Red Dragon Fruit Versus White Dragon Fruit: What's The Difference?

Similar to kiwi, there are different types of dragon fruit that to the untrained eye look extremely similar. If you slice open a white dragon fruit you'll notice a white speckled flesh, while a peeled red dragon fruit has a magenta dotted interior. But how can you spot the difference without splitting it in half? While it might seem impossible, both red and white dragon fruits have subtle cues to help you differentiate.

When it comes to pointing out the difference, you'll first want to examine its scales and tips, also known as flowering tips. Krishi Jagran explains that red dragon fruits tend to have redder tips than white variations (which can also have yellow or white tips). Regarding the scales, red dragon fruits have narrow, curvy, and darker scales.

One 2021 study published in Scientific Reports states that key traits in the cladode (the flattened stem) of dragon fruit also help identify this fruit. These characteristics include the number of spines, the length of areoles, and the distance between areoles. During the study, the researchers found the number of spines to be the same in both red and white varieties. However, the length of the stem branches is slightly longer in red varieties. These branches can also be wavy or braided depending on the variety, points out Krishi Jagran. On the other hand, researchers found white dragon fruits are rounded and the fruit tends to be bigger in length.

Red and white dragon fruit health differences

Beyond adding a pop of color to your plate, dragon fruit is chock full of nutrients and health benefits. Also called strawberry pear or pitaya, registered dietitian Mira Ilic shares with Cleveland Clinic, that this fruit comes from a cactus native to South America and Mexico, but nowadays it's available almost anywhere. It's typically a sweet, sour-tasting, yet crunchy fruit. White dragon fruits tend to be the least sweet, but most popular. Whereas red dragon fruits are much sweeter. With that being said, Krishi Jagran recommends people with diabetes eat white dragon fruit varieties over red varieties to limit sugar intake.

The speckled flesh of dragon fruit also contains high amounts of fiber and antioxidants. In particular, it contains the following antioxidants: vitamin C, betalains, and carotenoids (via Healthline). And, red dragon fruits may have even more antioxidants than their white counterparts, points out Krishi Jagran. Nevertheless, these antioxidants may help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, shares Healthline.

Dragon fruit also helps support a healthy gut, by promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. One study published in Food Chemistry found that both red and white varieties stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria (also known as lactobacilli). So, whether you're team red or white dragon fruit, this tropical fruit can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Switch them up to add variety to your diet, or try other variations like yellow dragon fruit.