This fruit tastes a little bit like a marshmallow kiwi. Incredibly sweet with a very slight background tang, this fruit is a definite must-try. Dragon fruit is rather expensive than the other commonly available fruits in the market. Also, it is not available everywhere. But because of the great nutrition that it has to offer, it has been slowly gaining fame around the world. Although exotic, it is safe for consumption even by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and continues to grow in popularity while becoming more affordable in the U.S.
This is a kind of cactus fruit and it comes with an interesting fact i.e. the dragon fruit flowers are known to bloom in a span of one night and ready in the morning. Although the flower dies, the plant gives away to a fruit approximately six times every year. The peak season is between summer and early fall. Although it is hard to find, but the benefits it offers are so many that it is worth looking for improving our skin, hair, and health.
There are two varieties of fruits. White Dragon Fruit: It has a white pulp. Red Dragon Fruit: It has a red pulp. Both the white and the red dragon fruit may have a yellow-red outer peel. This peel may even look a lot like that of a pineapple. They have a cluster of small, black and edible seeds, and the fruit has a flavor that stands somewhat in between a kiwi and a pear, but with a crunchy texture.
Although it is hard to find, but the benefits it offers are so many that it is worth looking for improving our skin, hair, and health. The white dragon fruit has a number of essential nutrients which are excellent for the body.
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
The high vitamin and mineral content in dragon fruit, ranging from Vitamin’s C, B1, B2, B3, as well as calcium, phosphorous, iron, protein, niacin and fibre, make it a great way to improve the functioning of your immune system. In fact, it contains more vitamin C than a carrot, making the dragon fruit one of the top vitamin C foods around. Antioxidants (which dragon fruit is loaded), can help fight off bacteria and viruses in the body. Antioxidants also boost our immune system by expelling the free-radicals that are produced by our cells when they metabolize. The 80% water content of dragon fruit will also help flush out stagnant toxins, which may otherwise manifest as some sort of disease or illness.
Aside from vitamin C, dragon fruit contains carotene, which is linked to several anti-carcinogenic qualities, including reducing a number of tumors. Moreover, lycopene, responsible for the red color in dragon fruit, has been shown to be linked to lower prostate cancer risk. A 2011 published study found lycopene intake of less than 2,498 mcg/day increased the risk of prostate cancer, whereas a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and lycopene-rich foods, including being physically active, can significantly reduce the risk. The lycopene, also found in tomatoes, offers the rich color, and results from studies show that it may contain chemopreventive effects for prostate, breast, lung, liver and skin cancer. Cancer are mainly caused because of these free radicals and when the production of these inside the body is blocked, the chances of getting cancer are eliminated.
The high vitamin and mineral content as well as vast arrays of antioxidants in the dragon fruit make it an excellent rejuvenate food. The antioxidants work against free radicals in the body which are responsible for not only physical ailments (disease, and illness), but also for the aging of your skin. The more fresh fruit and vegetables you consume, the tighter and younger your skin will become. Additionally, the phosphorus in dragon fruit provides a boost in the anti-aging department. Phosphorus, an important mineral found in every cell of the body, makes up about 1 percent of your total body weight. Because it’s found in every cell, its effect on the repair of those cells is important to the youthfulness of our skin and prevention of premature aging.
Maintains Good Heart Health
Dragon fruit also benefits the heart in multiple ways. Inducing all the essential nutrients in the body, it makes the body healthier and stronger than before. Also, it lowers down the blood sugar levels and the cholesterol levels of the body. This protects the heart from all the dangerous heart diseases. Hence, eating white dragon fruit regularly helps in maintaining a good heart and an overall healthy body. The study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research showed that dragon fruit may help decrease bad cholesterol while improving the good cholesterol, making dragon fruit an excellent cholesterol-lowering food. In addition, because it’s an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, it can help keep the heart in good shape. The seeds in dragon fruit are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids). These healthy fats actually help reduce triglycerides and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
While basking in the warmth of the precious sun is a pleasant treat, its unprotected acquaintance can cause severe blisters. In such cases, a pack made of dragon fruit can help soothe the redness and inflammation. As mentioned earlier, dragon fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C. A combination of vitamins E and C has been proven to protect your skin against UV rays and soothe sunburns. Turn the dragon fruit pulp into a paste after scooping it out. Then pour into this paste the inner-liquid in the Vitamin E capsule and mix them thoroughly. Application of this paste to the affected area and leaving it for 30-45 minutes before washing it off with cold water will give a lot of relief.
We are well aware of carrots as being a wonderful caretaker for the eyes in terms of the nutrition it has to offer. This fruit contains Vitamin A in the form of carotene which is needed by the retina of the eye for both low-light (night vision) and color vision. Consuming white dragon fruit regularly will definitely improve your eyesight and will take care of your eyes in the best possible way. Night blindness and other eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration can be caused by a deficiency in Vitamin A.
Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
The high amount of fiber in this exotic fruit can help stabilize a person’s blood sugar levels. The dragon fruit can help by preventing sugar spikes after eating high glycemic index foods. Dragon fruit had valuable effect on the oxidative stress on tested subjects, suggesting its consumption as beneficial in reducing some issues that may be associated with diabetes. Further research examining the way dragon fruit benefits insulin resistance on obese mice found that eating dragon fruit can help reduce the risk for diabetes and diabetes symptoms. This suggests regular consumption of the fruit could be beneficial in preventing common issues linked to diabetes.
Bone and Teeth Health
Being rich in calcium and phosphorous, dragon fruit also helps in increasing bone and teeth strength and the bone mass in teeth, hence, giving us better teeth strength and aids in tissue formation and repair. These two important nutrients work together closely to build strong bones and teeth, which makes dragon fruit a wonderful fruit to help aid in the prevention of brittle bones and osteoporosis. The co-dependency of these two minerals means that taking a calcium supplement simply won’t help the health of your bones, as would eating whole ripe fruit which contains the combination of the two minerals. Always keep in mind that both calcium and phosphorous are needed to support any increase in bone mass.
Dragon fruit is known as a great anti-inflammatory as it helps to decrease irritation of the joints. When we start to replace healthy foods, like dragon fruit, for unhealthy foods, we will notice that the aches and pains that used to haunt us day in, day out, suddenly fade away. Arthritis often leads to serious pain, irritation and immobility, all due to its direct effect on our joints. Dragon fruit has a huge hand in easing arthritis pain that it often dubbed as the ‘anti-inflammatory fruit’. So start including this amazing fruit in your daily routine to bid farewell to arthritis pain within no time.
Dragon fruit may sound strange, but it’s a real fruit with real benefits that can make a great addition to any smoothie, salsa or salad, in addition to eating on its own. If you’re looking for a low-fat, low-calorie, crazy looking fruit with a wide range of health benefits to add to your diet, dragon fruit may be just the thing.