What is dragon fruit? Dragon fruit is a beautiful tropical healthy fruit that comes from a climbing cactus in various shapes and colours including red-and yellow-skinned varieties, and its seeds have a nutty flavour. It is somewhat similar to a kiwi, a pear and a watermelon which is sweet, juicy and crunchy and can also be used for making fruit salads and tasty drinks and desserts. Dragon fruit is one of the exotic and colourful fruits, also known as pitaya or pitahaya in Hindi. This tropical fruit is known for its bright pink and seed-speckled pulp which is sweet in flavour and incredibly refreshing. This fruit is considered as a storehouse of nutrition, equipped with many health benefiting properties. The fruit is rich with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients, which is beneficial for overall health and skin-related problems, including signs of ageing, acne and sunburn. Moreover, it is high in fibre and magnesium with zero cholesterol, low in calories, making it an excellent option for people to lose weight. The fruit is good for the digestive system; the presence of roughage and fibres makes digestible easy. Thus, it loosens the bowel aiding in constipation.
Dr Anuj Choudhary, Founder - Animal Nutrition Booster Company shares nutrition facts of dragon fruit
- Calories: 60 grams
- Protein: 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fibre: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
Nutritional value of dragon fruit explained by Dietitian Garima Goyal
- Antioxidants: Loaded with Vitamin C and other antioxidants such as betalains, hydroxycinnamates, and flavonoids, the vibrant dragon fruit helps to fight free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases and premature ageing. Eating dragon fruit can strengthen the immune system, prevent skin problems, ease blood flow, and lower blood pressure. Since the antioxidant content is highest in the seeds, use them efficiently.
- Fibre: A single 1-cup serving of dragon fruit packs 7 grams of dietary fibre. Thus, incorporating fat-free dragon fruit would be highly beneficial for people with gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health issues. Since fibre-rich foods are filling, consuming dragon fruit keeps one from reaching out for unhealthy snacks, thus maintaining a healthy weight.
- Magnesium: Dragon fruit is a rich magnesium source, offering 18% of RDI in just one cup. A high intake of magnesium reduces the risk of heart diseases and supports bone health. Eat a bowl of dragon fruits to boost energy levels, improve exercise performance, maintain blood sugar levels, and combat inflammation.
- Iron: The delicious and juicy dragon fruit contains high iron levels, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen throughout the body. One serving of dragon fruit fulfils 8% of your recommended daily iron intake, thus eating the superfood every day to combat low iron levels in the body.
- Prebiotics: Dragon fruit encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut due to a decent amount of prebiotics present in it. Consuming prebiotics helps to kill disease-causing pathogens, improve digestion, and boost overall health.
How can you add dragon fruit in your daily diet?
Aesthetically pleasing and a delight for taste buds, the vibrant and brightly coloured fruit is much more than an exotic treat. Originating from a cactus of type Hylocereus, dragon fruit is a nutritional powerhouse, making the low food an absolute favourite for health-conscious people. Dragon fruit is best eaten raw. You can add it in your daily salad to include it in your daily diet, and you can also have it to make tasty drinks and desserts. Cut the fruit in half or quarters, peel off the skin and then use a spoon to scoop or discard out the flesh and it is ready to eat. Also known as Pitaya or Strawberry bear, dragon fruit comes in a variety of shape, size, and colour, however, the most widely available type consists of white pulp with black seeds. The taste of the dragon fruit has been described as a slightly sweet cross between a pear and a kiwi.
What are the health benefits of consuming dragon fruit? Explains Acharya Manish (Founder Suddhi Ayurveda)
- Improves Cardiovascular Health – It improves your cardiovascular health, possibly help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, lower your harmful cholesterol levels and promotes healthy blood flow. Being a good source of dietary fibre, the regular consumption of the fruit can help maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure in the long run. It is essential to be vigilant about the level of fluctuations in haemoglobin levels. Low haemoglobin levels may cause kidney failure. Dragon fruit reduces the chance of anaemia.
- Loaded with vitamins - Dragon fruit is packed with other essential vitamins like B1, B2, B3, calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, protein and niacin, which is necessary to kick off diseases and infections. Apart from this, regular potassium consumption is vital for our body's cellular, electrical, and nervous functions as it plays a significant role in maintaining water content, pH or acid balance in our body. Calcium helps maintain bone structure, B3 that enables to soothe sunburnt skin.
- Reduces Inflammation - Dragon fruit contains explicitly proteins and enzymes, which help our body regenerate and repair cells. Due to the nutrients present in this fruit, it is used during the treatment of injuries. Apart from this, it also reduces liver fat, it also increases your metabolism, and its effect lasts longer. It provides relief from inflammation and might reduce the severity of your pain. It gives instant relief from the inflammation, redness, and itchiness caused by the harsh ultra-violet rays.
- Helpful in digestion - This fruit is also beneficial in many stomach related diseases. Dragon fruit possession also helps to cure indigestion. Rich in fibre, this fruit has a high amount of water. Due to which it is considered suitable for constipation patients. Due to the fibre present in it, it helps treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome means intestinal disease. Stomach pain is difficult, restlessness and bowel movements.
- Lowers Blood Sugar in Diabetics - It can also help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and help normalize blood sugar levels. According to various studies, dragon fruit helps in regulating blood sugar level in diabetic patients. Besides, the fruit is a source of polyphenols, carotenoids, thiols and glucosinolates. High fibre present in it, which helps prevent excess sugar spikes after meals.
- Beneficial for skin - The amount of this nutrient in dragon fruit is high, which may help protect against the dullness of skin and bring back the fresh and rejuvenated look. Not only can this, applying the paste of dragon fruit flesh regularly on the face slows down the process of ageing. Additionally, the fruit works wonders for acne-prone skin and inflamed skin when applied topically.
- Supports Your Immune System – Dragon fruit can help promote healthy digestion and gut health. It strengthens the immunity, is a good source of vitamin C, promotes healthy teeth, and reduces the chance of getting sick. It performs a role in cancer prevention by the immune-boosting ability of vitamin C help prevent cancer.
- Helpful in lowering cholesterol - Some food and lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol. Dragon fruit has a small amount of cholesterol which keeps your heart healthy. It again can fight LDL levels with abundant antioxidants.
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