Pitaya is the other name for dragon fruit. Another used name for dragon fruit is strawberry pear. The Dragon fruit is quite appealing and instagrammable. It comes from the plant of cacti and belongs to the genus of Hylocereus.
The fruits are most cultivated in Southeast Asia and Latin America. However, due to its popularity, you can easily find it everywhere in the world. The fruit got its name due to its dragon-like scales and pink interior appearance. The look of the fruit is like exotic fruits. By taste, the dragon fruit is sweet, whereas the texture is crunchy. The Addition of Dragon fruit adds a unique flavor to salads, smoothies, and sweet dishes. However, the fruit does not taste bland even on its own.
Nutritional Content of Dragon Fruit
The dragon fruit has all the nutritional goodness that you wish for in the food that you eat. The nutritional content of 100 grams of dragon fruit is as follows;
- 264 grams of calories
- 3.57 grams of protein
- 82.14 grams of carbs
- 1.8 grams of dietary fiber
- 82.14 grams of total sugar content
- 107 milligrams of calcium
- 39 milligrams of sodium
- 6.4 milligrams of Vitamin C
- 68 milligrams of magnesium
- 1 gram of Iron
- 100 IU’s of Vitamin A
- Omega 3 Fatty acids
- Omega 6 Fatty acids
The Dragon fruit is nutrient-dense, and it is because of the high content of fiber and magnesium. It also has a very less caloric count.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
The Dragon fruit is high in nutritional content. Eating one dragon fruit helps you get all the nutritional benefits that you need. Some of the health benefits that it has are as follows;
1. Antioxidant Properties
The dragon fruit contains several antioxidants such as Flavonoids, betacyanin, and Phenolic acid. The antioxidants help to protect the cells from free radicals. It also helps to remove several harmful compounds from the body.
Eating dragon fruit as a healthy snack will help you feel full throughout the day. This is all because of the high fiber content in the fruit. An extra benefit is that you will be fulfilling the daily nutritional need. This way, you do not have to worry about any health deficiencies.
3. Regulation of Blood Sugar Level
This property of dragon fruit is particularly useful for all those who are pro diabetic. Dragon fruit helps to maintain blood sugar levels. It helps in replacing damaged cells of the pancreas with healthy cells. This mechanism helps in the synthesis of insulin.
4. Prebiotic Property
Prebiotics are prerequisites for probiotics. It may sound confusing, but in easier terms, dragon fruit helps to maintain a healthy gut. It also helps in promoting a healthy gut flora.
1. Heart Attack and Stroke
Dragon fruit is a perfect example of a fruit that keeps the heart-healthy. Omega fatty acids are present in the tiny edible seeds of the fruit.
These omega fatty acids help in balancing the good and bad cholesterol. Removal of bad cholesterol (or LDL) from the body helps in the reduction of plaque buildup. This helps blood to flow properly in the arteries and vessels.
2. Common Cold and Flu
People with a weak immune system are susceptible to catching common infections. Vitamin C present in the dragon fruit serves as an immunity booster. It helps protect the body against harmful microorganisms. Hence, when eating dragon fruit, you will not have to worry about getting cold and flu.
The dragon fruit has 11% of the daily need for fiber intake. It helps in the regulation of the bowel system. A person who consumes even one dragon fruit per day will feel full. This will prevent you from munching on junk food that only leads you towards weight gain.
The lycopene is not only the source of red color. Vitamin C and Lycopene in dragon fruit are strong antioxidants. It helps in the prevention of cancer and is helpful in the treatment of breast cancer. However, this requires further research on human subjects.
Dragon fruit helps you to get rid of aging signs on the skin. Vitamin C possesses antioxidant properties for the skin. People who eat dragon fruit help you to get rid of wrinkles, acne and dry skin. In the end, it gives you a younger look.
Pregnant women often become anemic during their pregnancy. This often results in miscarriage and death of the fetus. Dragon fruit helps prevent anemia due to iron deficiency. It helps to increase levels of hemoglobin and erythrocyte levels in the blood.
Dragon fruit helps to maintain a balance in blood sugar levels. This is particularly helpful when eating food that spike glucose levels. Dragon fruit helped to fight insulin resistance.
Side Effects of Dragon Fruit
The dragon fruit is very safe to eat. There are no critical or major side effects of the fruit. Yet, some people have reported symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. Symptoms of these reactions include;
1. Itching of the skin
2. Swelling of tongue
4. Redness on skin
These side effects are minor and people rarely report getting these reactions. The side effects usually occur because the immune system of the body acts against dragon fruit. This is a probable reason why some people react negatively towards the dragon fruit.
Another possible side effect of this fruit is Pseudohematuria. In this condition, the color of the pee, stool or other body fluids turns to red. Although it may create panic when seen at first sight. However, this is a completely harmless side effect of eating dragon fruits. When a person eats beet in large amounts, it can produce the same effect. So if you observe you pee turning red, do not worry, as this is a temporary condition.
Dragon is an aesthetic fruit. It not only looks good in photographs but is good for the health as well. When buying dragon fruits, always look for fresh fruits as these have the most nutritional value. Do not depend on the external look of the fruit and remember the goodness that it holds. However, keep a lookout for symptoms of allergy. If you experience any of these side effects, then consult your general physician.