During pregnancy, it’s especially important to eat well and get enough nutrients. If you want to reap the full benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, you need to include every variety possible. Some exotic fruits can be added to your pregnancy diet as well, like dragon fruits. These fruits are colorful and bright in appearance. They are good for stimulating the visual sensory organs.
Due to the appeal of the fruit, many women develop cravings for dragonfruit during pregnancy. However, many expectant mothers are unsure if eating dragon fruit is safe for them and their unborn babies. Let’s look into the effects of dragon fruit on pregnant women and whether or not it’s safe to eat. In this article, we examine its advantages, disadvantages, nutritional value, and other assumptions.
What Is Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit, or pitaya, is a tropical fruit that grows naturally in South and North America. But times have changed, and you can find this fruit in supermarkets all over the globe. The dragon fruit comes in two flavors, sour and sweet, depending on the species. The outer skin of each variety varies in appearance, but they all have magenta- or white-colored flesh that is soft to touch and edible with small black seeds embedded within.
The fruit has a consistency like a kiwi and is filled with tiny black seeds. Three main types of dragon fruit are grown commercially-
- Red skin with red flesh
- Red skin with white flesh
- Yellow skin with white flesh
Of these, the second type is the most widely grown.
Eating, say, yellow dragon fruit during pregnancy would be no different than eating any other type of dragon fruit, as all varieties of dragon fruit have the same nutrition.
Nutritional Profile of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit has a good nutritional value, which is good for the baby as well as the mother. This fruit has a good carbohydrate content, which is good for offering energy. The calcium in the fruit is good for the development of bones and contains high levels of other vitamins and minerals. Iron, potassium, and other minerals in this fruit can help boost immunity. It even has folic acid, which is good for the neurological development of the child. It even has lycopene, which is unique to this fruit and helps to fight hypertension and heart-related issues.
The following table1 tells us why eating dragon fruit during pregnancy benefits pregnant women-
|NUTRIENT||PER 100G OF DRAGON FRUIT|
|Dietary fiber||1.8 mg|
|Vitamin C||6.4mg(boosting immunity)|
|Calcium and Folate||107mg|
|Iron||4% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||10% of RDI|
|Lycopene||Not listed in the USDA database|
Related Reading: Craving Ice While Pregnant: Good Or Bad
Can Pregnant Women Eat Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit comprises many nutrients that are healthy for pregnant women. It has sodium, dietary fiber, sugar, calcium, carbohydrates, lycopene, folate, etc., which, if taken in limited amounts, are safe during pregnancy.
Consuming this fruit, which is rich in nutrients, will have a number of beneficial effects on both your own and your unborn baby’s health. Talk to your doctor before trying dragon fruit if you have a history of allergic reactions to other types of fruit.
It is also interesting to know if dragon fruit helps in female fertility as well. Yes. Vitamins B1, B2, and B3; minerals like iron, calcium, and phosphorus; and numerous active antioxidants can all be found in abundance in dragon fruit. All of these nutrients can improve a woman’s fertility.
How Much Dragon Fruit Can You Eat in A Day?
According to some studies, the recommended daily intake of dragon fruit for pregnant women is approximately 200 grams. Dragon fruit typically weighs between 300 and 450 g. Therefore, you should limit yourself to one-half of a dragon fruit per day. However, before taking it, you should talk to your doctor about the proper dosage.
It is important to know how to eat dragon fruit during pregnancy.
Unlike many other fruits, the dragon fruit’s tough outer skin is not consumed. So, before eating the flesh inside, pregnant women don’t need to wash it.
This can be consumed in the following ways.
- Having dragon fruit in form of a smoothie is a good option
- You could use the flesh of the dragon fruit to make a jam and then spread it on pancakes or toast for breakfast
- It can even be added in pieces in salads etc.
- Having juice from dragon fruit is yet another way
- It can even be consumed as a fruit just like other tropical fruits
Keep in mind that store-bought pre-cut fruit might pose more of a health risk than whole fruit prepared at home. This is due to the fact that harmful bacteria such as salmonella may be present in pre-cut fruit.
Related Reading: Rambutan During Pregnancy- Benefits, Risks, And Precautions
Benefits Of Eating Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy
Dragon fruit consumption during pregnancy has several health benefits. Dragon fruit has a high nutrient value, which is good for the mother as well as the fetus. Because dragon fruits have a lot of phenolics and betacyanins, they are very good at fighting free radicals. Due to the compounds in them, eating dragon fruits may help relieve stress-related and inflammatory illnesses1.
Some of the major benefits are2:
1. It assists in alleviating constipation
In the first trimester of pregnancy, many women experience discomfort from constipation and gas.
- Dragon fruit has a good amount of dietary fiber4 that helps in flushing toxins and smooths the functioning of the digestive system
- It helps in easing constipation due to its laxative nature, which loosens the bowel movement
2. Prevents birth defects
It is important for a child to have proper neural development for a smooth life.
- A rich source of fat is good for brain formation in the fetus, so consumption of dragon fruit during pregnancy is a wise choice
- It even enhances cognitive function
- The vitamin B complex, which is present in dragon fruit, is crucial for the development of the fetal nervous system5
3. Dragon fruit helps in boosting the hemoglobin levels
It is common for a pregnant woman to get anemic during pregnancy and experience low levels of hemoglobin.
- The iron content of red dragon fruit may boost hemoglobin and erythrocyte counts
- Including dragon fruit in the diet, therefore, helps in boosting hemoglobin levels, thereby reducing the chances of being anemic6. Thus it is beneficial to consume dragon fruit during pregnancy first trimester
4. It helps to develop the bones
Besides calcium, even phosphorus is important for the development of bones.
