to the health benefits of dragon fruit.** Keep reading to see the health benefits of dragon fruit and how they may be a game-changer for your watch party.
What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit belonging to the climbing cacti family.1 While some refer to dragon fruit as pitaya, pitahaya and strawberry pear2, we think dragon fruit sounds a lot cooler. The fruit comes in a few different varieties, including pitaya blanca, pitaya roja, and pitaya amarilla. Obviously, the obvious differences are pitaya blanca has white flesh, pitaya roja has red flesh and pitaya amarilla has yellow skin.3 Also, as far as taste goes, people have compared dragon fruit to a combination of kiwi and pear. If you enjoy these fruits, you should like dragon fruit.3
While the origin of the fruit is unknown, we do know they are likely native to Central America. However, there is an ancient Chinese legend saying a dragon created dragon fruit when it blew a burst of fire containing the fruit.3 But we will leave it up to you to decide which story is true.
Today, farms growing the fruit are located primarily in Asia, Mexico, Central America, and South America.3 For instance, our U.S. grocer, Whole Foods, gets their dragon fruit from a farm in Hawaii.4 These fun little fruits have grown in popularity recently, so you can hardly read a health blog without seeing one. Some may wonder, just because they taste and look good, does it mean they are also good for you?
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
To answer the previous question in short: Yes, there are plenty of health benefits of dragon fruit. In fact, dragon fruit contains many antioxidants and vitamins, which are important for your health. So, adding them to your diet will serve you well and may just give you the health boost your body needs. However, if you want the long version, here is what one dragon fruit contains:5
- Calories: 264
- Protein: 3.57 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrate: 82.14 g
- Dietary fiber: 1.8 g
- Sugars (total): 82.14 g
- Calcium: 107 milligrams (mg)
- Iron: 0 g
- Sodium: 39 mg
- Vitamin C: 6.4 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Dragon fruit also contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, zinc and a smaller amount of copper. In addition, they also have prebiotic properties, which means they enhance digestion and nourish gut bacteria. Healthline also outlines some additional health benefits of dragon fruit, including:6
- High in Nutrients
- May Help Fight Chronic Disease
- Loaded with Fiber
- Strengthens Your Immune System
- Good Source of Magnesium
- The skin contains flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory
You will find the main nutrients in the flesh of the dragon fruit, but you can also eat the skin. In fact, the skin adds the benefit of flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory benefits. However, be aware the skin is bitter and people often pickle the skin to make it taste better.5
To sum up, the benefits found in dragon fruit are endless and impressive. People who already eat a lot of fruit will find it is very easy to incorporate into other meals with fruit. However, for those who may need a bit more help, keep reading for some tips on ways to eat dragon fruit.
Dragon Fruit for Your Game of Thrones Watch Party
With this being the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, you may want to consider ramping up your watch party game. Along with your Jon Snow Cones and Sansa’s Lemon Cakes, consider adding dragon fruit to the mix.
The first thing you should know is how to tell if a dragon fruit is ripe. The primary sign of ripe dragon fruit is a bright red or yellow skin, depending on the variety.6 Then, you can tell if the inside is ready to eat if you press on the outer peel and there is a slight give.5 The fruit should be a softer consistency, but should not be mushy.
To eat dragon fruit whole, simply cut it in half, scoop out the insides and use them however you want! For example, you can incorporate dragon fruit in your salad, blend it in a smoothie or add it to your yogurt. In fact, some people even put it on skewers and grill it. The sky really is the limit. However, to help you out, here are a few ideas to take your Game of Thrones premiere watch party to the next level:
- Dragon Fruit Salad
- Seared Scallops with Dragon Fruit Salsa
- Fruit Kebab Skewers
- Dragon Fruit Smoothie
There are so many ways to enjoy dragon fruit, so you may just want to experiment and see what you like the most. However, if you just cannot decide the best way to prepare it, eating it whole is always a reliable way to go.T
In conclusion, next time you watch Game of Thrones and wish you were in the middle of all the action—riding dragons, narrowly escaping White Walkers and fighting alongside all your favorite characters—consider taking the safer path and enjoying a fun, show-themed snack instead. We have a feeling you will be better off this way.
*USHEALTH Group is not affiliated with HBO or the Game of Thrones franchise.
**This material is provided by USHEALTH Group for informational/educational purposes only and should not replace medical/clinical advice or direction from your health care provider.
- Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala; Rahman, Nor-Afidah Abd, “Dragon Fruit,” National Library Board Singapore, accessed April 11, 2019, http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_768_2005-01-11.html
- Spritzler, Franziska, “What Is Dragon Fruit and Does It Have Health Benefits?” Healthline.com, published January 25, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dragon-fruit
- Higuera, Valencia, “What Are the Benefits of Dragon Fruit, and How Do You Eat It? Here’s What to Know,” EverydayHealth.com, last modified August 10, 2018, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/dragon-fruit-how-eat-benefits-taste-more/
- Whole Foods Market, “Dragonfruit Farms,” WholeFoodsMarket.com, accessed April 11, 2019, https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/local-vendor/dragonfruit-farms
- Nall, Rachel, “What are the proven benefits of dragon fruit?” MedicalNewsToday.com, last modified March 8, 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324655.php
- Meixner, Makayla, “7 Great Reasons to Add Dragon Fruit to Your Diet,” Healthline.com, published May 23, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dragon-fruit-benefits