10 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Dragon Fruit Peel


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through the links. Read the disclaimer for more information.

Some say dragon fruit skin is poisonous and should never be eaten, yet others claim that they are nutritious and can even improve your mood tremendously. 

Research showed that dragon fruit skins are rich in antioxidants, pectins, betacyanin, vitamins, and dietary fibers.

Realizing the amazing nutritional benefits of dragon fruit peel, researchers have done several studies and develop numerous method to salvaged and maximize dragon fruit peel’s usage and minimize wastage.

Backed by studies and real-life experiences, the following are some of the surprising benefits and uses of dragon fruit skin that not many have realized.

1. Dragon fruit peel is rich in anthocyanin and antioxidants

Dragon fruit peel contains a high amount of anthocyanin, a natural color pigment that gives fruits or plants their red-orange to blue-purple color.

What makes anthocyanin so valuable to our health is the fact that they are potent antioxidants.

Several studiesOpens in a new tab. and human clinical trials have been made to investigate the health effects of anthocyanin to our body, most of which can be said are due to the effect of their antioxidants properties.

The following are some of the key findings on the health effects of anthocyanins.

Anti-diabetic

Anthocyanins have been shown to help in the reduction of the risk of diabetes.

A study Opens in a new tab.done on rodents shows that anthocyanin prevents insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce oxidative stress.

A clinical trialOpens in a new tab. involving 58 diabetic patients also demonstrated that purified anthocyanin supplementation exerts beneficial metabolic effects on type 2 diabetes subjects.

Furthermore, traditional Chinese medicines have been using Cornus fruits that are rich in anthocyanin to treat diabetes.

Anti-cancer

Several studies have linked anthocyanin as having anti-cancer property.

One study published in the US National Library of MedicineOpens in a new tab. shows that anthocyanins in black raspberries prevent esophageal tumors in rats.

According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, anthocyanins can help prevent breast cancer.

Anthocyanin anti-breast cancer properties are also shown on another researchOpens in a new tab. where blueberry anthocyanins prevent the growth of breast cancer cell lines. 

Anti-obesity

Numerous studies suggest that anthocyanins exert an anti-obesity effect.

In one studyOpens in a new tab. done on a high fat diet-induced mouse, anthocyanin has shown to suppressed weight gain and improve blood lipid profiles by preventing lipid accumulation.

Other findingOpens in a new tab. suggested anthocyanins is a functional food factor that may prevent obesity and diabetes.

Prevent cardiovascular diseases (heart disease)

Preliminary researchOpens in a new tab. suggested that anthocyanins demonstrate cardioprotective effects and may be helpful to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. 

In addition, a report published in Nutrition Reviews in 2010 suggested that anthocyanins may improve heart health by improving cholesterol levels, blood glucose metabolism, and provide protection against oxidative stress.

Anti-microbial

Laboratory findingsOpens in a new tab. suggested that flavonoids including anthocyanins have antimicrobial effects against many microorganisms and can especially prevent the growth of foodborne pathogens.

Anthocyanins can lead to microbial toxicity through several mechanisms including the destruction of the bacterial cell wall.

Improve visual health

Several studies have found that anthocyanins have positive effects on visual functionOpens in a new tab..

One studyOpens in a new tab. done on anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract indicated that anthocyanin can protect visual function during retinal inflammation.

Anthocyanin can also potentially prevent cataractsOpens in a new tab. and reduce retinal degenerationOpens in a new tab..

Check out this popular zero-sugar dragon-fruit flavored vitamin water Opens in a new tab.loaded with antioxidant Vitamin C

2. Dragon fruit peel is a great source of soluble dietary fiber

The skin of dragon fruit is rich in dietary fiber, a type of plant carbohydrates that our guts cannot digest and needed to be flushed out of our body.

You must have heard often to “eat more fiber”, or “include fiber in your diet”, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Well, this is because fibers can make you feel full for much longer and is packed with lots of health benefits.

The amazing benefits of dietary fiber include:

  1. Improving bowel movements and promoting overall bowel health
  2. Maintaining blood sugar level
  3. Lowering cholesterol levels
  4. Reduce the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.

Researchers find it wasteful to just throw away the dragon fruit skin which contains a high amount of fibers.

This leads the researchers to develop several methodsOpens in a new tab. of extracting and preparing high quality soluble dietary fiber from dragon fruit peel to efficiently maximize the benefits of dragon fruit.

3. Dragon fruit peel makes a delicious and healthy dessert

Due to the incredible health benefits of dragon fruit peel, researchers have invented methods to use them in desserts.

Example of desserts that can be created with dragon fruit peel is jelliesOpens in a new tab. and jamsOpens in a new tab..

This is due to the fact that dragon fruit peel is rich in pectin, a compound that is found naturally in fruits.

Pectin can be thickened when heated together with sugar, forming jams and jellies.

