Dragon fruit health benefits, how to eat, how to pick the best dragon fruit and as a bonus healthy dragon fruit recipe.
These are the topics about this healthy fruit that we want to discuss here today.
But first, let’s see what is dragon fruit and where it comes from.
The pitaya is one of nature’s most unique plants, with a flower-like an explosion of flame and a fruit like a pink rosebud.
Widely known as dragon fruit, it is indigenous to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam.
The dragon fruit is one of several cactus species and, just like its relatives, has a succulent stem that provides a uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it typically grows.
Dragon fruit looks like a soft pineapple with spikes and can have either pink, red or yellow skin and white or red flesh.
The fruit also has overlaid or scale-like leaves, similar to an artichoke, and an abundance of small, black edible seeds.
Its flavor is mildly sweet, like a blend of kiwifruit and pear, and has a crunchy texture.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Because dragon fruit is full of vitamins and nutrients and offers potentially disease-fighting antioxidants, it probably comes as no surprise that eating this fruit regularly can have a positive influence on your health and wellness.
Here’s a look at some of the possible benefits you can receive from dragon fruit.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Dragon fruit might be the perfect food if you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health and possibly help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Because of the antioxidants in the fruit, and the fact that its seeds — which are edible — provide your body with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eating the fruit may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
Improving your cholesterol can help reduce plaque buildup in your arteries, which promotes healthy blood flow.
Supports Your Immune System
People who have a weakened immune system are more susceptible to a variety of illnesses. This can include the common cold and flu and infections.
Dragon fruit contains vitamin C, which can give your immune system a boost and defend your body against foreign invaders (germs and bacteria) and free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms in the body that can lead to cell damage.
Aids Your Digestion
The dietary fiber in dragon fruit also can help promote healthy digestion and gut health.
Adults need between 21 and 38 g of fiber per day.
About 100 g of dragon fruit contains 2.9 g of fiber or 11 percent of the daily value. Adequate dietary fiber contributes to bowel regularity and can prevent and treat constipation.
Read More: How To Restore Gut Health
Plays a Role in Cancer Prevention
Not only does the immune-boosting ability of vitamin C help prevent cancer, but red dragon fruit also contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives red fruits their color.
This antioxidant has been shown to help reduce cancerous cells in the body.
According to some reports, red dragon fruit extract may play a part in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, but researchers need to conduct more studies to determine its role in the chemoprevention of breast cancer.
Lowers Blood Sugar in Diabetes
The fiber in dragon fruit can also help people with type 2 diabetes stay fuller for longer and lose weight, helping normalize blood sugar levels.
Read More: Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Promotes Skin Health
Eating dragon fruit also carries benefits for the skin.
It may help reduce age spots, wrinkles, dry skin, and acne.
The potential skin benefits come from its vitamin C and antioxidants in the fruit.
These vitamins and minerals can play a role in gradually repairing cell damage, resulting in a more youthful appearance.
If you deal with chronic pain from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, eating dragon fruit might provide relief from inflammation and tenderness.
The fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that can function as a natural painkiller for these symptoms.
Even if eating the fruit doesn’t eliminate your pain, it might reduce the severity of your pain, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
Wards Off Anemia in Pregnancy
There’s an association between anemia during pregnancy and infant mortality, premature labor, miscarriages, and low birth weight.
A study published in the Belitung Nursing Journal looked at the possible effects of red dragon fruit on pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia and found that dragon fruit increased the hemoglobin and erythrocyte level in the seventh day of the intervention.
These findings have led researchers to believe that red dragon fruit juice could be an alternative treatment for anemia during pregnancy.
Even so, you should still speak with your doctor about ways to correctly manage anemia.
How to Select and Store Dragon Fruit for the Best Taste
There’s a good chance you’ve sidestepped dragon fruit for the familiar apple or orange when picking up produce at the grocery store.
Selecting exotic fruit may seem intimidating. Where do you buy dragon fruit? How do you know if it’s ripe? How do you store it?
Your concerns are understandable, but selecting and storing dragon fruit is much easier than you think.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t purchase a dragon fruit with many bruises or brown marks.
One or two small spots are okay, but avoid fruit covered with many blemishes.
Ideally, you’ll purchase the fruit when it is ripe. A bright and even color is an indication of ripeness.
You can also identify a good dragon fruit by gently pressing the skin with your finger. It should yield a little, but it shouldn’t feel too soft.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to purchase a very firm dragon fruit. Just know that it’ll be a few days before it ripens and you’re able to eat it.
‘How Do I Eat a Dragon Fruit?’ Preparation and Cooking Tips
Once you are ready to dig into your dragon fruit, cut the fruit in half or quarters, peel off the skin, and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.
Whatever you don’t finish, place in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge for up to five days.
Or store the fruit in the freezer for up to three months.
This is perfect if you plan to make smoothies with the fruit. Unlike other types of fruit, the skin of dragon fruit isn’t edible.
One of the best things about dragon fruit is its versatility.
Some people scoop out the flesh and eat the fruit by itself. Another option is tossing dragon fruit in a bowl with pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, or strawberries for a summer salad.
You could also blend dragon fruit with other fruit into a smoothie. You can even add the fruit to yogurts or ice cream.
Dragon Fruit Healthy Recipe:
Truly Tropical Fruit Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl Recipe
- 2 cups frozen dragon fruit cubes
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or raw grass-fed yogurt
- 1 banana
- In a blender, liquefy the ingredients.
- Serve into two bowls (or freeze half of the portion for later).
- Add toppings of choice and enjoy.
- This recipe makes 2 servings.
- Preparation/total time: 10 minutes
One of the main reasons that dragon fruit is so unique is because the plant tends to live only for one night!
First, a climbing cactus produces beautiful pink or yellow flowers.
Once these flowers bloom from evening to midnight, they are pollinated by moths and bats.
Before dawn hits, the flowers wither and die. This event is a major reason why dragon fruit is sometimes called “moonflower,” “lady of the night.”
However, as The East London Garden Society points out, the plant can produce fruits at least six times per year.
Conclusion: Dragon fruit has great taste and it is rich with vitamins and nutrients so it is good to add it to your fit.
As we see from all written above the health benefits of dragon fruit are numerous and the best is that you can eat raw, put in salads or make healthy and tasty smoothies.