Dragon fruit, also known as cactus fruit, strawberry pear, or pitahaya is an exotic fruit that is native to Central America. It is now grown in many of the tropical Asian countries and is also available in the supermarkets worldwide. This superfruit has a vibrant pinkish-red skin with seed-speckled pulp. The texture and flavour of dragon fruit is a cross between kiwi and pear, and different varieties have different sweetness levels and flavours. It’s unique look and rich nutrition profile have made it much popular among the foodies and health-conscious people. This article highlights the types, nutrition profile, and the amazing health benefits of dragon fruit.
Types of Dragon Fruit
There are different varieties of dragon fruit. However, the three main ones include:
- Pitaya Blanca (Hylocereus undatus)
Pink/red skin, white flesh, and black seeds
- Pitaya Amarilla (Hylocereus megalanthus)
Yellow skin, white flesh, and black seeds
- Pitaya Roja (Hylocereus costaricensis)
Pink/red skin, red flesh, and black seeds
High in fiber and magnesium with extremely low-calorie content, dragon fruit can be considered as a nutrient-rich fruit.
100 grams of dragon fruit contains:
- Fat – 0 grams
- Fiber – 3 grams (12% of the RDI)
- Calcium – 18 milligrams (1.8% of the RDI)
- Carbs – 13 grams
- Protein – 1.18 grams (2.3% of the RDI)
- Magnesium – 40 milligrams (10% of the RDI)
- Iron – 0.74 milligrams (4.1% of the RDI)
- Vitamin C – 2.5 (4.16% of the RDI)
Apart from these nutrients, dragon fruit is packed with healthy compounds. This includes polyphenols, betacyanins and carotenoids.
If you are taking medications or have any health conditions, it is always recommended to seek medical advice before you eat dragon fruit. You can also consult a doctor online.
Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is loaded with nutrients and other healthy compounds. Therefore, eating this fruit daily can have a positive impact on your overall health. Have a look at the amazing benefits of dragon fruit.
1. Strengthens your immune system
People with a weak immune system are more prone to frequent infections and diseases. Dragon fruit contains antioxidants and carotenoids that help to boost your immune system, thereby protecting your white blood cells (WBC) from damage. As potent antioxidants, vitamin C and carotenoids neutralizes the free radicals and defends the white blood cells against harm.
Read: Immune Boosting Foods
2. Reduces the risk of diabetes
Dragon fruit proves beneficial for people who are pre-diabetic or diabetic. The high amount of fiber present in this fruit stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Most importantly, dragon fruit can also inhibit the sugar spikes that occur after eating foods with a high glycemic index.
3. Promotes healthy skin
Dragon fruit helps in fighting almost all kinds of skin-related problems, thereby promoting healthy and glowing skin. The vitamin B3 content in this fruit provides instant relief from redness, itchiness, and inflammation caused by the harmful rays of the sun.
Dragon fruit contains antioxidant properties that will help reduce acne and prevent your skin from breakouts. It prevents free radicals from damaging your skin and leaves it fresh and rejuvenated.
- To reduce acne – Scrape the dragon fruit pulp and mash it into a smooth paste. Apply this pulp on the affected area using cotton balls.
- For glowing skin – Drink a glassful of dragon fruit juice.
To fight premature aging – Scoop out the dragon fruit pulp, make a thick paste, and mix it with yoghurt. Apply this on your face and neck and rinse it off with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.
4. Improves your digestive health
Loaded with fiber, dragon fruit is considered as one of the best fruits that aid digestion.
The prebiotic fiber present in dragon fruit promotes the growth of good bacterias such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Also, the dietary fiber improves bowel movements and prevents conditions such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastrointestinal issues, and even colorectal cancer.
5. Reduces inflammation
Dragon fruit helps in providing relief from inflammation and tenderness, especially in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit act a natural painkiller and reduce the severity of the pain and lets you enjoy a better quality life.
6. Improves cardiovascular health
The seeds of this exotic fruit are a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 acids. These good fats help to lower the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in your body, thereby promoting better heart health. The presence of lycopene and dietary fiber in dragon fruit is also said to lower LDL cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health.
If you haven’t tried eating dragon fruit, then do it now and reap its benefits. The best way to enjoy this delicious fruit is to eat it fresh. All you need to do is grab a knife, peel its outer scaly part, and slice the inner flesh or scoop it out using a spoon. You can also add it to your fruit bowl and enjoy as a quick snack.