Dragon Fruit For A Healthy Cardiovascular System

  • Vasilena Ilieva Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences- BSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Kent, England
  • Zahraa Al-Lami Alevel Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Arabic, The UCL Academy

Have you ever heard of dragon fruit? This type of fruit has been rising in popularity in recent years, and more research has been conducted on its beneficial effects on overall health and well-being.

Dragon fruit is advantageous for many different health-related aspects. However, most research on this fruit has focused on its vast benefits on the cardiovascular system, with evidence backing up the claim that consuming dragon fruit can improve your cardiovascular health. 

Although the main aspects of dragon fruit studied have been its effects on vascular health, there are many other helpful properties within dragon fruit, such as anti-ageing, anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory, etc.


A brief overview of dragon fruit

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya y pitahaya, is a fruit that is grown and cultivated mainly in tropical and subtropical regions such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, Thailand, Malaysia, etc 1. Dragon fruit is from the Hylocereus genus, and there are five different types of dragon fruit, depending on the characteristics of the fruit. The five types of dragon fruit are:

  • Hylocereus undatus- pink skin and white pulp
  • Hylocereus polyrhizus- pink skin and red pulp
  • Hylocereus costaricensis- pink skin and violet-red pulp
  • Hylocereus guatemalensis- reddish-orange skin and red pulp
  • Hylocereus megalanthus- yellow skin and white pulp

The pulp of all five kinds of dragon fruit is filled with black seeds, and the fruit tends to be sweet in taste, filled with various nutrients, minerals, and vitamins such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The pulp usually accounts for between 70-80% of the whole fruit.

Some other names that can be used to describe a dragon fruit are:2

  • Dragon pearl fruit
  • Night-blooming cereus
  • Strawberry pear
  • Cinderella plant

Although it is most common to eat dragon fruit in its raw form, there are many  other ways of consumption such as: in drinks (e.g. smoothies, juice), in jelly, candy, etc. 

Health benefits of dragon fruit

Dragon fruit has many beneficial effects on the overall health of its consumers. Some of these benefits include:2

  • Analgesic effect - provide pain relief
  • Antioxidant effect - neutralizing harmful molecules
  • Anti-diabetic effect - aids in managing blood sugar levels 
  • Anti-ageing effect - slows down signs of ageing
  • Anti-cancer effect - decreased cancer progression and reduced tumour cell growth
  • Liver protective effect - safeguard the liver from damage 
  • Neuroprotective effect - protection for nerve cells from damage or degeneration 
  • Cardioprotective effect - protecting the heart from damage

Dragon fruit has always been known as a medicinal remedy since ancient times, going all the way back to the ancient Mayans, who have used the fruit for its healing properties as a disinfectant for wound cleansing, diuretic, and even as a tumour-targeting agent. The seeds and the flowers are known to have beneficial properties for adequate kidney function; acting as laxatives and improving gastritis.

Nutritional value of dragon fruit and its role on the cardiovascular system

  • Fibre: high in dietary fibre, this aids in the normal function of the cardiovascular system as it decreases cholesterol absorption and promotes feelings of satiety and fullness.
  • Vitamins: Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) - aids in collagen production, vital for the integrity of blood vessels.
  • Minerals: Potassium and Magnesium - important for normal blood pressure maintenance.
  • Antioxidants: Betalains and flavonoids aid in protecting against oxidative stress and inflammation.

How can dragon fruit consumption benefit your cardiovascular system?

Eating dragon  fruit contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system through its various nutritional components and potential health benefits. The main effect regular dragon fruit intake has on the  human body is linked to:

  • Reduced  glucose levels in the blood
  • Lowered  cholesterol levels 
  • Lowered  triglycerides
  • Lowered  Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
  • Increased levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) 
  • Reduced high blood pressure

This is all beneficial in preventing diseases linked to the cardiovascular system, such as atherosclerosis, which is the result of fatty acids building up inside arteries which can have consequences such as clot formation and blood vessel obstruction, leading to a limited blood supply, therefore, limited oxygen supply and potentially be fatal. Additionally, dragon fruit has an immensely low quantity of cholesterol, which is highly beneficial for cardiovascular disease prevention and weight management.3 Another advantage is that it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as monounsaturated fats, which are good for overall cardiovascular health.

Antioxidant effect in dragon fruit

The differing  types of Hylocereus species have different biochemical components that can have health-beneficial properties, e.g. 

