Dragon fruit ? also known as cactus fruit, pitahaya or pitaya, dragon pearl fruit, strawberry pear, moonlovers, belle of the night or night blooming cereus ? is a delicious, tropical superfood that comes with a wealth of health benefits. Originating in Central America, though also grown and exported in several Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, hylocereus undatus, is actually part of the cactus family, which totally makes sense because of its spiky outer layer.
Dragon fruit comes in three different types: * red skin with red flesh* red skin with white flesh* yellow skin with white flesh
Depending on the shape, size and species they can be sweet or sour and when you open it, its texture looks like that of a kiwi with the meat being filled with small black seeds that are known to improve digestion.
Dragon fruit is a low-calorie food that is rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, fiber and minerals and it is believed that the dragon fruit contains phytonutrients that prevent several diseases. Here is the nutritional profile of a dragon fruit.
NutrientAmount per 100 g % Daily Value CaloriesWater 87 gProtein 1.1 g 2.1 %Fat 0.4 gCarbohydrates 11.0 g 3.4 %Fiber 3 g 12 %Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.04 mg 2.7 %Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.05 mg 2.9 %Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.16 mg 0.8 %Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 20.5 mg 34.2 %Calcium (Ca) 8.5 mg 0.9 %Iron (Fe) 1.9 mg 10.6 %Phosphorus (P) 22.5 mg 2.3 %
The mythical fruit is so legendary, it comes with its own legend attached to it. To make dragon fruit more appealing, Asian vendors made up a fictitious tale that dragons created this fruit while breathing fire during battle and whoever eats the flesh of this fruit will possess dragon-like powers.
Some of the impressive benefits of dragon fruit include supporting weight loss and bone health, improving digestion, slowing down the aging process, boosting our metabolic rate and fighting microbial and fungal infections. Let?s have a closer look at the benefits of dragon fruit and the reasons why everybody should eat more of this exotic fruit.
#1 Boosts Immune SystemDragon fruit is loaded with flavonoids as well as flu-fighting vitamin C, which makes it the perfect combination for boosting our immune system. Fact is, this exotic fruit contains more vitamin C than a carrot, which makes it one of the top food sources of vitamin C. Additionally, dragon fruit is packed with antioxidants that help to fight free radicals and it even comes with vitamins B1, B2 and B3 as well as several minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, iron, and niacin as well as a healthy does of protein and fiber to keep our immune system running smoothly.
#2 Aids DigestionFiber aids digestion and the best way to get more fiber is through fruits and veggies. Dragon fruit comes with 3 grams of fiber per 100g serving, which can help to get rid of constipation and IBS issues and if you add it to your breakfast oatmeal, it helps with morning bowel movement. Dragon fruit also contains oligosaccharides, which work as a prebiotic and with that improve digestion and gut health. And on top of that, dragon fruit has a high water content, which can help to keep our digestive system work flawlessly.
#3 Slows Down Aging ProcessOne of the major reasons why our skin ages fast are free radicals. While there are many commercial products that claim to stop the aging process of the skin, these artificial creations can do more harm than good. Dragon fruit is a natural way to slow down the aging process because of its high antioxidant content, which stops the anti-aging effect of free radicals. You can either eat the dragon fruit or apply it on your skin to get a more youthful looking skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
#4 Heart HealthIt is estimated that approximately 175 million people die each year from heart problems, so it is essential that we do everything we can to keep our heart strong and healthy. A recent study showed that dragon fruit has the ability to lower bad cholesterol while at the same time increasing good cholesterol, which makes dragon fruit an awesome choice as a cholesterol-lowering food. Additionally, dragon fruit comes with monounsaturated fats that keep our heart healthy. And let?s not forget, the little black seeds inside a dragon fruit provide omega-3 as well as omega-6 fatty acids, which can drop triglyceride levels.
#5 Supports Bones Health and DensityAfter the age of 25 our bones start to lose their strength and density. This is particularly true for women. However, dragon fruit is a great source of phosphorus and calcium, a winning combination when it comes to retaining bone strength. Several studies show that people who consume dragon fruit on a regular basis are able to reduce the effects of osteoporosis and keep their bones healthy, strong and dense.
#6 Improves Metabolic RateIf you are looking to increase your metabolic rate, the combination of protein and fiber makes a good team. Dragon fruit will help our body to absorb nutrients at a much higher capacity and according to several studies, this exotic fruit can help to eliminate toxins more efficiently and clean our system effectively. Keep in mind, if you can increase your metabolic rate, you will be more successful in your weight loss efforts, which brings us to the next point.
#7 Aids Weight LossIf you want to add some spark to your weight loss efforts, add dragon fruit to your diet. Besides being delicious and nutritious, dragon fruit is a low-calorie food with only 52 calories in every 100 grams, which makes it a perfect replacement for your regular fruit. Change is the spice of life and in order to stick to a weight loss program, we have to change the taste of our meals on a regular basis so we won?t feel deprived of anything. Additionally, dragon fruit is high in fiber and water, which makes us feel full longer and prevents us from overeating. And apart from helping you to lose weight, dragon fruit strengthens your body from within and tastes like it just fell out of a fairy tale.
#8 Lowers Blood SugarDiabetes is on the rise and keeping blood sugar levels in check is detrimental. Thankfully, there are several studies that show that dragon fruit can actually help to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetes. The reason why is that dragon fruit is rich in carotenoids, polyphenols, tocopherols, thiols, and glucosinolates, all of which aid in lowering our blood sugar level. Additionally, dragon fruit is high in fiber, which helps to prevent a blood sugar high should you have a high glycemic meal. Another study showed that dragon fruit has also a positive effect on oxidative stress, which is very common in people who suffer from diabetes.
#9 Prevents CancerCancer prevention may sound a little far-fetched, however, studies show that dragon fruit has the ability to prevent the multiplication of dangerous cancer cells because it is rich in the enzyme lycopene as well as vitamin C and carotene, which is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Together, these nutrients help to prevent a tumor from forming.
#10 Contains Antibacterial PropertiesDragon fruit has been found to have antibacterial and anti fungal properties. These properties help to increase the white blood cell count in our body and with that our body is able to defend itself against toxins as well as inhibit the entrance or growth of bacterial or fungal infections in our organs. On top of that, dragon fruit stimulates cell regeneration and with that speeds up healing, which means that bruises and wounds will heal at an accelerated rate.
#11 Boosts CognitionIf you want to have a brain that works like Einstein?s, dragon fruit may be your answer. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and contains good amounts of B vitamins, which helps to keep our cell membranes healthy. This helps to prevent the occurrence of cognitive disorders and keeps your brain functioning at its best. Additionally, dragon fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals that promote healthy nerve function and with that gives a further boost to our brain.
#12 Improves RespirationIf you suffer from a respiratory disorder such as asthma, adding more dragon fruit to your diet can help you treat your lung problems. This is due to the high vitamin C content of dragon fruit, which finally lets you take in the smell of roses.
There are no known risks of dragon fruit, so you can enjoy this delicious superfood in your smoothie, salad, salsa, oatmeal or simply eat it on its own. It?s a great addition to your diet if you are looking for a low-fat, low-calorie option that offers numerous nutrients and comes with a multitude of health benefits.
THIS MAY BE YOUR NEW FAVORITE FRUIT AND YOU DON?T HAVE TO ACTUALLY SLAY A DRAGONJoschi & Monika#FitFlavah
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