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Nov 20, 2013

Move over pineapple, it’s pitaya time. A wave of exotic fruits exploding with nutrients and antioxidants is hitting produce shelves, and it’s worth getting to know them better.
Native to Mexico, Central and South America, the pitaya—also known as dragon fruit— comes in white, red and yellow varieties. The name "dragon fruit" was coined by the Chinese, who claim that, thousands of years ago two huge dragons were fighting in the sky, throwing flames at each other. Hot droplets of flame then rained down upon the earth, which when cooled became dragon fruit.
Nutritional Value

Dragon fruit is rich in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus. It also provides large amounts of niacin (vitamin B3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The fruit is rich in water and fiber, and contains significant quantities of phytaolbumin antioxidants, which prevent formation of cancer-causing free radicals.
In Taiwan, diabetics use the fruit as a food substitute for rice and as a source of dietary fiber. It is also known to control blood glucose levels.

Dragon fruit is ideal for weight watchers: it's low in calories and rich of fibre, so you can feel full and satisfied without craving fatty, sugary snacks. 

Fiber Benefits
Due to its high fiber content, with almost 1 g of fiber per 100 g of fresh fruit, the dragon fruit can serve as a natural laxative to treat constipation. Dried fruit can contain up to 10 g or more of dietary fiber per 100 g.

It may also help lower "bad" cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Dragon fruit is a good help for people suffering from diabetes: according to some tests made (, the fiber in dragon fruit also helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the sugar's absorption and keeping levels low after a meal. The effect can last up to 90 minutes. A study involving diabetic rats, published in 2010 in "Pharmacognosy Research," found that dragon fruit extract helped decrease aortic stiffness and the increase in blood pressure caused by stiff arteries.

Vitamin C Benefits
Dragon fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, containing 9 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of fruit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a daily amount of 90 mg for adult males and 75 mg for females. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps limit the damage caused to your cells by free radicals. It is also necessary for healing wounds and producing collagen, which is used to make cartilage, skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Eating it on a regular basis will also help ward off chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma and cough.

B Vitamin Benefits
Dragon fruit contains vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3. Vitamin B-1 is beneficial for energy production and carbohydrate metabolism, while vitamin B-2 improves appetite. The fruit's vitamin B-3 content reduces cholesterol and enhances skin appearance, keeping it moisturized and smooth.

Other Benefits
This fruit is also an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus, minerals involved in bone mineralization. They help strengthen bones and teeth and form new tissues. The fruit is also said to help neutralize and excrete heavy-metal toxins. Dragon fruit may combat gout and arthritis through its beta carotene content.

How to choose the best dragon fruit
When choosing your dragon fruit, it is important to choose a fruit that has good color. The skin should be very bright and somewhat shiny, and the scales on the pink fruit should be bright green. There should be no brown spots on either the main part of the fruit or the scales. This is usually a sign that the fruit has ripened too much.

Someone trying to choose a perfectly ripe dragon fruit should also gently squeeze the fruit. Fruits that are not quite ripe will usually feel very firm, and these should be avoided. On the other hand, these fruits should not be very soft, nor should they have any mushy spots on them. Many experts claim that a perfectly ripe dragon fruit will feel a bit like a kiwi when it is squeezed.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit
The dragon fruit is praised for its appetising crunchy texture and refreshing, sweet flavour which is like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. To preserve most of its flavour and nutrients, the dragon fruit is usually eaten raw or dried as a healthy snack: the fruit is cut in half and the pulp inside is spooned out (the skin is not edible).

The pulp of dragon fruit contains small dark seeds which are eaten with the pulp. They have a nutty flavor and are rich in lipids (polyunsaturated fatty acids), but must be chewed to be digested.
You can add cubes of dragon fruit to a fruit salad or a smoothie, puree it with
lemon juice and freeze it in an ice cream maker to make a sorbet or add pureed dragon fruit to your  cheesecake filling for a delicious treat.


Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Wednesday November 20, 2013, 2:19 pm
Tags: dragon fruit of benefits [add/edit tags]

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