That crunchy bite, and the overflowing, refreshing, sweet flavour that fills your mouth – What is not to love about Dragon Fruit?
Dragon Fruit or Hylocereus Undatus is a tropical fruit that belongs to the cactus family. It is known by many names – Dragon Pearl Fruit, Cactus Fruit, Strawberry Pear, Pitahaya or Pitaya.
Curiously, its wildly-fragranced blooms live for one night only when they are pollinated by bats and moths before withering away by dawn of next day. This is the reason why the fruit has acquired a few more ‘mystical’ sounding names such as – Cinderella Plant, Moonflower, Belle of the Night and Night Blooming Cereus among others!
It looks exotic. The pink scales are overlaid (similar to ones on artichoke) covering its shaded pink-green bulk. Inside the soft white or pink flesh is dotted with small seeds. Its taste is unique too. A sweet-sour cross between kiwifruit, pear and lychee. And, Dragon Fruit is as appetizing to look at, as it is delicious to eat!
But looks apart, Dragon Fruit is also abundant in nutrients. It is a tasty superfood that can do a lot for your health. From boosting your immunity to keeping your heart healthy and even fighting and preventing cancer.
Phytonutrients Boosting Immunity
Dragon Fruit is power-packed with nutrients – phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – that deliver a range of health benefits. Phytonutrients help fight diseases. Antioxidants help flush-out toxins and free radicals.
It contains lycopene, which is also found in tomatoes. Lycopene offers Dragon Fruit the rich and deep colour. This substance is known for its anti-carcinogenic properties. Dragon Fruit is an anti-inflammatory food. When added to the diet it can help improve mobility, reduce joint pain and suppress Arthritis.
Dragon Fruit is packed with flu-fighting vitamin C. It has more vitamin C than carrots! B group vitamins – vitamins B1, B2 and B3 – help boost immunity. Calcium, phosphorous, iron, protein and niacin fortify the body and keep it fighting fit!
Fibre Easing Digestion
Dragon Fruit is laden with fibre, that helps massage the digestive tract and ease bowel movement. This is important for those suffering from IBS, constipation and other gut-related ailments.
The flesh and seeds of Dragon Fruit are sources of good protein. Intaking Dragon Fruit can help you feel satiated and nourished, earlier and for long.
The oligosaccharides in the pulp work as a prebiotic agent. Feeding the gut flora and keeping the gut clean and healthy. The fibre also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. There are no spikes in the blood sugar levels when consuming Dragon Fruit. This thus prevents the build-up of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Dragon Fruit is an excellent cholesterol-lowering food that helps reduce bad cholesterol in the body. It also enhances the level of good cholesterol that in turn helps improve heart health.
Dragon Fruit is a rich source of monounsaturated fats, or healthy fats. Consuming these fats has been known to positively affect heart health, brain function, as well as improve the gut-brain interlinkages.
The tiny black seeds found in Dragon Fruit deliver omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids cleanse out the problematic triglycerides from the body and help reduce the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases.
Antioxidants and Skin Health
Antioxidants from Dragon Fruit can help keep your skin glowing and healthy. Strengthened by the vitamins and trace minerals that Dragon Fruit also contains, they reduce wrinkles, blemishes and dullness. Keeping your skin looking ever-young and youthful!
Phosphorus from Dragon Fruit can act as an anti-aging agent. Its role inside the body is to repair and restore worn-out cells and tissue.
Dragon Fruit pulp can be blended and used as a face mask. Applying Dragon Fruit on the skin this way can help scrub away blemishes, marks and even reduce acne!