Dragon fruit which is also known as pitaya fruit or pitahaya fruit is a delicious fruit found and popular among the regions of Central America, South America, and Asia. This exotic fruit is light sweet in taste and when it comes to texture it is between that of kiwi and of apple. Being an excellent source of various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. dragon fruit provides a number of health and beauty benefits. Although dragon fruit is good for us, it is advisable to consume them in moderation. This is because too much of everything is bad and the same is true for dragon fruit. In this article, we will know about the major side effects of eating too many dragon fruits.
Side Effects of Eating Too Many Dragon Fruits
(1) Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad For Stomach
Eating dragon fruit on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for our stomach and aids in keeping our digestive system healthy. This benefit of dragon fruit is primarily due to the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in the dragon fruit acts as a natural laxative which means it improves our bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. This provides relief from constipation and also provides relief from other digestive problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence and bloating, etc.
Even though dietary fibers are great for our digestive health and provide numerous benefits, it is a wise idea to eat dragon fruit in moderation. This is because excess intake of dietary fibers is found to be bad for our health and give rise to problems such poor absorption of nutrients by the intestines, intestinal gas, intestinal blockage, stomach pain, and flatulence, etc.
In addition to this, dietary fibers are also known to absorb excess water from our system. This property of dietary fibers helps provide relief from diarrhea. However, excessive intake of dietary fibers without drinking enough water can increases the risk of dehydration in the body which is known to cause various health issues like indigestion, increased risk of constipation and muscle cramps, etc.
(2) Too Many Antioxidants Are Bad
Dragon fruit is an excellent source of many antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and carotenoids, etc. that provides a number of benefits.
These antioxidants and the relevant compounds present in the dragon fruit combats with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers. They also help in the proper elimination of toxins from our system and thus helps in reducing the burden of toxins removal from our vital organs like liver and kidneys and allows them to focus on other functions they need to perform.
Antioxidants also provide a number of other benefits such as strengthening the immune system, improving cardiovascular health, improving cognitive functions, etc.
Undoubtedly, antioxidants are great for us but it has been found that a high intake of antioxidants for a long period of time can damage our health to a significant level. As per a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, it was found that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements in high doses for a prolonged period of time were more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to the individuals who stayed away from the said antioxidant.
Another study conducted by the office of the dietary supplements found that high intake of vitamin E increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in our system.
This negative side effect of antioxidants is because of the way antioxidants interacts with the cells of our body. In moderate quantity, antioxidants only target the free radicals responsible for causing oxidative damage to our system. However, when antioxidants are in excessive quantity and there are not enough free radicals, then they also start targeting the healthy cells around them and thus causes oxidative damage to them.
(3) May Develop Allergic Reactions In Some Individuals
Dragon fruit is an excellent source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. and the presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for us. This fruit provides a number of health and beauty benefits which we can enjoy just by adding dragon fruit to your diet. However, no all of us can enjoy these benefits in an equal manner. This is because some individuals might be allergic to dragon fruit and they should avoid dragon fruit as much as possible. If you are allergic to dragon fruit then it makes no sense to consume it as it may give rise to allergic reactions such as swollen lips and tongue, itchy throat, burning sensation in the throat, etc.
(4) Eating Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy And Nursing Period
Pregnancy is an important event in the life of every woman and at this stage, it is very important for her to ensure that she is enjoying a balanced diet full of nutrition. This is because at the pregnancy stage what a mother eats and drinks not only determines her health but also the health and wellness of the baby developing in her womb.
Dragon fruit is an excellent source of various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibers, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc.. and the presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for the pregnancy stage.
The antioxidants like vitamin C and other compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols etc. protect the uterus and the fetus developing in it from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals of the body. They also strengthen our immune system and thus helps in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
The dietary fibers present in the dragon reduces the risk of constipation and also provides relief from other digestive problems because of their natural laxative properties.
Dragon fruit also increases the production of hemoglobin in the body which minimizes the risk of anemia.
