Social media loves a food trend, but we wanted to check with an expert to see what the deal really is with yellow dragon fruit – the food that’s got TikTok in a tizzy.
In case you haven’t seen, a number of users of the video-sharing app have been rushing out to get their hands on yellow dragon fruit, aka yellow pitaya.
Word on the street is that it acts as a natural laxative and is thus good for constipation, as well as so-called detoxing.
It all seems to have started with a post by influencer and podcaster Halley Kate, who posted a clip describing how she tried the fruit on a whim and found it had a pretty strong impact on her.
Halley claimed eating the fruit caused her bowels to empty within the space of an hour, an effect that others have tried to emulate.
Although she urged followers to be careful of eating too many, the creator’s advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears. But is the practice safe, or even useful for our health?
Registered Nutritional Therapist Rachel Davies says that yellow dragon fruit serves as a source of fibre, which can help with constipation.
‘It is also a good source of antioxidants and nutrients such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Magnesium,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘As with other fruits high in fibre such as kiwi fruits, eating a lot in one sitting is likely to cause a laxative effect, especially in those who usually have a low fibre intake (which may explain some of the experiences that have been documented).
‘Equally, it is high in fructose which can cause bloating and diarrhoea in some individuals when eaten in excess.’
However, she takes issue with the idea of detoxing, either by consuming yellow dragon fruit or anything else.
@halleykate is the funniest person alive, only she would make a fruit sell out 😂😂 LMAO this was the weirdest reason for me to pick up a fruit, but they taste SOOO GOOD 💕 #yellowdragonfruit #laxatives #naturallaxative #dragonfruit #pooping
Rachel explains: ‘The notion that we need to be eating any one food to have healthy bowel movements and “detox” or “cleanse” is problematic.
‘In fact, the idea that we need to “detox” is misleading as the body has its own natural detox systems that are working all the time – in the liver, the kidneys, the bowels, the skin, the lymph and the lungs.
‘We can certainly support these detox systems to function effectively however, and the best way to do that is by eating a quality, varied, wholefood diet, that includes adequate intake of fibre (aim for 30g per day) from plant foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
‘Also staying hydrated, minimising caffeine and alcohol, prioritising sleep, managing stress, and moving our bodies daily – focusing on the basics.’
Those who equate… lengthy toilet trips with detox are also mistaken, as Rachel points out that it can stop you getting the nutrients you need.
‘Whilst chronic constipation is a matter of concern, regular episodes of diarrhoea, as has been intimated by many of these TikTok users, is also problematic,’ she explains.
‘The rapid transit time through the digestive tract may inhibit nutrient absorption and disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome, which is important not only for digestive health but overall wellbeing too.’
In other words, your body needs time to digest food and mess with your gut health.
Yellow dragon fruit should come with a warning 💩🚽 #guthealth #cleansing #healthtips #holisitichealth #whatilearned #healthtok
If you put well-rounded habits in place and you’re still having bowel issues, Rachel says it’s time to get a healthcare professional involved, because it could be a sign that there’s another underlying problem at play.
‘Chronic constipation should not be ignored,’ she says, ‘and can be a driving factor of many other symptoms such as skin issues, headaches and fatigue. Ultimately, we should be investigating what the root cause of the constipation is and addressing that rather than looking for quick fixes.’
She adds that variety is key for a healthy body and mind, and that a ‘balanced approach’ is both more realistic and better for you than seeking a ‘silver bullet when it comes to diet.’
There are also environmental factors at play when it comes to the food we choose.
Rachel says: ‘We should also be mindful of the cost and environmental impact of consuming these tropical fruits when we have so many great options that are grown on our own shores.
‘For example, stewed apples are also a good option to support healthy bowel movements.’
Get the basics down and look for seasonal, fresh food with a range of colours and textures, rather than focusing on any single ingredient. Your gut, the planet, and your wallet will thank you.
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