10 Health Benefits And Recipes Of Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)
Dragon fruit is cactus based fruit that has loads of health benefits such as lowering risks of a blood sugar spike, aids in digestion etc. It resembles a dragon and that is how this fruit got its name. You must be wondering how to eat this fruit, irrespective of its shape and size? It’s simple. Cut it in two halves and eat the inside layer with a spoon. You can also make a smoothie out of it.
What is Dragon Fruit?
It is a tropical fruit with a unique appearance, crunchy texture and sweet taste. Its appearance draws its name from a fire-breathing dragon. Its rich source of antioxidants plays a vital role in reducing your risks of cancer and diabetes. Make it a point to add this super fruit to your everyday diet.
10 Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
An interesting fact about this fruit is that the Chinese claim that it originated from the fire of a dragon during battle. Undermining the myth surrounding this fruit, there is something that makes it super healthy for us. Here is a list of 15 health benefits of consuming dragon fruit.
1. Reduces Risk of Diabetes
This fruit contains high amounts of fibre that maintains blood sugar levels and avoids spikes among people suffering from diabetes. Regular consumption of this fruit can help balance blood sugar levels and prevent further medical consequences among diabetics.
2. Reduces Risks of Cancer
This fruit contains anti-cancer properties that can reduce the risks of colon cancer. Its high source of vitamin C plays an important role in boosting the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that prevents you from contracting chronic diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s, cancer, etc.
3. Helps boost Immunity
This fruit contains high levels of vitamin C that boosts immunity and helps you stay healthy. More Vitamin C means that your body is capable of fighting deadly infections that you might be prone to. All you need to do is to consume 1 cup (200 grams) of this fruit every day and stay healthy.
4. Good for Digestion
This fruit has a rich source of oligosaccharides (a carbohydrate) that helps in the growth of good bacteria like flora, which aids in smooth digestion. It is packed with high fibre that also aids in digestive health, helps reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
5. Good For Heart
Dragon fruit with red coloured pulp contains betalains (creates red colour inside the fruit) that reduces bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). The tiny dark black seeds inside the fruit are rich in omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids that are good for the heart and reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
6. Fights Ageing Skin
Faster ageing can be caused due to stress, pollution and other factors such as poor diet etc. However, it’s a rich source of antioxidants that can treat sunburn, dry skin and acne. Its content of vitamin C can aid in brighter skin. You can prepare dragon fruit juice and drink it once a day for radiant skin.
7. Good for Hair
Need thick, black and shiny hair? Try dragon fruit powder mixed with a glass of milk (250ml) once every day and this will do you good. The high source of nutrients found in this fruit extract powder reduces hair damage caused by artificial hair colouring and improves hair texture, thus, leaving it soft and shiny. All you need to do so is to consume this once a day and you will witness changes.
8. Healthy Bones
Good bone health can contribute to many factors such as avoiding injuries, joint pain and so forth. This superfruit contains 18% magnesium and aid in stronger bones and good bone health. All you need to do is drink one glass of dragon fruit smoothie every day.
9. Good For Eyes
This fruit contains beta-carotene (the pigment that gives the fruit its colour) prevents eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. One cup (220 grams) of dragon fruit every day would do you good.
10. Good During Pregnancy
This fruit contains vitamin B, folate and iron that making it an ideal fruit for pregnant mothers. B vitamins and folate prevents birth defects and boosts energy during pregnancy. Its calcium content is responsible for the bone development of the fetus. Its content of magnesium helps fight postmenopausal complications in women.
Dragon Fruit Recipes
Apart from the following recipes, dragon fruit can be used in several versatile ways. One of the benefits of dragon fruit is that it pairs great with ice creams. Whether you’re using it as an integral flavouring ingredient in homemade ice cream or as an added burst of taste to plain old vanilla ice cream. It can also be used as an edible decorative piece to your main course, due to its eye-grabbing shape and colour. When sliced, it can be dropped into a beverage of your choice. You can enjoy the health benefits of dragon fruit by adding it to several desserts like cakes, mousse and even just fresh slices with macarons.
Since this fruit is power-packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, here are some healthy recipes that you can prepare at home.
1. Dragon Fruit Shake
Making yourself a dragon fruit shake every breakfast can be the right choice to welcome a healthy lifestyle.
Banana cut in small pieces
1 full dragon fruit
1 glass of milk (250ml)
4 ½ glass of water
3 spoonfuls of sugar (Optional)
2 Cashews (Optional)
How to Prepare?
Step 1: Put the sliced banana and dragon fruit into the blender.
Step 2: Pour a glass of milk (250 ml) into a blender and add 3 spoons of sugar. Blend till it turns smooth. (If it appears thick, add water or more milk).
Step 3: Pour it in a glass and add crushed cashew to give its final touches.
2. Dragon Fruit Salad
A fruit bowl reduces risks of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and manages weight. On the contrary, the dragon fruit bowl consists of a mixture of other healthy fruits such as strawberries, bananas, watermelons, pineapple and black grapes.
2 dragon fruits neatly sliced
½ watermelon sliced into small pieces
1 banana cut in small pieces
1 cup of black grapes
How To Prepare?
Step 1: Add sliced dragon fruit, bananas, watermelon and grapes to a bowl.
Step 2: Sprinkle some salt and pepper mix (optional).
Step 3: You could add a scoop of ice cream to give you a rich taste.