In addition to this, they are also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B complex, vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, and iron, etc. that provides nourishment to the mother and the baby, and thus helps in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Although dragon fruit is considered as a safe fruit to be eaten during the pregnancy stage, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume this exotic fruit in moderation and after having a word with your doctor. This is because dragon fruit might interfere with one or the other medication you are taking during the pregnancy stage. Also, if you find yourself allergic to dragon fruit then it’s better to avoid it completely.
Nursing mothers should also consume dragon fruit in moderation. This is because when consumed in excess, the dietary fibers present in the dragon fruit is known to increase the risk of digestive problems like gas, bloating, flatulence and indigestion, etc. in the mother as well as in the baby.
(5) May Interfere With Functioning Of Diabetes Medications
Eating dragon fruit on a regular and moderate basis is found to be very beneficial for diabetic patients and for the individuals who are at the risk of developing diabetes. This benefit of dragon fruit is primarily because of the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in the dragon fruit reduces the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream. This prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level and thus helps in managing diabetes.
Eating 100 grams of dragon fruit provides around 8 grams of sugar which is a combination of both the glucose and fructose. This exotic fruit is considered as a medium sugar fruit, but the carbohydrate present in the dragon fruit gets broken down easily in the form of usable energy and counterbalance any negative effect of the sugar.
And, although dragon fruit is beneficial for diabetic patients, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume this fruit in moderation. This is because a large intake of dragon fruit will reduce the blood sugar to a dangerously low level and thereby increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which our blood sugar drops down to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms such as excess sweating, excess hunger, fainting, fatigue, lightheadedness, mental confusion, and tingling lips, etc.
And, if you are a diabetic patient and already taking medication for the same then excessive consumption of dragon fruit may interfere with the functioning of these medications and may worsen the situation.
(6) May Cause Hypotension
Eating dragon fruit on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for providing relief from hypertension or high blood pressure which is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, and irregular heartbeat, etc. This benefit of dragon fruit is primarily due to the presence of potassium in it. Potassium is an essential mineral that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps in keeping our blood pressure under control.
The dietary fibers present in the dragon fruit also plays a significant role in managing the blood pressure level.
Although dragon fruit is beneficial for regulating blood pressure, it is better to be on the safe side and consume this fruit in moderation. This is because having too much potassium in our system may lower our blood pressure to a very low level giving rise to hypotension. Hypotension is a condition that occurs when the blood pressure inside our body drops down below the normal range and is characterized by the symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, depression, blurry vision and loss of consciousness, etc.
And, if you are suffering from hypertension and already taking medication for the same then it is better to limit the intake of dragon fruit as they may otherwise interfere with the functioning of blood pressure medication.
(7) May Lead To Weight Gain
Dragon fruit is found to be very beneficial for the individuals who are on a weight loss regime and would like to get rid of some extra pounds.
This benefit of dragon fruit is mainly because of the low calories present in them. Eating a small sized dragon fruit that weighs around 200 grams provides around 60 calories which are considered very low in comparison to other fruits like banana, avocado, and grapefruit, etc.
In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in the dragon fruit keeps our stomach fuller for longer duration and decreases our urge to eat again and again, and thus helps in controlling overeating. As overeating is a major cause of obesity, so by controlling overeating it helps in controlling obesity and the other health problems associated with the same. Some common health issues that arise due to obesity are hypertension, increased risk of cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, weak bones, etc.
This exotic fruit is also rich in water and around 90 percent of it is made up of water which also helps with the weight loss.
The low calories of dragon fruit make it a wonderful snack that one can enjoy without worrying too much about the weight gain. However, it is still a good idea to stay on track and eat dragon fruit in moderation. This is because every calorie adds up and if you are already having a balanced diet and getting enough calories (as required by your body depending on age, gender, and physical activity) then eating too many dragon fruits may increase the total calorie intake, thereby increasing the risk of weight gain.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.