Dragon fruit, or pitaya, has become extremely popular in recent years. Especially during the summer months, you will come across it in countless smoothies, shakes, and juices. It is also a tasty ingredient or side of many different meals, like salads, puddings, or pancakes. But how good is that trendy fruit really for you?
Is Dragon Fruit Acidic?
Dragon fruit has a pH level between six and seven – this makes it neutral to mildly acidic. The acidity of substances is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. The higher the number, the less acidic something is. Seven sits right in the middle, and so does dragon fruit.
How acidic your drink or meal also depends on what you serve dragon fruit with. When combined with lots of sprouts, leaves, and other alkaline food in a salad, dragon fruit contributes to a healthy, alkaline meal that is excellent if you want to avoid acid reflux.
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As part of drinks that have been sweetened with sugar or shakes that contain dairy, dragon fruit will not keep your snack from being overall more acidic.
While most people are already aware that acid food can lead to acid reflux and other stomach troubles, there is another reason to avoid acidity as much as possible: the health of your teeth. High-acidity food and drink attack the protective outer layer of your teeth, the enamel.
In the long run, this leads to the discoloring of your teeth and makes them more sensitive when consuming things that are very hot, cold, or sweet.
Of course, most people do not want to avoid acidic food at all. After all, some of the most refreshing, delicious, and even healthy foods, like citrus fruits, are highly acidic.
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How to Protect Your Teeth?
You can do some things to protect your teeth after consuming acidic food: when drinking acidic drinks like sweetened fruit juice or soft drinks, it is a good idea to use a straw so that the liquid does not come into direct contact with your teeth.
When you cannot avoid direct contact, like eating a fruit salad, do not make the mistake of brushing your teeth directly afterward.
All the acid in your mouth makes it extra sensitive, and the scrubbing with a toothbrush would contribute to the erosion of enamel. Rather, wait at least 30 minutes and drink a lot of water or eat something alkaline so that the acids inside your mouth are neutralized before brushing.
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Is Dragon Fruit Healthy?
Yes, aside from its low level of acidity, dragon fruit has many other health benefits. It has a low sugar content and still manages to taste sweet. Its high water content makes it perfect for hydrating on a hot summer day.
Since it is low in calories but high in fiber, dragon fruit is helpful for digestion. It also contains lots of prebiotics, which enable the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Dragon fruit is also rich in antioxidants, which means that it can help combat chronic diseases. It is high in vitamin C, which is not only an antioxidant but probably the most important vitamin to boost your immune system. Other antioxidants found in dragon fruit are betalains, which give the dragon fruit its vibrant color.
Betalains have anti-cancer properties and can improve athletic performance. Carotenoids, which also contribute to the color of dragon fruit, are also said to reduce cancer and heart disease risks.
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Is Dragon Fruit High in Iron and Magnesium?
The dragon fruit is also one of the only few fresh fruits that contain iron, which otherwise is most often found in dried fruit or green vegetables. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide.
Consuming iron is important since it plays a big role in transporting oxygen through your body and helps to break down food into energy.
The high magnesium content of dragon fruit is also rare for fruits. Magnesium is important for muscle health and helps to avoid muscle cramps – one of the reasons athletes eat bananas so often.
And while dragon fruits are not as easily portable as bananas, they bring a more unusual tropical flavor to your pre-workout snack.
All in all, there are countless health benefits to this delicious and low-acid fruit, making the current dragon fruit trend more than well deserved.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.