Dragon fruit, also known as pitahaya and pitaya, is an exotic plant which can be of three varieties, white-fleshed, pink-fleshed and magenta-fleshed. This fruit originates from Mexico, Central America, and South America and is now grown in Southern California and Florida, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
It has a flavor which is reminiscent of watermelon, cactus pear, and kiwi, a melon-like texture and crunchy seeds, and the most common variety has a thick, deep pinkish red, leathery skin with flame-like green spikes.
It is a rich source of phytonutrients, antioxidants, protein, carotene, B vitamins, vitamin C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
Therefore, this fruit improves health in various ways, so here are some of its health benefits:
- Its high antioxidant content strengthens the immune system and prevents cancer
- Since it contains no cholesterol, dragon fruit lowers the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries, lowers LDL cholesterol, and increases HDL cholesterol levels
- The high vitamin C and antioxidants in pitaya treat respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis or wheezing
- It helps the elimination of heavy metals from the body
- The high fiber content stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents sugar spikes
- This fruit is rich in antioxidants that prevent premature aging of the skin
- Since it is high in antioxidants, dragon fruit effectively fights inflammation and prevents gout, arthritis, and asthma
- Dragon fruit is abundant in dietary fiber that improves bowel movements and treats constipation
- The fiber in this fruit improves digestion and treats constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and colorectal cancer
- Its consumption lowers the oxidation of cholesterol, while the high amounts of monounsaturated fats ensure a healthy function of the heart
- It is rich in vitamin C that strengthens the immune system and prevents free radical damage
- Being rich in vitamin C, this fruit treats acne and other skin issues if applied topically in the form of a paste
- This fruit is full of various nutrients and antioxidants that moisturize the skin and soothe sunburns
Choose fully ripe dragon fruits, and you can consume the chilled or sliced in cubes, or added to your smoothies. Also, you can make a delicious homemade dragon fruit sorbet.
Dragon fruit sorbet recipe:
- 4 ripe magenta-fleshed dragon fruits
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup cold water (only if the fruit is not ripe)
- 4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
Peel the dragon fruit, and add it to the blender, if it is not ripe and juicy, add water. Then, add the lemon juice and sugar, if you have decided to use, and blend until smooth.
Then, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, churn until frozen.
Then, leave it for 10 minutes at room temperature for the sorbet to soften before serving.