Is Dragon Fruit Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)

There is a variety of fruits available on the market. All of them have similar characteristics where they provide carbs to help you fuel your training. However, not all fruits are adequate for a bodybuilder. Some fruits are better than others.

So, is dragon fruit good or bad for bodybuilding?

Dragon fruit is a perfect fruit to add to your diet if you are a bodybuilder. They provide the necessary energy for your workouts, in addition to being high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help boost immunity and muscle recovery.  The exact amount to eat depends on whether you are in a bulking or cutting phase.

In this article, I will teach you everything you need to learn about dragon fruit and bodybuilding.

  • The calories and macronutrients found in dragon fruit.
  • The pros and the cons of adding this fruit if you are a bodybuilder.
  • Whether you can eat dragon fruit before or after training.
  • How dragon fruit affects muscle growth.
  • How to make a fantastic recipe with dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit For Bodybuilding: Overview

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Nutrition Content of Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit has the following serving for 100 g of fruit.

  • Calories: 60
  • Carbs: 12.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.9 g
  • Fats: 0 g
  • Protein: 1.2 g

Calories

Dragon fruit is one of the fruits lower in calories. One cup of fruit (which weighs 225 g approximately) has 135 kcal.

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, where the calories are restricted to lose fat mass, this is one of the top fruits to add, along with watermelon, grapefruit, strawberries, and mangoes. They are both a great option of fruit when looking to cut down calories.

For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, although it doesn’t provide a lot of calories to have a caloric surplus to gain muscle mass, it has the advantage that you can create juice or out of it, or add it to a protein shake. In these ways, you can increase its caloric density rather quickly. 

Macronutrients

Dragon fruit is a high-carb food. A bodybuilder’s primary energy source derives from carbs, which means you need to have a good carb intake to ensure you don’t feel low energy during the day or when training. 

Although 100 g of dragon fruit doesn’t provide a lot of carbs (it barely provides 13 g), the benefit is that you can increase the grams according to the number of carbs you need during the day. 

One of the benefits of dragon fruit is its high fiber content. One cup of dragon fruit provides 6.5 g of fiber, which means it has 26% of the recommended daily fiber intake. A high fiber intake during the day improves gut health and provides satiety during the day (i.e. you’ll feel full for longer without getting hungry).

However, even if it has a good number of carbs per serving, dragon fruit still lacks the other two macronutrients. Whenever you decide to add dragon fruit, you can add a cup of Greek yogurt to increase the protein and some nuts to increase healthy fats. 

Micronutrients

Besides being low in calories, dragon fruit is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. It is high in vitamin C and magnesium. Here is why you should include these nutrients if you are a bodybuilder.

  • Vitamin C. It strengthens your immune system making you less likely to get sick. It also helps increase collagen synthesis, which means that your ligaments and tendons are stronger.
  • Magnesium. It helps prevent injuries, muscle cramps, and it helps flexibility. Having low levels of magnesium can also increase your fatigue after training. Some studies have shown that it could help have glucose more available in the body. This means that it is faster for your body to get energy. 

Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Bodybuilding.

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

3 Pros Of Eating Dragon Fruit For Bodybuilding

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Not only does dragon fruit provide a lot of benefits for a bodybuilder. One of them is that it provides the necessary energy. Here are some other benefits of adding dragon fruit if you are a bodybuilder. 

1. Boosts Immunity

Since dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, it has potent immunity properties.

Vitamin C has been widely studied for its cold-fighting properties. If you get sick, you are less likely to go to the gym, which means fewer training sessions could affect your overall performance.

After 3-4 weeks of being inactive, you can find a reduction in your muscle mass. That is why it is important to have a healthy and functioning immune system. 

2. Better Gut Health

Our gut microbiome consists of the bacteria we have living in our intestines. They greatly influence our overall health. It has been shown that there is a strong connection between the bacteria we have in our gut and how our brain works. It has also been reported that people with obesity have different bacteria from those people that have a leaner body.

However, you might be wondering, what does it have to do with bodybuilding?

In a study done on mice, it was found that the mice that had better gut health had less inflammation in their bodies. The mice that had a disrupted gut microbiome had trouble gaining muscle mass.

Although the study is done on mice, it is interesting to find that there are several benefits to having a healthy gut. Dragon fruit is high in prebiotics, the foods that our bacteria need to stay active and healthy. Thus this fruit helps develop a healthy gut microbiome. 

3. Helps You Cut Down Calories

Fiber is the part of the carb that you cannot digest. Also, since it takes longer to digest, it stays longer in your stomach, which means that you feel fuller for longer.

Dragon fruit is a fruit very high in fiber. 

