Having a mythical character as your namesake is a special privilege. However, dragon fruit has many more attributes to display than just the nomenclature. Full of fiber and water content, it is one of the best known health foods around. Dragon fruit, also known as Pitahaya, originated in Mexico and South America but its popularity spread far and wide. Today, the fruit is grown in several parts of the world including South China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Okinawa, Hawaii, Palestine and northern Australia.
Available across the world
The plant of dragon fruit gets attractive yellow flowers at night while the fruit itself has reddish, green tip with overlapping scales on its skin. The inner portion is similar in taste to watermelon, pear and kiwi. There are several varieties of the fruit available with diverse skins and inner edible parts. It can be either eaten raw, mixed in juices, served in salads or preserved to make jams and sauces. Just slice the fruit into two and scoop out the flesh since the skin is not edible. Middle of the fruit is the sweetest part which you can keep for later as a dessert.
However, taste is not the best of things it offers. By cherishing the dragon fruit you get lots of beneficial nutrients which are easily absorbed by the human body. The fruit contains carotene, Vitamin C, B, calcium, iron, phosphorous, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. It does have a small amount of fat too which is contained in its small black seeds all of which can’t be removed manually. Luckily, most of the fat is monounsaturated variety which is beneficial for your body.
Health benefits abound
The most prominent among dragon fruit health benefits is its effectiveness in controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. So besides the medications and exercise that your doctor recommends, taking dragon fruit as your natural treatment may help manage the blood sugar in a more effective way. Being sweet in taste, the fruit also helps control craving for sugar. For pre-diabetics, it can be a part of preventive treatment along with exercise.
Being high on vitamin C, dragon fruit heals cuts and bruises very fast and strengthens the body’s immune system also. The high concentration of antioxidants helps prevent formation of cancer-causing free radicals. On the other hand, dietary fiber improves digestion and vitamin B2 enhances appetite. Vitamin B1 metabolizes carbs to give you instant energy which is why it can be a good energy filler before or after a workout. The high protein content in dragon fruit acts as a bonus for exercisers since not only it helps build muscles but also fastens body’s metabolism thus preventing weight gain.
Due to its detoxifying effect, the fruit neutralizes toxic substances like heavy metals. According to various research studies, the dragon fruit is great for the circulatory system and it also neutralizes toxicity in the blood besides helping in prevention of colon cancer.
Its consumption reduces cholesterol levels and manages high blood pressure. If that was not all, the regular intake of dragon fruit also helps fight cough and asthma thus proving to be highly beneficial in managing chronic disorders too.
The cosmetic and health industries have also jumped the bandwagon by coming up with various products containing extracts of dragon fruit. Because it has high antioxidant levels, the fruit is known to be good for skin while good dose of other nutrients helps improve the eyesight. Other products containing extract of dragon fruit claim to be beneficial in strengthening bones and teeth besides helping in tissue formation because of rich haul of calcium and phosphorus in the fruit.
So enjoy and revel in the dragon fruit health benefits.
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