Huge Health Benefits Of The Dragon Fruit
“Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants and thus combats oxidative stress and helps in the treatment and management of various diseases and disorders”
Cultivated in different parts of the world such as northern Australia, East and Southeast Asia, Central and South America, dragon fruit, also known as pitaya is a tropical super fruit which is loaded with plenty of nutrients and healthy compounds. These compounds have antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti -cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dragon fruit is medium to large in size, with a red outer covering or peel, with red or green fleshy scales/ fins. The inner flesh is usually white in colour and has a sweet taste which has numerous small edible seeds.
- Red pitaya or strawberry pear: it has red outer skin as well as red inner flesh
- Yellow pitaya: It has yellow outer skin and white inner flesh
- White pitaya: It has red outer skin and white inner flesh
Supercharged With Nutrients
Dragon fruit is completely filled with an array of nutrients. This super twit contains a good amount of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium and vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Besides, dragon fruit is a rich source of dietary fibre and has a high moisture content too. This makes it an amazing food ingredient for weight loss and obesity management.
Helps In The Management Of Diabetes
Dragon fruit is a wonderful diabetic friendly twit as research has revealed that eating dragon fruit improves the action of insulin. This further helps in lowering high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar level increases oxidative stress in the body, which further leads to diabetic complications. As dragon fruit is loaded with antioxidants, it helps in scavenging free radicals (harmful substances) and thus reduces oxidative stress. Thus this delays diabetic complications.
Furthermore, this amazing twit is a rich source of dietary fibre that helps in the management of diabetes. Dietary fibre slows down the conversion of carbohydrates to simple sugars (glucose) on digestion. Thus, glucose enters into the bloodstream slowly and this prevents a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. Also, the dietary fibre present in dragon fruit further promotes satiety (a feeling of fullness) and hence, prolongs eating time. And this helps to control blood sugar levels.
Dragon twit inhibits the bacteria that causes gastroenteritis in humans. Thus, it protects the gut and helps in keeping infections at bay. The compounds present in this fruit slow down the growth of bacteria and prevent it from spreading. An interesting study found that dragon fruit pulp has the ability to inhibit the build-up of pathogens present within the oral cavity and skin up to 92 per cent. Thus, dragon fruit is a potent antibiotic that protects against infectious diseases.
An Amazing Source Of Antioxidants
Oxidative stress is the major cause of diseases. Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants and thus combats oxidative stress and helps in the treatment and management of various diseases and disorders. The inner red pulp of this fruit has more antioxidant content than the one with white pulp. The outer peel, inner pulp, as well as seeds of the dragon fruit are completely loaded with antioxidants. Certain compounds such as carotenoids, plant chemicals and betalains along with vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E present in dragon fruit are responsible for its antioxidant properties.
Improves Overall Lipid Profile
The cholesterol lowering action of dragon fruit is because of its high dietary fibre and antioxidant concentration. The intake of high fibre foods such as dragon fruit traps the bile acids in the small and large intestine and excretes them out of the body. Thus, the liver uses cholesterol from the blood to make new bile acids (bile acids are important for the digestion of fat). And this action helps in lowering high cholesterol levels.
Apart from this, vitamin E present in dragon fruit inhibits the enzyme that produces cholesterol. Thus, it reduces blood cholesterol levels. Another benefit of dragon fruit is that it helps in increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels which in turn protects the heart. Thus, eating dragon fruit is a healthy and safe way to manage blood cholesterol levels.
Selection And Storing
You can enjoy the sweet taste of dragon fruit only if you purchase the right one. Hence, here are some tips to help you select the perfect dragon fruit.
- Choose a dragon fruit with bright outer covering free from spots and blemishes
- Press the dragon fruit with the help of your fingers.
- A perfectly ripe fruit will not be too hard or too soft
- Smell is an important indicator of freshness of a fruit.
- A fresh and ripe dragon fruit will have a tropical and light aroma
- Store unripe dragon fruit at room temperature till it ripens fully
- A completely ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for five days
How To Eat It
You can simply enjoy the sweet taste of dragon fruit by itself, or add it to smoothies, fruit salad, juices, pudding, cakes and breakfast cereal.