For bodybuilders that are in a cutting phase, this is the perfect food to add. Not only is it low in calories, but it also has a good amount of fiber that helps you provide satiety. The fuller you feel during the day, the more calories you are able to cut back without feeling hunger. 

1 Con of Eating Dragon Fruit For Bodybuilding

One of the biggest drawbacks of dragon fruit is its lack of protein, which is an essential macronutrient for a bodybuilder. It can also cause some gastric distress in some people, which might affect performance. Here is why you should avoid dragon fruit if you are a bodybuilder. 

Stomach Problems

Due to its acidic nature, dragon fruit might cause acid reflux or irritate your stomach. Both conditions are not wanted for a bodybuilder since they might affect their overall performance.

Although it is good to have a high fiber intake, people that are not used to it might have some gastric distress for having too much fiber all of a sudden. This can lead to bloating and could affect your training session. 

Can You Eat Dragon Fruit Before Workouts?

Although dragon fruit is not as acidic as orange or grapefruit, it might still cause some gastric distress in some people, which may impact performance if eaten before a workout. If the fruit is overripe, this means that it is sweeter instead of acidic. So ensure you pick a dragon fruit that is overripe pre-workout. 

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If you don’t have any bloating from eating dragon fruit, you can have it 30-60 minutes before a workout. If you find that you get symptoms from eating it, try to have it 2-3 hours before your workout. You can even combine it with a banana to make it easier to digest and provide more carbs and fast-acting energy.

If you are a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, 1 cup of dragon fruit provides the energy you need to have an intense workout. There are some carbs left for you to add a small banana to the mix.

On the other hand, if you are a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you can have 2 cups of dragon fruit before your workout. If you find this too much, you can always blend it, so it is easier to digest and consume.

Since dragon fruit doesn’t provide any protein or fats, you can add some whenever you have this fruit. This way, it offers steadier energy. Add some protein powder or cottage cheese to increase the protein intake. 

Can You Eat Dragon Fruit After Workouts?

Dragon fruit is a great source to replenish your energy levels after your workout. It has easy-to-digest carbs to help refuel your body. It is also high in antioxidants, which help decrease the inflammation you have in your body, leading to increased recovery.

You need carbs after you exercise to help replenish the energy lost during exercise. If the energy is not replenished, the body starts using other sources to help it get refueled. This means that instead of using protein for muscle building, it gets used as energy. 

When you add a carb source, such as dragon fruit, you prevent this from happening.

Adding antioxidants after your training session helps decrease inflammation, which in the end leads to improved recovery. Dragon fruit is very high in antioxidants, which means it is a great fruit to add after a hard training session.

One of the negative aspects of dragon fruit is that it lacks the protein a bodybuilder needs after training. Protein is essential to have after training to help repair muscles, and this, in the end, leads to growth in muscle mass. Whenever you add dragon fruit, add a protein source like Greek yogurt. You can also add healthy fat, like nuts or seeds.

For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you can have 2-3 cups of dragon fruit. If this seems like a lot, you can blend it into a smoothie or add another fruit to the mix. Suppose you are a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. In that case, 1-2 cups provide the necessary carbs, and since it has a lot of fiber, it will increase your satiety levels. 

Does Dragon Fruit Help Muscle Growth?

Dragon fruit helps increase your caloric intake for you to have a caloric surplus, leading to increased muscle mass. However, you still need to add the other macronutrients to the equation. For optimal muscle growth, add along with dragon fruit a protein source and a fat source.

With that said, dragon fruit is a low calorie fruit, and if you are truly bulking, then you’ll probably want to opt for another type of fruit that is higher in calories.  For this, I like dried fruit.  

Check out my other articles on: 

Dragon Fruit Recipe For Bodybuilding

You cannot find something more refreshing than a smoothie fruit bowl, especially after your training and it is hot outside.

This delicious recipe provides all the macronutrients you need to have the optimal recovery post-training. You can also have it 1-2 hours before your training. I hope you enjoy it!

Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl Recipe For Bodybuilding

Macros

  • Calories: 565
  • Carbs: 87.1 g
  • Fats: 11.1 g
  • Protein: 30.8 g 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of frozen dragon fruit
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Add the frozen dragon fruit, banana, protein powder, honey, and almond milk in a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  2. If you want the smoothie to be thicker, decrease the almond milk, or if you want it less creamy, add more almond milk.
  3. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with some coconut flakes or any topping of your choice. 

Tips

  • You can add extra toppings like hemp seeds, chia seeds or flaxseed.
  • If you want to have it 30-60 minutes before training, remove the protein powder and decrease the fat content. 

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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.