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Pitaya Fruit 101: Nutrients in Dragon Fruit and Benefits

Is dragon fruit healthy for you
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When the Whole world is watching and discussing the Most watched TV series, “House of the Dragon”, Where The reign of House Targaryen begins, We are here to start the discussion about Dragon Fruit. I would like to hear stories related to the Dragons with Dragon fruit. Please comment if anyone of you has. Pitaya is a traditional(?) name for the Dragon fruit, the name Dragon Fruit, refers to its appearance, where the spikes seem like fire and scales look like dragon scales. Ok, let’s move away from dragon fire and check the Pitaya Fruit 101: Nutrients in Dragon Fruit and Benefits.

What is Pitaya Fruit?

One of the most significant commercially successful tropical fruits in the world is the Pitaya fruit, often known as dragon fruit. However we call it a fruit, but Pitaya is a cactus. The fruit of numerous distinct cactus species that are native to America.

There are three varieties have been identified:

  1. Red Pitaya fruit – Red pulp with Red peel (Hylocereus polyrhizus) 
  2. White Pitaya fruit – White pulp with Pink peel (Hylocereus undatus) and 
  3. Yello Pitaya fruit – White pulp with Yellow peel(Hylocereus megalanthus)

Dragon Fruit has many names, pitaya, pitahaya, strawberry bear,   night-blooming cereus, and Thanh long. In the manner of the place where they have grown, size, and taste, Dragon fruits are called, American Beauty, Costa Rican Sunset, Makisupa, David Bowie, Harpua, Red Jaina, Natural Mystic, Purple Haze, Voodoo Child, and Vietnamese Jaina.

Is Pitaya and Dragon Fruit the same?

Both pitaya and pitahaya, sometimes known as dragon fruit, are fruits of the genera Stenocereus and Selenicereus, respectively, both of which are members of the Cactaceae family.

Where does Pitaya Grow?

The Pitaya plant is native to Central America and southern Mexico. At present, the pitaya plant has been planted to grow around the world in all tropical places, so the Dragon fruit is available in most countries.

What are the Nutrients in Dragon Fruit (Pitaya Fruit)?

If you want to have the benefits of multivitamins, Pitaya fruit should be your first choice. The pitaya fruit is a good source of fiber, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, vitamin A, C, and B complex. 

Vitamin A in it aids in maintaining clear vision. Strong bones and teeth are maintained with the help of vitamin C. Red blood cells need iron, and copper is essential in the synthesis of hemoglobin. The nervous system needs manganese to function properly. Normal development and reproduction depend on zinc. For regular bowel movements, fiber is required. 

According to USDA, A cup of pitaya fruit, or 100 grams, has nutrients listed below.

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 1.18g
  • Carbs: 12.94g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.9g
  • Sugar: 7.65g
  • Calcium: 18mg
  • Iron: 0.74mg
  • Magnesium: 40mg
  • Vitamin C: 2.5mg
  • Vitamin A: 59IU
  • Riboflavin: 0.1mg
  • Niacin: 0.353mg
  • Cholesterol: 0

So, How do these nutrients support your Health? Let us check.

Is Dragon Fruit Healthy for you?

Without a doubt, Dragon fruit is a Superfood with many health benefits.

Pitaya Fruit Prevents Chronic Diseases:

According to an NIH Study, Adding dragon fruits to your daily diet may have a favorable influence on stress-related and inflammatory conditions, and Dragon fruits should be recommended to eat to prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, stomach, and intestinal problems, and colon cancer.

Pitaya Fruit Protects Liver Damage and Minimizes Cardiac Stiffness:

Another Study has found that Red pitaya juice (Red Flesh inside)may protect the liver from damage and help to minimize cardiac stiffness. Furthermore, red pitaya juice includes bioactive components that may work synergistically to generate protective benefits.

The linoleic acid and oleic acid (Omega-3 and Omega-9) found in the Dragon fruit seeds are natural oils and fatty acids that are beneficial for your heart health.

Pitaya Fruit Prevent Prediabetes:

study published in PLOS ONE, “Effect of Dragon fruit on glycemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes”, has found that Dragon Fruit Prevent Prediabetes and With a higher dose intake there was a bigger reduction in blood glucose. 

Pitaya Fruit Supports Gut Health:

I hope you are aware of the importance of Prebiotics and Probiotics in Gut Health. Prebiotics in the Dragon fruit help to improve your gut health.

Pitaya Fruit Boosts Immune System:

Pitaya Fruit High in Vitamin-C, Boosts your Immune System and Betacyanins and Betaxanthins in pitaya fruit fight against the free radicals.

Pitaya Fruit Promotes Weight Loss:

Low in calories and High in fiber, Zero Cholesterol, Pitaya fruit makes you feel full and does not make you hungry, which is good for losing weight.

How to Eat Pitaya fruit?

Dragon fruit should be cut in half, cut straight through it. The fruit has dazzling white flesh similar to Kiwi flesh and is sprinkled with tiny black seeds inside. Use a spoon to scrape the flesh away. Run a spoon along the skin’s edges and then scoop from underneath. 

To make a delicious smoothie, Add 1/2 cup of frozen pitaya fruit with 1 cup of milk and blend until smooth. Put some ice cubes if you want it to drink chill.

Jam, Jelly, Syrup, and Juice can all be made from pitaya fruit. And you can add them to fruit salads and desserts.

How does Pitaya Taste?

Pitaya fruit tastes like Kiwi. People often compare the flavor to a cross between a watermelon and a pear. It is light and mildly sweet. Ripe Dragon fruit tastes better.

What is the storage Temperature of Dragon fruit?

At normal room temperature, Dragon fruit will last two to three days. Dragon fruit tastes better when chilled, Storage temperature of Dragon Fruit is Between 4° and 10° degrees Celcius (45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit), and will last up to 3 months.

Pitaya Fruit has many health benefits, so add it to your diet to support your Health.

Tasty Recipes for Dragon Fruit

1. Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl (serves 1)

  • 1 large dragon fruit, peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Fill a bowl halfway with the mixture and top with your preferred toppings, such as granola, coconut flakes, and fresh fruit.

2. Dragon Fruit Salsa (serves 4-6)

  • 2 large dragon fruits, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips as a dip or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

3. Dragon Fruit Sorbet (serves 4-6)

  • 3 large dragon fruits, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Dragon fruit makes a delicious frozen treat! To make it, heat sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Next, blend together cooled sugar syrup, dragon fruit, and lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a freeze-proof container and place in the freezer for several hours or until able to scoop. Serve scoops of Dragon Fruit Sorbet and enjoy!

4. Dragon Fruit & Yogurt Parfait (serves 1)

  • 1 large dragon fruit, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup mixed berries

Looking for a creative and delicious way to enjoy dragon fruit? This layering recipe is it! Start off with some dragon fruit slices, then layer each glass or jar with yogurt, crunchy granola, and mixed berries. Repeat as desired until all ingredients are used. Serve chilled for an extra refreshing treat.

5. Grilled Dragon Fruit Skewers (serves 4)

  • 2 large dragon fruits, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Thread the dragon fruit onto skewers. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture over the fruit. Grill the skewers over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, until slightly charred and tender. Serve warm.

6. Dragon Fruit Salad (serves 4)

  • 2 large dragon fruits, peeled and diced
  • 1 head of lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Craving something fresh? Try this easy dragon fruit salad recipe! Start by mixing together lettuce, diced dragon fruit, avocado chunks, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper for the dressing. Pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve chilled for a crisp and delicious meal!

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