- Since dragon fruit has good phosphorus and calcium content7, it is good for bone development as well as dental health
- As compared to other fruits, the calcium content is higher in dragon fruit and even takes care of the daily dosage of calcium
- It even helps in the prevention of osteoporosis and boosts bone density as well
5. Dragon fruit is good for heart
- The small black seeds present in the dragon fruit are an ideal source of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids8, which are good for the heart
- The fatty acids reduce a kind of fat in the blood known as triglycerides
- They even help to lower the blood pressure levels
- Dragon fruit has more good cholesterol as compared to bad cholesterol in the body as it has no unhealthy fats
6. It helps in preventing infections
Women’s immunity drops significantly during pregnancy, making them more susceptible to infections. Each pregnant mother’s worst fear is contracting an infection. The placenta’s permeable membrane provides an open door for these germs to invade the growing embryo.
- Dragon fruit contains a substantial quantity of Vitamin C, which is the most important agent for strengthening your immune system
- Thus eating dragon fruit during pregnancy helps significantly boost your immune system9
7. It offers immense energy
Fatigue is a common complaint during pregnancy. The energy-rich dragon fruit may also help pregnant women feel more energized.
- Dragon fruit has a good amount of carbohydrates, which is good for providing energy to the pregnant woman, which is required in abundance during pregnancy
- This source of energy can be easily accessed as per this source. And it even gets transferred to the baby in the womb
Related Reading: 11 Foods That Give You Energy While Pregnant
8. Prevention of preeclampsia
Pre-eclampsia chances are significantly raised when hypertension is present during pregnancy.
- Dragon fruit is high in fiber. it is also a great source of vitamin C, minerals, and phytoalbumins, all of which have antioxidant properties10
- An antioxidant-rich diet helps reduce blood pressure and enhances cardiac health11
- By keeping blood sugar and blood pressure levels steady, dragon fruit aids in reducing the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy
9. Prevention of cancer
The World Health Organization reports that the global incidence of cancer has risen dramatically in recent decades12
- Dragon fruit comprises Vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene, which help to repair and prevent cancers as well as tumors
- All these are anti-carcinogenic bodies that fight against any cancer cells
- Dragon fruit has been shown to be effective in treating breast cancer, according to the source13
10. Lessens the chance of having a miscarriage
- Dragon fruit has folic acid that reduces miscarriage, thereby offering strength to the fetus.
- Folate present in dragon fruit helps with developing the brain of the fetus.
- Defects like spina bifida and the threat of neural tube defects are reduced by folic acid, which is present in dragon fruit14
Related Reading: 9 Things To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Eating During Pregnancy
11. Protection against free radicals
The antioxidants present in the dragon fruit help prevent any damage that could result from free radicals.
- It is seen that pregnant women who got exposed to cigarette smoking passively also had a risk of delivering babies who had a lower birth weight
- Dragon fruit has phytonutrients and polyphenols that protect both the uterus and the growing baby15
12. It helps to strengthen the immune system
- Dragon fruit has vitamins C, E, and A, other flavonoids, and phytonutrients that strengthen the immune system by protecting the WBCs, or white blood cells16
- It even helps in treating as well as preventing injuries, wounds, diseases, etc.
Risks And Precautions of Eating Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy
No studies prove that there are major side effects from consuming dragon fruit during pregnancy. No harmful effects have been reported from its consumption. However, when taken in excessive amounts, these points should be taken into consideration.
- Despite containing a variety of antioxidants and micronutrients, it is high in sugar and carbohydrates
- Consuming dragon fruit in excess can result in diarrhea during pregnancy
- If you are eating dragon fruit and get itchiness, rashes, or redness in the skin, you should stop immediately
- It’s also important to eat a variety of fruits while pregnant because each fruit contains a unique set of micronutrients
Related Reading: How To Cope With Sweet Cravings During Pregnancy
Dragon Fruit When You Have Gestational Diabetes
It is suggested that pregnant women with gestational diabetes eat more foods that are high in minerals, vitamins K, A, B, and C, magnesium, and potassium. Dragofruits contain all these vitamins and minerals, thus helping with gestational diabetes17. The dragon fruit contains a type of fiber that cannot be digested. This also contributes to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level18.
In addition, dragon fruits have a relatively low glycemic index compared to other fruits. Dragon Fruit’s Glycemic Index is between 49 and 53, making it a healthy choice for women with gestational diabetes when consumed in moderation19.
Is It Safe For Pregnant Women To Drink Dragon Fruit Juice?
Women who are expecting can safely drink dragon fruit juice that has been pasteurized, but unpasteurized juice should be avoided. Pregnant women should avoid drinking unpasteurized juice due to the possibility of harmful bacteria it may contain. Expectant mothers might benefit from making their own dragon fruit juice at home with a juicer. Instead of buying processed fruit juice from the store, try making your own healthy fruit juice at home.
Due to its attractive color, delectable flavor, high nutritional value, and medicinal properties, dragon fruit is a recently introduced super fruit in India that is becoming more and more popular in both rural and urban areas. Compared to other fruits, it has fewer calories and not too many carbs. It is good for the brain, and heart, and for building strong bones, among other things. You can eat dragon fruit while you’re pregnant to get the extra nutrients you need and keep an eye on your overall health. But make sure to talk to your doctor about the right amount of this fruit to eat, since eating too much of any food might have negative effects.