YELLOW DRAGON FRUIT MAY SOUND like something the characters on “Game of Thrones” would snack on. But, it’s is an actual fruit that’s buzzing on TikTok, mostly for its ability to help get your digestive tract moving.
Dragon fruit is a sweet tropical fruit from the cactus family that features yellow or red scaly skin (which is where the “dragon” name comes from) and soft, white flesh with tiny black seeds. It’s also sometimes called a pitaya, pitahaya, or strawberry pear.
“Dragon fruit is often described as a combination of a pear and kiwi, with a touch of citrus,” says Stephanie Nelson, M.S., R.D., lead nutrition scientist at MyFitnessPal, a food-tracking app that has seen about 15 percent more people logging yellow dragon fruit over the past few months.
Yellow dragon fruit, which tends to be sweeter than the red variety, has lots of people talking on TikTok, where videos tagged #yellowdragonfruit have nearly 130 million views. TikTokkers say the fruit can help you poop and detox your body.
But, are there any truth to the claims?
“Dragon fruit’s high fiber content means it can certainly help keep you regular and help you prevent constipation,” says Sumair Akhtar, M.D., chief clinical officer at Strive Health.
Dragon fruit is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that offer many other health benefits, like a healthy metabolism and improved immune function, he adds.
Curious about yellow dragon fruit? Here’s a look at why it’s so good for you, how much you should eat, and how to incorporate it into your diet.
Can Yellow Dragon Fruit Help You Poop?
It certainly contains a lot of fiber, which you need to stay regular.
“Rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, yellow dragon fruit aids with digestion by affecting the amount of water absorbed into stool in the intestines,” Nelson says.
Soluble fiber attracts water and becomes gel during digestion, which slows down digestion, according to the National Library of Medicine. Insoluble fiber bulks up your stool and helps it pass more easily.
A cup of dragon fruit contains about 5.6 grams of fiber. That goes a long way toward meeting the 30 to 38 grams that you need every day.
Dragon fruit has high water content, too, something you also need for good digestion.
“Having the right amount of water in stool can promote regular bowel movements and help relieve constipation,” Nelson adds.
Will Yellow Dragon Fruit Detox Your Body?
Yellow dragon fruit’s ability to help you poop has many on TikTok claiming that it can help you “detox” your body. But, no single food has detox capabilities, and your body doesn’t need it anyway.
“A healthy liver removes toxins naturally,” Nelson says. “If you, or anyone you know, are to a point where your liver is not removing toxins effectively, seek medical attention immediately. Just remember, there is no food that can do a job that your liver cannot do.”
People may tout specific foods and juices as detoxers, but Dr. Akhtar says there’s no scientific evidence that these things lead to better health outcomes.
“The best approach is a long-term one—stick to healthy food options that prevent poor health in the first place,” he explains.
Also, just take good care of yourself: get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and reduce stress.
Dragon Fruit Offers Other Health Benefits, Too
Getting your bowels moving and keeping you regular are the most-talked-about benefits of yellow dragon fruit, but it’s good for you in other ways, too. Other health benefits of dragon fruit, both red and yellow, include:
It’s Good for Your Immune System
Dragon fruit is full of vitamin C, which helps your immune system, Dr. Akhtar says. Having a strong immune system can help you fight off illnesses. It also helps your body form muscle, cartilage, and blood vessels.
It’s Full of Antioxidants
Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which are substances that counteract free radicals that damage your cells and increase your risk for diseases like diabetes and cancer.
And, research suggests that dragon fruit might have higher antioxidant levels than other tropical fruits, including mango, lychee, and papaya.
It Helps Fight Inflammation
Eating dragon fruit every day has been linked to lower inflammation, research shows. Reducing inflammation can reduce your risk for chronic conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
It Benefits Your Metabolism
The high fiber and carbohydrate-rich nature of dragon fruit allows for a controlled release of energy, Nelson says. “Foods high in fiber are beneficial for the gut microbiome, lowering cholesterol, managing blood sugar levels, and helping individuals feel full throughout the day.”
How to Eat Yellow Dragon Fruit
If you’ve never tried yellow dragon fruit, its texture is similar to a kiwi or watermelon. It has a sweet, earthy flavor.
You can eat it by itself by slicing it in half and scooping the flesh out with a spoon.
Another option is to cube it and add the fruit to a salad, Nelson says. Dragon fruit also works well tossed whizzed into a smoothie.
How Much Dragon Fruit Should You Eat?
You should aim to eat at least 2 cups of fruit every day, Nelson says. If you’re not used to eating so much fiber, it’s best not to eat too much too quickly.
“If you’re currently eating only small amounts of fiber each day, increase fiber consumption by a couple of grams or perhaps by one fruit per day,” she adds.
Eating too much dragon fruit, more than a couple a day, might give you fiber overload, which could upset your stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“More than a serving a couple of times a week or eating more than one dragon fruit in a day likely means too much sugar, and potentially a cathartic bowel movement,” Dr. Akhtar says.
Erica Sweeney is a writer who mostly covers health, wellness and careers. She has written for The New York Times, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Parade, Money, Business Insider and many more.