Is Dragon Fruit Good For Muscle Building? Dietitian Answers

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I’m excited to talk about dragon fruit because it’s not typically on a bodybuilder’s radar, even though it should be. Below, I’ll explain why you should incorporate it into your muscle-building diet and whether you can eat it pre and post-workout. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dragon fruit is great to add to your bodybuilding diet because it provides fast-digesting carbs for energy, fiber that supports gut health, and magnesium, which is crucial for supporting healthy testosterone levels.
  • Dragon fruit should be consumed 30-60 minutes before training. You can pair it with a protein source (e.g., a protein shake or cottage cheese) for a balanced snack and a steadier release of energy.

Dragon Fruit: Overview

nutritional content of dragon fruit


Dragon fruit has a lower calorie content than other fruits, providing 135 calories per 1 cup. 

This means dragon fruit is a fantastic option to have along with watermelon, grapefruit, strawberries, and mangoes during a cutting phase, where your calorie targets are lower.

You can also eat dragon fruit while bulking. But you should blend it into a juice and add extra calories, carbs, and fat.  


Dragon fruit provides mostly carbs with almost no protein and zero dietary fats. 

It offers just under 13 grams of carbs and 1.2 grams of protein per 100 grams.

One benefit of dragon fruit is that it provides a decent amount of fiber, with one cup offering 6.5 grams, or 26% of your daily needs.

A high fiber intake is necessary for good health and contributes to satiety, which is particularly beneficial during a cut when you’re more prone to being hungry. 

Here’s a brief explanation from Registered Dietitian Jeremy Partl

“When you eat high-fiber foods, this increased bulk takes up more space in your stomach. This is directly related to fullness because your stomach is a “volume counter” rather than a “calorie counter.” The more space you take up with food or fluids, the fuller you feel.”


Dragon fruit is low in micronutrients compared to other fruits. It has vitamins B3 and C, which are quite low and insufficient to cover even a percentage of your daily needs.

The only micronutrient in a high enough dose is magnesium––100 grams of dragon fruit cover 10% of the daily needs for men and 13% for women.

Adequate magnesium intakes are crucial for optimal testosterone levels, muscle function, and reducing the risk of muscle cramps

Some research also suggests magnesium can help with glycose availability, allowing your body to get energy for physical activity more efficiently. 

Pros Of Eating Dragon Fruit

pros of eating dragon fruit

1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Dragon fruit is a good source of antioxidants: flavonoids, betacyanin, and phenolic acid, which can limit inflammation in the body. 

These compounds can protect healthy cells and limit soreness caused by intense workouts. The result is improved muscle recovery.

2. Better Gut Health

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in the gut and intestines.

Aside from the health and quality of life benefits (for instance, there appears to be a strong link between the gut and mental health), the gut may play a role in muscle growth.

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

Although the study was done on mice, its findings are interesting, and we may get human research in the future. 

Dragon fruit is high in prebiotics, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut and supports their growth, promoting a more diverse microbiome. 


“A healthy gut supports optimal nutrient absorption, enhances immune function, and regulates inflammation, all crucial for maximizing athletic performance and recovery.”

Navneet Kaur, Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

3. Helps You Cut Down Calories

Fiber is something that you cannot digest. As such, it stays longer in your stomach, meaning you feel fuller for longer.

Dragon fruit provides a decent amount of fiber (2.9 grams per 100 grams of fruit), which makes it a good food to eat during a cut

It’s low in calories and can fill you up, making it easier to stick to a calorie-restricted diet for fat loss.

Con of Eating Dragon Fruit

con of eating dragon fruit

Potential Stomach Problems

As mentioned, dragon fruit provides some fiber. The problem is that too much fiber in one sitting can make you feel uncomfortably full and may lead to stomach cramps or gas.

However, it’s worth noting that you’d have to eat at least one, maybe even two cups, to experience any stomach discomfort. 

This is more likely to happen during a cut when you feel hungry and want to snack without exceeding your daily calorie allowance.  

As such, if you know you’re sensitive to eating a high amount of fiber in a single meal, then be mindful of how much dragon fruit you eat. 

Can You Eat Dragon Fruit Before Workouts?

Dragon fruit is a good food for pre-workout, providing fast-digesting carbs to support your performance. You should go for a ripe one, as it will be easier to digest, and you can enjoy it as little as 30-60 minutes before your session. 

Ripe dragon fruit typically has smoother skin and a bright pink color.

dragon fruit before workouts

Research recommends having 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight approximately an hour before training. 

For someone who weighs 80 kilograms (176 pounds), that would mean aiming for 80 grams of carbs, the equivalent of 615 grams of dragon fruit, which is a lot to have in one sitting.

The primary reason is that this serving of dragon fruit will also provide 17.8 grams of fiber, which is too much to have before training as it can slow digestion, make you uncomfortably full, and impair your performance.

So, a better option would be to have around one cup of dragon fruit (29 grams of carbs) and get the remaining carbs from other foods, preferably low-fiber ones––for example, cereal with milk and a tablespoon of honey.

Can You Eat Dragon Fruit After Workouts?

Dragon fruit is a good source to replenish your energy levels after your workout. 

It has easy-to-digest carbs to help refuel your body and is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce muscle inflammation and boost muscle recovery.

Data shows having at least 0.3 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight post-workout. 

For an 80-kilogram (176-pound) bodybuilder, that means having at least 24 grams of carbs soon after training, the equivalent of just over ¾ cup of dragon fruit.

This rule applies for both bulking and cutting.

A downside of dragon fruit is that it lacks the protein a bodybuilder needs after training. Protein is essential to have after training to help repair muscle tissue and promote growth. 

According to research, you should aim for 0.3 to 0.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight following a workout. So, when having dragon fruit, pair it with high-protein foods like Greek yogurt or protein powder.

Does Dragon Fruit Help Muscle Growth?

Being in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn) is necessary for muscle growth

You must also eat enough protein (at least 1.6 grams per kilogram daily) and include healthy fat sources like avocado, fatty fish, and egg yolk for hormonal health.

In this regard, dragon fruit would not be an ‘ideal’ food for bulking, as it doesn’t provide many calories (only 60 per 100 grams) and lacks protein and healthy fats.

That said, dragon fruit can still be beneficial for muscle growth. As discussed above, this fruit contains antioxidants, which may limit inflammation and improve muscle recovery.

So, don’t be afraid to include dragon fruit in your bulking diet, especially as part of a pre-workout snack. 

Just be mindful of its satiating effect and track your nutrition to ensure it doesn’t keep you from getting the necessary calories for growth in your other meals.


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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, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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