What is a Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is a fruit that is commonly found in tropical regions in the world. It is a fruit that can be found growing on the climbing plant that is cactus called ‘Hylocereus’. The plant’s name was originated from the Greek word “Hyle,” which means “woody,” and
the Latin word “cereus,” which means “waxen.” It is also known as Honolulu Queen. These plants are active only at night. Dragon fruits’ name itself sounds so tempting to us and makes us wonder what it might be. It has a totally exotic vibe, but it tastes the same as other fruits do. The most common areas where you will find Dragon fruit are in the native part of Southern Mexico and Central America. It is famously known by other names as well. A few of them are pitaya name used in Central America and strawberry pear is used in Asia. Commonly you will find dragon fruit with white pulp and black seeds inside but there does exist a rare breed as well that is of red pulp and black seeds. The outer part of the dragon fruit looks red but there is one more variety of dragon fruit which is known as yellow dragon fruit. It looks yellow in color from the outside but has white pulp and black seeds. The taste of all the types is the same in terms of sweetness. They taste almost like a pear and a kiwi. It is a juicy fruit with nutty-flavored seeds and its own health benefits.
Dragon Fruit Nutritional Value
Dragon fruit has very overwhelming health benefits. It carries a small number of several nutrients and minerals like iron, magnesium, and fibers.
Serving per 100 grams have
- PROTEIN- 1.2 to 2 GRAMS
- FAT- 0 GRAMS
- CALORIES- 60-102 GRAMS
- CARBOHYDRATES- 13 GRAMS TO 22 GRAMS
- FIBER- 3 TO 5 GRAMS
- SUGAR- 13 GRAMS
- VITAMIN A- 100 INTERNATIONAL UNITS (IU)
- VITAMIN C- 4 MILLIGRAMS
- CALCIUM- 31 MILLIGRAMS
- IRON- 1 GRAM
- MAGNESIUM- 68 MILLIGRAMS
Considering the zero-fat value and less carb value the nutritional value of dragon fruit is extreme as it is a nutrient-dense fruit.
Provides Some Antioxidants
Dragon fruit has some antioxidant properties which help in making a shield for your cells from molecules that are unstably known as radicals. These molecules are responsible for chronic diseases as well as aging. Below are some major antioxidants present in dragon fruit pulp:
HYDROXYCINNAMATES: These are the types of compounds that are helpful when it comes to cancer as it has anti-cancer properties. These properties have been seen in test tubes and animal studies.
BETALAINS: In such types of compounds, it is shown that they help in controlling bad cholesterol that is LDL. It also helps them in getting damaged and oxidized and is found in the pulp of dragon fruit.
FLAVONOIDS: These antioxidants are the types that are present in large groups and are linked to the brain. It also reduces heart diseases and brain problems. It helps in maintaining brain health and heart health.
According to the research, dragon fruit did not have very high antioxidant properties, but it is said that dragon fruit helps in the best possible way in protecting fatty acids from free radical damage.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is well known for its super amazing health benefits and is also considered to be unique among people who are health conscious and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Major health benefits are mentioned as follows:
- HELPS IN DIGESTION: Dragon fruit is filled with lots of fibre. Those fibres are dietary fibres and are usually nondigestible carb which are considered to hold major health benefits. Health researchers suggest women to consume 25 grams of fibre every day and for men they suggest consuming 38 grams of fibre every day. Dragon fruit contains 7 grams of fibre per cup and can be said to be a wholesome fruit that completes all the necessary requirements. Fibres are very well known for the properties that help in digestion but along with that it helps us in fighting with other digestive diseases.
- IMPROVES GUT: What is Gut? Gut is a house for 100 trillion diverse microorganisms and for about more than 400 species of bacteria. These microorganisms and bacteria are responsible for your health issues, not every time but sometimes. As it said dragon fruit also contains prebiotics that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, but it is also said that it can help you in digesting those fibres and work towards growth of your heathy gut. They also work positively in inflammation bowel disease and reduces the risk of diarrhea in your digestive track. As they produce two types of healthy bacteria that are bifidobacterial and lactic acid bacteria.
- STRENGTHENS IMMUNITY: Your immune system is responsible for everything that is happening with your immunity. From your ability to fight with infections to maintaining healthy lifestyle, it is all based on your immunity. Healthy diet leads to healthy immune system thus it is said that vitamin C and carotenoids in dragon fruit helps in boosting your immunity and helps in getting rid of infections by becoming a shield to your white blood cells. Once they protect them, they are prevented from being damaged. The white blood cells are responsible for healthy immunity as they damage all the useless substance present in your body. Properties of dragon fruit becomes a helping hand and helps white blood cells in fighting with harmful substances.
- BOOST IRON LEVELS: As mentioned above dragon fruit is rich in iron. Dragon fruit plays a major role due to high iron present in it. It helps in passing oxygen to your whole body and helps in breaking food to energy. It is observed that 30% of population is lacking iron and many people do not get iron for their body that is why it is always asked to consume food that is rich in iron. So, adding dragon fruit to enrich your iron levels can be a great choice.
- SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM: Dragon fruit is healthy to consume because, with 68 milligrams of magnesium in per 100-gram, dragon fruits turn out to be the richest fruit in terms of magnesium. If we see, on average our body contains 24 grams of magnesium only. Despite having such a minimal amount your body is complete of minerals and fights with almost 600 chemical reactions going on inside your body. For example, breaking down food into energy, formation of bone, muscle contraction, and creating DNA.
Dragon Fruit Side Effects
Although dragon fruit is the safest option in fruits, a few people might show allergic reactions. People who might show allergic reactions can either have a food allergy or might have blood allergies. In two cases women, who had no history of food allergies or any other allergy, were seen developing anaphylactic reactions after consuming dragon fruit or after consuming fruit salad that had dragon fruit in it. After going through the proper testing, it was seen that their blood had antibodies that were sensitive to dragon fruit. In such cases, people who consume dragon fruit are recommended to avoid it.
Proper Consumption Techniques
According to the appearance of dragon fruit, it looks exotic and thus seems difficult to consume but the fact is it is very easy to consume.
- Always pick up properly ripe dragon fruit that squeezes a little when you pick it up.
- Always use a sharp knife and cut it into two halves.
- You can either consume it directly through spoon or peel the skin off and cut into small cubes to consume it.
How to eat Dragon Fruit:
Either it is simply as it is or cut them into small cubes and mix them in a fruit salad. You can also top it with yogurt and add nuts into it.
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