Let’s talk about dragon fruit! This sweet and sour produce, also known as pitaya, originated in Central America and Mexico but is now cultivated and enjoyed all over the world. It’s a member of the cactus family which can explain the spikes on its vibrant and nutritive skin. The inside of pitaya is usually red, white or yellow and is filled with tiny black seeds similar in texture to a kiwi. High in dietary fiber, healthy fats, magnesium and riboflavin, dragon fruit is bursting with nutrients, making this superfood the perfect addition to any bowl or smoothie.
Dragon Fruit Benefits
Good for the Gut – As a great source of fiber, dragon fruit can assist with constipation, acid reflux and support regular bowel movements. It also contains oligosaccharides which act as prebiotics that are also known to help with gut health.
Improved Heart Health – The edible seeds found in dragon fruit are packed with omega fatty acids. The omega fatty acids help reduce triglycerides thereby protecting cardiovascular health. Pitaya also contains lycopene and is known to help decrease LDL cholesterol levels(the bad kind), both of which help to contribute to overall heart health.
Diabetes Regulator – The fiber found in dragon fruit is also known to help regulate blood sugar levels. Studies show that consuming dragon fruit can help reduce oxidative stress which can in turn help prevent certain issues associated with diabetes.
Immunity Booster – In addition to the nutrients previously mentioned, dragon fruit is also packed with flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2 and B3 as well as many others, all of which are crucial when it comes to boosting immunity.
Anti-Aging Aid – The antioxidants and phosphorus present in dragon fruit help prevent premature aging and promote healthy, youthful and radiant skin.
Cancer Inhibitor – By combating dangerous free radicals, the antioxidants present in dragon fruit help protect the body against cancer cells and can aid in inhibiting certain types of cancers from forming.
Although dragon fruit is so delicious, it’s important not to overdo it. Too much fiber can make you feel bloated or cause stomach pain, so make sure to eat pitaya in moderation. We love having dragon fruit alone as a snack or adding to our smoothies, salads and salsas for that extra kick. You can likely find frozen dragon fruit in the freezer section of your grocery store and you can find the fresh fruit at your local fruit store. When choosing your dragon fruit, make sure to look for one that’s even in color with no spots or spoilage and one that gives a little when you touch it. Although it may seem a bit intimidating to cut, it’s actually quite easy; just cut it in half, scoop out the inside and enjoy!
Feature image via UpSplash