The oil extracted from the seeds and the peel of the dragon fruit have been found to have antioxidative properties, therefore aiding in the prevention of several health conditions. The main purpose of antioxidants is to reduce the oxidative stress on the body. Oxidative stress is caused when there aren't enough antioxidants to neutralize the free reactive oxygen species synthesized in the body, which can damage cellular components such as proteins and DNA and contribute to the increased chances of neurodegenerative disorders forming. 

The probiotic effect of dragon fruit

Fructose, Glucose, and Oligosaccharides are the main carbohydrates found in dragon fruit. They can encourage the growth of different kinds of beneficial bacteria in the human`s microflora such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, promoting a healthy balance of gut microbiota, aiding absorption and digestion, supporting the immune system, and contributing to overall gastrointestinal well-being.

Regular consumption of dragon fruit can therefore provide a better defence system  towards many diseases such as: Diabetes, Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cancer, Metabolic Diseases, Dyslipidemia. 


With its remarkable nutritional profile and extensive cardiovascular advantages, dragon fruit is a wonderful complement to a heart-healthy diet. Regular consumption of this exotic fruit can help control your blood pressure, manage cholesterol, and maintain cardiovascular health in general. Remembering that dragon fruit is not a stand-alone remedy but rather a key component of a comprehensive strategy for cardiovascular health is crucial as we continue to learn about the myriad benefits of this fruit. So, for the love of your heart, engage in the colourful world of dragon fruit and enjoy its sweet delights.


What is a dragon's fruit?

Pitaya, another name for dragon fruit, has a pink or yellow exterior and white or red flesh that is coated with tiny black seeds. It is well known for its distinctive look and nutritional advantages.

What cardiovascular benefits does dragon fruit provide?

The high fibre content in dragon fruit helps lower cholesterol levels. Its potassium and magnesium content assist in controlling blood pressure. Finally, its antioxidant characteristics help protect blood vessels and lessen inflammation.

What vitamins may be found in dragon fruit, and what benefits do they have for the cardiovascular system?

Dragon fruit is rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports blood vessel health, aids against damage, and encourages collagen synthesis, which is necessary for blood vessel integrity. Dragon fruit also contains B vitamins, specifically vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin B3 (niacin), which contribute to energy metabolism and overall well-being. 

Are there any medical studies that back up the claims that dragon fruit is good for your heart?

Yes, multiple academic studies have looked into the health advantages of dragon fruit for the heart, notably how it affects blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These studies offer proof of its beneficial benefits on cardiovascular health with clear results showcasing this fact.

How can the antioxidants in dragon fruit support cardiovascular health? What are they?

The betalains and flavonoids found in dragon fruit are considered to be antioxidants. They defend the blood vessel's endothelial layer while lowering inflammation and promoting general vascular health. The endothelium layer plays a vital role in acting as a barrier between the vessel wall and blood, enabling smooth blood flow, preventing clot formation and regulating the constriction and dilation of blood vessels. Any deviation from normal function, such as inflammation, can cause significant damage and dysfunction of endothelial cells, which, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Therefore it is essential to maintain the functionality of endothelial cells.


  1. Arivalagan M, Karunakaran G, Roy TK, Dinsha M, Sindhu BC, Shilpashree VM, Satisha GC, Shivashankara KS. Biochemical and nutritional characterization of dragon fruit (Hylocereus species). Food Chemistry. 2021 Aug 15;353:129426.
  2. Nishikito DF, Borges AC, Laurindo LF, Otoboni AM, Direito R, Goulart RD, Nicolau CC, Fiorini AM, Sinatora RV, Barbalho SM. Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Other Health Effects of Dragon Fruit and Potential Delivery Systems for Its Bioactive Compounds. Pharmaceutics. 2023 Jan 3;15(1):159.
  3. Nangare DD, Taware PB, Singh Y, Kumar PS, Bal SK, Ali S, Pathak H. Dragon Fruit: A potential crop for abiotic stressed areas. Technical Bulletin. 2020;46:24.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Vasilena Ilieva

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences- BSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Kent, England

Vasilena is a Biomedical Scientist, with experience in research and laboratory-based projects during her studies at university. She has written an approved dissertation as a final-year project on the differences in the appearance of people from Asian and Caucasian backgrounds, concentrating on their histological, molecular, genetic, and epigenetic basis. She has got a keen interest in Oncology, Dermatology, Investigation of Diseases, and Neuroscience.

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818