The healthy properties of dragon fruit cannot be denied. The fruit also known as pitaya is more popular now than ever — especially in drinkable form. But dragon fruit juice isn’t as good for you as the whole fruit. Here’s why.
In general, dragon fruit juice is less healthy than whole dragon fruit because of the lack of fiber, of which most is lost during the juicing process. Fibers are important for a healthy gut and help balance cholesterol levels, among other benefits.
This doesn’t mean that juicing your pitayas is unhealthy — on the contrary. Dragon fruit juice will still contain all of its healthy vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
Benefits Of Dragon Fruit Juice
Much like the pitaya itself, the juice from this tropical delicacy contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are good for you. The most important benefits of fresh dragon fruit juice are outlined below.
1. Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants may protect the cells in your body against free radicals, which play a role in a wide range of diseases. Experts even suggest that antioxidants play a role in slowing down the aging process.
Dragon fruit naturally contains a relatively large number of antioxidants. According to Healthline, diets that are high in antioxidants might help reduce your risk of chronic illness. Fresh juices will also contain these beneficial substances in large numbers, just like the fruit would.
2. Fat-Free And Low In Sugar
The pitaya is naturally completely fat-free, which is great for people that want to reduce their daily caloric intake. Even better than that — the fruits also contain a relatively low amount of sugar. This is especially true when compared to commonly juiced fruits such as oranges or apples.
Juice from concentrate usually has artificial sugars added, usually high-fructose corn syrup. Dragon fruit juice with added high fructose corn syrup is not healthy and should be avoided where possible. Make sure to check the label of your product if this is the case.
3. Rich In Vitamins And Minerals
Both fresh juices and juice from concentrate will still contain the rich vitamins and minerals found in dragon fruit. The fruit drink can therefore be part of a healthy and balanced diet, as long as it’s consumed in moderation.
As mentioned earlier, dragon fruit juices are rich in vitamin C, A, calcium, magnesium, and many more. However, this cannot be said for the rich fiber content that’s normally found in fresh dragon fruit. The juicing process removes most of the healthy natural fiber from the drink.
4. Rich In Prebiotics
Pitayas are considered a true superfood. Not only do they contain a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but they also contain prebiotics. According to WebMD, prebiotics “are a source of food for your gut’s healthy bacteria“.
In other words, prebiotics found in dragon fruit promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. This helps you digest your food better and might help to prevent common problems like constipation and diarrhea. Some people know that dragon fruit can even act as a mild laxative.
Most fruit juices, including dragon fruit juice, will still contain the healthy prebiotics that is naturally found in the fruit. So drink up, because your gut will love you for it.
5. Might Help Boost The Immune System
The many types of vitamins and minerals are needed for a balanced and well-functioning body. While vitamin C is essential for a correctly functioning immune system, so are some of the other nutrients found in the pitaya.
Iron will help move oxygen throughout the body, which allows the white blood cells to fight unwanted intruders a lot more efficiently. All in all, moderate daily consumption of dragon fruit juices might be great to boost your immune system.
Dragon Fruit Juice Has Very Little Fiber
The most important downside of juicing dragon fruit is the loss of fiber. Juices only contain 1 gram of fiber per cup, while a single fresh dragon fruit contains up to 7 grams. A lot of healthy fibers are lost in the juicing process.
Both children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day for good health. On average, Americans are chronically missing about 5-15 grams of fiber a day in their diets.
Fiber is essential for regulating the body’s blood sugar levels, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy poop routine. Without it, the human body simply cannot function. Juices barely contain fibers, while fresh fruits contain lots of fiber.
Fresh Juice Is Always A Better Choice
Fresh fruits are the healthiest, fresh fruit juices are the second-best choice. Most essential nutrients are kept after juicing, except the aforementioned fiber content.
But it could be worse — you could be drinking dragon fruit juice from concentrate with added sugars. Be aware of the ‘health trap’ associated with these types of drinks.
Concentrates Often Contain High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Some juice manufacturers that produce drinks from concentrate don’t just use the natural sugars found in the fruit. This is especially true for dragon fruit, which is relatively low in sugar and only has a mildly sweet flavor.
So what do manufacturers do? They introduce artificial ways to sweeten their product. The most commonly used solution is called high fructose corn syrup, which is bad for you. The product won’t mention the type of sugars used, but you can usually see when sugars are added.
Make sure to check the list of ingredients if you’re drinking dragon fruit juice from concentrate. The nutritional value’s sugar content will also give away some red flags. Where possible, eat the fresh fruit, and otherwise try to get a hold of the much healthier fresh dragon fruit juices.