Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
People like this kind of fruit because of its unique appearance and taste, and there is evidence to show the health benefits it brings.
This article explains everything you need to know about dragon fruit.
What is dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit grows on cactus Hylocereus , also known as Honolulu Queen, it has flowers that bloom only at night.
This is a native species of southern Mexico and Central America. Today, it is grown around the world.
This tree has many names, including pitaya, pitahaya and strawberry pears.
The two most popular varieties are bright red pods with green scales like a dragon - hence this name.
The most widely available variety has white flesh and black seeds. Less common varieties have red flesh and black seeds.
Another variety has yellow shells and white flesh with black seeds. It is called yellow dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit may look strange, but its taste is similar to other fruits. Its flavor is described as having a mild sweet taste that is a hybrid of kiwi and pear.
This is a dragon fruit:
Summary: Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit originating from Mexico and Central America. Its flavor is a blend of kiwi and pear.
Dragon fruits contain small amounts of nutrients and are a good source of vitamin C and iron.
Here is for serving sizes of 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams:
- The protein: 1g.
- Fat: 4 grams.
- Carb: 11 grams.
- Fiber: 3 grams.
- Vitamin C: 34% RDI.
- Iron: 6% RDI.
- Vitamin B (thiamine): 7% RDI.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) : 2.9% RDI.
With high levels of fiber and vitamin C as well as extremely low calorie intake, dragon fruit can be considered a fruit nutritious .
Summary: Dragon fruit is a low-calorie fruit that is high in fiber and provides more than one-third of vitamin C RDI.
Dragon fruit contains many types of antioxidants.
These are compounds that protect cells from unstable molecules called related to the risk of chronic disease and aging .
The following are some of the main antioxidants present in the flesh :
- Betalain: Dark red pigments have been shown to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation or injury .
- Hydroxycinnamate: This group of compounds has been shown to have anti-cancer activity in vitro and animal studies .
- Flavonoids: This large and diverse group of antioxidants is linked to brain health and reduces the risk of heart disease .
A study comparing the antioxidant properties of 17 tropical fruits and berries.
While dragon fruit antioxidant capacity is not as high as many other fruits, it is the best in protecting certain fatty acids from free radical damage .
Summary: Dragon fruit contains some antioxidants that protect cells from injury. These include betalain, hydroxycinnamate and flavonoid.
Potential health benefits
Animal studies show that dragon fruit may be beneficial for many different health conditions.
Many of these benefits may be due to high levels of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
Both red and white dragon fruits have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and fatty liver in obese mice .
In one study, rats were fed a high-fat diet and a dragon fruit extract. As a result, they have less weight gain and reduced fat in the liver while reducing insulin resistance and inflammation, partly due to beneficial changes in intestinal bacteria .
This fruit may improve some of the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, the precursor of type 2 diabetes. However, not all benefits are approved.
In a study of mice fed a high fat and carb diet, the group that ate the dragon fruit juice had a more positive feedback on blood sugar and reduced some signs of liver enzymes, while signs Liver enzymes of other groups increased significantly .
In another study, diabetic rats treated with this fruit extract were reduced by 35%. a sign of free radical damage.
Arteriosclerosis of this group is also lower than the control group .
However, there are no studies confirming these benefits in humans.
Summary: Animal studies show that dragon fruit can help improve insulin resistance, fat in the liver and heart health. However, human studies are needed.
In general, dragon fruits seem safe. However, in rare cases, allergic reactions still occur in some people.
In two cases, women had no history of food allergy After consuming a mixture of fruit containing dragon fruit.
Tests claim they have antibodies against it .
These are just two allergic reactions reported at this time, but many others may be allergic to dragon fruits without knowing it.
Summary: So far, there have been two reported cases of severe allergic reactions to dragon fruit.
How to eat dragon fruit
Although it may look a bit scary, dragon fruit is really easy to eat.
This is how to eat dragon fruit:
- Choose a ripe fruit with bright red color, evenly colored and slightly concave when pressed hard.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit.
- You can use a spoon to eat the intestines. You can also peel and cut into small pieces.
Some suggestions of dragon fruit processing:
- Just slice and eat.
- Cut into small pieces and sprinkle on Greek yogurt along with minced nuts.
- Add in salads.
Healthy recipes with dragon fruit:
Summary: Dragon fruit is easy to process, can be enjoyed separately or in combination with other foods in healthy recipes.
Research to date shows some health benefits from dragon fruits, but human studies are needed to verify this.
In general, dragon fruit is a unique fruit, very tasty and can add to your different diets.