The created dragon fruit jams and jellies are said to have a sweet and sour taste and has an antioxidant effect, can prevent aging, improve eyesight, maintain youth and beauty, inhibit dementia, and other health effects.

Other dragon fruit peel dessert preparation methods that have been studied and tested by researchers include using dragon fruit peel in the puddingOpens in a new tab., egg tartOpens in a new tab., cakesOpens in a new tab., and biscuitsOpens in a new tab..

The researchers even go as far as claiming that these creatively created dragon fruit desserts are tasty and savory, anti-aging, promoting skin health, helps relaxing bowels and moistens the lung.

In addition, a student from the Natural Science State University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, has created yogurt from dragon fruit peel (Hylocereus costaricensis) that can allegedly reduce cholesterol.

This amazing dragon fruit powderOpens in a new tab. is the most popular with consumers. It makes a perfect addition for protein shakes, smoothies, breakfast bowls, and more!

4. Dragon fruit peel can be made into a nourishing and anti-aging skin-beautifying facial mask

You might have heard or made a DIY facial mask using dragon fruit pulpOpens in a new tab..

But you probably haven’t heard of anyone making a homemade facial mask using the dragon fruit peel.

Surprisingly, researchers claim that dragon fruit peel that is rich in nutrients, organic acids, proteins, and antioxidants are very beneficial to your skin.

For this reason, researchers have invented methods to use dragon fruit peel as the raw ingredients for facial maskOpens in a new tab. or facial mask powderOpens in a new tab..

These nourishing dragon fruit peel facial masks are claimed to have the benefits of anti-aging, improving skin texture, enhancing skin smoothness, and improving the blood circulation of skin tissue.

The skin-beautifying effects of dragon fruit peel are mainly contributed by the high amount of potent antioxidants in them.

Antioxidants protect and maintain the health of our skin by restricting the production of free radicals, which can cause skin cells damage.

Furthermore, antioxidantsOpens in a new tab. can protect and promote skin firming, reduction of skin wrinkles, and treating sun damage.

5. Dragon fruit peel can be made into nutritious and low-cost-production tea

To make the most of the health benefits of dragon fruit peel, researchers from China have invented a method to prepare tea from dragon fruit peelOpens in a new tab.

This creative invention not only is able to convert waste (normally discarded dragon fruit skin) to wealth, it can also produce highly nutritious tea.

The preparation of this tea uses the combination of dragon fruit peel and the Guangxi wild sweet tea that has a high nutritional value.

This combination improves the health efficacy, taste, and palatability of the resulting tea product.

Some people also use dragon fruit peel as delicious herbal or medicinal teaOpens in a new tab..

6. Dragon fruit peel can remove dandruff and promote healthy scalp

Some people claimed that dragon fruit peel can reduce dandruff.

In particular, people living in the southern city of China, where dragon fruit is a common fruit, uses dragon fruit peel as a treatment for dandruff.

When showering, they would crush out juices of dragon fruit peel and smeared it on their heads.

Researchers have even created a shampooOpens in a new tab. that can restore hair and remove dandruff by using fresh skin of dragon fruit as one of their raw ingredients.

This shampoo is capable of efficiently supply the hair with nutrition, prevent hair damage, and promote scalp health by improving the blood circulation of the scalp, as well as refreshes and cleans the scalp.

7. Dragon fruit peel as juice or beverage

Dragon fruit juice is not uncommon.

But what if you can add the dragon fruit juice peel in as well without discarding them?

According to researchersOpens in a new tab., juicing out a whole fruit of dragon fruit together with its skin not only upgraded its nutritional value but it also significantly lowered the production cost.

A beverage made out of dragon fruit peel has also been studiedOpens in a new tab. and showed obvious health care effects especially in lowering blood pressure.

8. Dragon fruit peel can be used as a healthier alternative of food colorant

Dragon fruit peel especially the skin of red dragon fruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus) is rich in natural dyes called betacyanin and can be used as an alternative to the synthetic dyes.

A studyOpens in a new tab. was done on beef sausages showed that red dragon fruit peel extract contains natural antioxidant, act as an effective antimicrobial agent, and can increase the yellow coloration on the beef sausage.

Furthermore, the Philippine Information AgencyOpens in a new tab. has published a piece of aspiring news about the successful production of pink noodles that are made from dragon fruit peel.

This quirky pink noodle was creatively created by a graduate of Food Technology and Assistant Professor of Food Product Development in the Philippines that hoped to transform the disregarded dragon fruit peel into a usable product.

9. Eating dragon fruit peel can boost energy, improves mood, focus, and motivation

Though no official studies have been made with regard to this particular effect of dragon fruit peel, some people claimed that dragon fruit peel has a positive effect on their focus and mood.

After eating dragon fruit peel, they would feel energized and become extremely focused and motivated all day long, especially if the dragon fruit peel is eaten first thing in the morning.

