I’ve heard of this tropical fruit, exotic in its strangeness. I’d read about the amazing health benefits. Until today, however, I’ve never eaten one before. I’m glad I remedied that!
What is Dragon Fruit?
Also called pitaya or cactus fruit, dragon fruit is a member of the cactus family and originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit is oval or pear shaped. The inside is white or red…more like a purplish pink…with seeds that resemble sesame seeds. Dragon fruit has a mild, sweet flavor or sometimes a sour flavor, depending on the variety.
Today it is grown primarily in south Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Dragon fruit supplies protein and fiber, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, iron, niacin, phosphorus and calcium.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
This delicious superfood delivers support and healing to the body in the following ways:
• Boosts the immune system. Dragon fruit is one of the top vitamin C foods. It also ranks high in antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body.
• Improves cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Plus the little black seeds inside the dragon fruit provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These omegas can decrease triglycerides, lowering the risk of heart disease.
• Can prevent cancer. Dragon fruit contains phytoalbumin, which when combined with its vitamin C, minerals and lycopene, makes the fruit highly valued for cancer preventing qualities. Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, creates the vivid color, and studies show that it may contain chemo-preventive effects for prostate, breast, lung, liver and skin cancer.
• The red pigment in red fleshed dragon fruit rejuvenates the liver by helping it to produce cells faster. It also slows liver aging and helps to prevent liver disease.
• Creates youthful skin. The high vitamin C content keeps the skin healthy, tight and firm, while the phosphorus repairs skin cells and prevents premature aging.
• Aids digestion. The fruit’s prebiotics improve gut health and digestion while the fiber helps to eliminate constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
• Prevents diabetes. The high fiber also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain normal blood sugar. And dragon fruit prevents sugar spikes after eating high glycemic index foods.
How to Use Dragon Fruit
Look for dragon fruit in the produce section at the grocery store. Or check the frozen food section, especially for the red dragon fruit, which can be more difficult to find. Dried or powdered dragon fruit is available as well.
It’s simple to prepare dragon fruit. Slice in two, lengthwise or across the fruit, and scoop out the soft insides using a spoon or melon baller. Eat plain, include with other fruits, or add to fruit smoothies.
This was my smoothie this morning:
2 bananas • 1 dragon fruit • 1 cup wild blueberries • 2 inch section of fresh aloe vera gel • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds • 1 teaspoon Hawaiian spirulina • 1 teaspoon Atlantic sea dulse
It was wonderful!