What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitahaya or strawberry pear, is a tropical fruit known for its vibrant red skin and sweet, spicy pulp. Its unique look and acclaimed superfood powers have made it popular with foodies and health-conscious people.
Dragon fruit is a food that grows on a climbing cactus called Hylocereus, which you will find in tropical regions around the world. The name of the plant comes from the Greek word “hyle,” which means “woody,” and the Latin word “cereus,” which means “waxen.” Outside, the fruit looks like a hot pink or yellow bulb with spike-like green leaves that shoot like flames around it.
Taste of Dragon Fruits
Dragon Fruit tastes like a mixture of pear and kiwi. The very first time you cut this fruit, it might seem like an Oreo smoothie because of its white pulp and tiny black seeds. This tropical fruit has a lot of health benefits, and this is why you need to add this fruit to your daily diet.
Benefits of Dragon Fruit
High in Nutrients
Dragon fruit is a low-calorie food rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, fibers and minerals and is believed to contain phytonutrients to prevent a number of diseases. Here is the nutritional profile of the fruit.
|Vitamin C||3% of the RDI|
|Iron||4% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||10% of the RDI|
Help in Chronic disease
Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage, which can lead to inflammation and disease. One way to combat this is by eating antioxidant-rich foods such as dragon fruit. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, preventing cell damage and inflammation. Studies suggest that diets high in antioxidants can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc
Dragon fruit contains various types of potent antioxidants:
Vitamin C: Observational studies found correlations between the intake of vitamin C and the risk of cancer.
Betalains: Test-tube studies show that betalains can fight oxidative stress and have the ability to suppress cancer cells.
Carotenoids: Beta-carotene and lycopene are plant pigments that give dragon fruit its vibrant colour. Diets rich in carotenoids have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.
Loaded with Fiber
Dietary fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates with an extensive list of potential health benefits. Health authorities are recommending 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams for men. Like antioxidants, fiber supplements do not have the same health benefits as food fibers. Increased consumption of fiber-rich foods may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Dragon fruit is a good source of dietary fiber, therefore it is not only great for the heart, but it also helps to maintain blood pressure and weight.
Rich in Antioxidant
Vibrant in colour, which also means that dragon fruit is filled with phytonutrients that can give you the much-needed dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants help in the fight against free radicals that could damage your cells and lead to cancer. A diet rich in antioxidants is said to keep your heart healthy and your skin young.
Dragon fruits are packed with fiber and antioxidants, they both contribute to keeping the heart healthy and young. They fight plaque clogging in the arteries, maintaining the circulation of blood in the body.
Skin Care and Fights with ageing skin
Exotic fruit is commonly used in natural beauty remedies due to its high antioxidant content as well as vitamins. Ancient beauty practices in Southeast Asian countries believe that making Dragon Fruit Paste and applying it regularly to the face can help to slow down the aging process, making you look younger. The paste is also used in the treatment of acne and sunburn.
Faster ageing can be caused by stress, pollution and other factors such as poor diet, etc. However, it is a rich source of antioxidants that can treat sunburn, dry skin and acne. Its vitamin C content can help to make the skin brighter. You can prepare the fruit juice of the dragon and drink it once a day for the radiant skin.
High in Potassium
Dragon fruit is packed with essential minerals, particularly potassium and calcium, which help to maintain bone structure. Regular potassium intake is vital to the cellular, electrical, nervous functions of our body. Simply put, potassium plays a key role in maintaining the body’s water content, pH or acid balance.
Since dragon fruit is a good source of vitamin C, it helps to strengthen immunity, to help the body absorb iron, to produce collagen that makes our teeth healthier, and to promote healthy and glowing skin. Vitamin C also helps boost your immunity, preventing you from getting sick.
Reduces the risk of Diabetes
This fruit contains high levels of fibre, which maintains blood sugar levels and prevents spikes among people suffering from diabetes. Regular consumption of this fruit can help balance blood sugar levels and prevent further medical consequences for diabetics.
Reduces the risk of Cancer
This fruit contains anti-cancer properties that can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Its high source of vitamin C has an important role to play in boosting the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that prevents chronic diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, etc.
Helps in immunity-boosting
This fruit contains high levels of vitamin C that increase immunity and help you stay healthy. More Vitamin C means that your body is capable of fighting deadly infections that you may be prone to. All you need to do is consume 1 cup (200 grams) of this fruit every day and stay healthy.
Helps in Digestion
This fruit has a rich source of oligosaccharides (carbohydrate) which contributes to the growth of good bacteria, such as flora, which helps to digest smoothly. It is packed with high fiber that also helps in digestive health, reduces your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Good bone health can contribute to many factors, such as avoiding injuries, joint pain and so on. This superfruit contains 18% magnesium which helps to maintain stronger bones and good bone health. All you need to do is drink a glass of dragon fruit smoothie every day.
Dragon Fruit Recipes
Dragon fruit is often eaten on its own, either cut or eaten out of the skin. You can put the fruit cubes back in the skin shell to serve, or simply transfer to a serving dish and enjoy. Or use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of the dragon’s fruit for a nice presentation.
Dragon fruit pairs perfectly with fish dishes, in particular cod, tuna and mahi-mahi. Serve the fruit sideways or chop finely and place it as a salsa on top of the fish. Dragon fruit works well with almost any tropical fruit, so mix it with mango, papaya or pineapple. The sweet taste of Dragon fruit also makes some delicious drinks as well as frozen desserts.
How to store Dragon Fruits?
Ripe dragon fruit can be kept on the counter for a couple of days. To store the fruit longer, place it in a sealed plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. This fruit can pick up the flavors and smells of other foods, so it needs to be well wrapped.Don’t cut the fruit of your dragon until you’re ready to eat it. Once cut, it needs to be refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. Once the flesh starts to turn brown and get mushy, it’s time to throw it away.