10. Dragon fruit peel can be sauteed into a vegetable dish

Surprisingly, dragon fruit skin can actually be used to cook a vegetable dish.

In Indonesia, a Javanese cuisine called Oseng-Oseng, uses dragon fruit peel as one of its main ingredients.

Oseng-oseng is an Indonesian local delicacy that is flavorful with a touch of spiciness that goes well with steamed rice.

You can use different types of main ingredients to prepare Oseng-oseng including baby corn, stinky bean, quail eggs, young banana flower, and even dragon fruit peel.

How to eat dragon fruit peel? 3 easy recipes that you can make at home

As I mentioned earlier, you can use dragon fruit peel to create numerous types of things including tea, dessert, vegetable dish, and facial mask.

However, not all methods have been done on a commercial scale.

The following are some of the tested dragon fruit peel recipes shared by dragon fruit lovers worldwide.

Safety tips: Pesticides usually stays on the surface of fruits’ skin, so it is recommended to wash your dragon fruit thoroughly to remove any pesticides that may have left on its peel before cutting or eating them. 

According to the Centre for Science and Environment, washing your fruits and vegetables with 2% salt water can remove most of the pesticide residues on their surface.

In case you don’t know how to peel off the dragon fruit skin, here is a video that shows you the easiest way to peel out dragon fruit skin.

Dragon Fruit Peel as mood and energy booster

Dragon fruit is thick and can be hard to bite on.

The best way to take on them is by pureeing the dragon fruit skin.

You can take a few tablespoons of dragon fruit peel puree and try mixing them in your breakfast.

This will make them a little bit more edible.

You can also store the remaining extra dragon fruit peel puree by freezing them.

The good thing about freezing them is that their taste will not be much different than the fresh puree even after being thawed.

It is advisable to take dragon fruit peel puree first thing in the morning as this will make you feel motivated all day long.

Dragon fruit peel vegetable dish

This is a local vegetable recipe shared by a fellow Indonesian called Osang-osang.

Basic ingredients:

  • Shallot and garlic (in a ratio of 2:1)
  • Blue ginger
  • Indonesian bay leaves
  • Bird’s eye chillies or big chilli cut into small pieces
  • Palm sugar
  • Natural raw sugar
  • Salt
  • Cooking oil

Main Ingredients:

  • Skin from one piece of dragon fruit (washed and sliced)

Optional ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced chicken or beef
  • Oyster Mushroom (for vegetarian)

Preparation of ingredients:

  1. Washed the dragon fruit thoroughly and peel off the skin.
  2. Sliced the skin into small long pieces.
  3. Sliced 4 cloves of shallot and cloves of garlic into medium thickness.
  4. Sliced 3 pieces of Bird’s Eye Chillies into small pieces. (Note: If you can’t stand spicy foods, you can use big chilies instead and take out their seeds to make them reduce their spiciness)
  5. Sliced the blue ginger into several thinly-sliced pieces.

Cooking directions:

  1. In a non-stick frying pan, add in a little bit of cooking oil (you can also use vegetable oil)
  2. Add in sliced shallot and garlic and cook until they soften (produce fragrant aroma).
  3. Add the sliced chilies, blue ginger, and bay leaves. Stir thoroughly until fragrant.
  4. Add the sliced chicken or oyster mushrooms.
  5. Add a little bit of water.
  6. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and natural raw sugar to taste.
  7. Add the sliced dragon fruit skin.
  8. Sprinkle a few pinches of palm sugar to bring out the aroma and taste.
  9. Add a small amount of water to make the mixture tender.
  10. Stir thoroughly until cooked and caramelized.

This dish is best enjoyed with a bowl of hot steamed rice.

Dragon fruit peel tea

Directions:

  1. Cut the dragon fruit peel into small pieces.
  2. Dry out the sliced dragon fruit peel under direct sunlight until completely dried (this usually takes around one to two days).
  3. Brew the dragon fruit peel tea by mixing hot water to the properly dried sliced dragon fruit peel.

You can also add sugar or honey to add sweetness to the brewed tea.

Can you eat the skin of dragon fruit? Though having an unpleasant taste, dragon fruit skin is packed with nutrients and can be eaten. The skin of dragon fruits is rich in antioxidants, pectins, betacyanin, vitamins, and soluble dietary fibers.

Is the skin of a dragon fruit poisonous? To date, no dragon fruit peel poisoning has been reported. Nevertheless, pesticides are usually left on the surface of fruit skin. You can remove most of the pesticides by washing them thoroughly with 2% salt water before eating.

Is dragon fruit good for constipation?

Eina Aivoges

Eina Aivoges is a certified health and wellness coach and a licensed medical laboratory scientist. She's also a foodie, avid coffee drinker, cat-lover, blogger, and traveler.

Recent Content