Dragon Fruit: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Eat It
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The consumption of dragon fruit, a type of fruit native to Southeast Asia, has seen significant growth in recent years.
Even though its distinctive appearance and flavour are the primary reasons for its popularity, there is some evidence to suggest that consuming it may have positive effects on one’s health.
This page discusses dragon fruit, including its health advantages, nutritional profile, and how to consume it in a proper manner.
What exactly is this fruit called
The Hylocereus cactus, also known as the Honolulu queen, is the host plant for dragon fruit. The flowers of this cactus only open up at night.
Southern Mexico, as well as Central America, are the plant’s natural habitats. It is now cultivated in every region of the planet.
It goes by numerous names, including pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear.
The two most prevalent varieties feature skin that is brilliant red and covered in green scales, giving them the appearance of a dragon, hence the name.
Although it is far less frequent, there is also a form of this fruit that has red pulp and black seeds. However, the white pulp variety is the one that is most readily available.
One further type, often known as yellow dragon fruit, distinguishes itself by having a yellow peel, white flesh, and black seeds.
Although it has a strange appearance, dragon fruit tastes very much like other kinds of fruit. Some people have likened its flavour to a combination of a kiwi and a pear, describing it as mildly sweet.
A tropical fruit that is native to Mexico and Central America is known as the dragon fruit. It has a flavour that is somewhere between that of a kiwi and a pear.
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Data Relating to Nutrition
The dragon fruit has trace levels of many different vitamins and minerals. In addition to that, it is a good source of fibre, iron, and magnesium.
The following information pertains to one serving that is 3.5 ounces in size or 100 grammes in weight:
Protein: 1.2 grammes
Fat: 0 grammes
Carbs: 13 grammes
Fiber: 3 grammes
3 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C
Iron makes about 4% of the recommended daily intake
Magnesium makes about 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Because it contains such a little number of calories in comparison to its high fibre and magnesium content, dragon fruit is sometimes referred to be a particularly nutrient-packed variety of fruit.
The dragon fruit is a fruit that is low in calories, has high fibre content, and offers a fair amount of a number of different vitamins and minerals.
Provides Several Antioxidants
Several different forms of antioxidants can be found in dragon fruit.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have been related to chronic diseases as well as the ageing process. These substances shield your cells from the damage that can be caused by free radicals.
The following is a list of some of the most important antioxidants that are found in the pulp of dragon fruit:
These dark red pigments, which may be found in the pulp of red dragon fruit, have been shown to prevent “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidised or damaged. Betalains can be found in the fruit.
Hydroxycinnamates are a class of chemicals that have shown anticancer effects in both laboratory test tubes and in animal research.
Flavonoids are a vast and diversified class of antioxidants that have been linked to improved brain health as well as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
In one study, the antioxidant capacities of 17 different tropical fruits and berries were evaluated and compared.
It was shown that the antioxidant capacity of dragon fruit was not particularly great; nonetheless, it excelled in protecting specific fatty acids from the harm caused by free radicals.
Your cells are safeguarded against harm by the numerous antioxidants that can be found in dragon fruit. Betalains, hydroxycinnamates, and flavonoids are some examples of these compounds.
Possible Advantages to One’s Health
Research conducted on animals hints that dragon fruit might have a variety of positive effects on human health.
The high fibre and antioxidant content may be responsible for a good number of these benefits.
It has been demonstrated that both the red and white kinds of dragon fruit can help lower insulin resistance and fatty liver in mice that are obese.
One study found that mice who were fed a high-fat diet and then given an extract of the fruit had decreased weight gain and decreases in liver fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These results were at least partially linked to favourable changes in the bacteria that live in the gut.
The consumption of dragon fruit, which is rich in prebiotic fibre, has been shown to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the stomach, which in turn may improve metabolic health.
Even while this fruit has the potential to treat certain aspects of metabolic syndrome, a condition that is linked to type 2 diabetes, it is possible that not all of its benefits will be positive.
In a study conducted with mice that were fed a diet high in fat and carbohydrates, the researchers found that the group of mice that received dragon fruit juice had improved blood sugar responses as well as reductions in some liver enzyme markers. However, another liver enzyme marker significantly increased during the course of the study.
Malondialdehyde is a sign of free-radical damage that was reduced by 35 percent in diabetic rats that were treated with an extract from the fruit in another study. They also showed lower arterial stiffness in comparison to the group that served as the control.
Inconsistent findings have been found in research on the effects of dragon fruit on patients with type 2 diabetes; further studies are required to verify the potential health benefits of this fruit.
Research conducted on animals reveals that dragon fruit may reduce insulin resistance, and fat in the liver, and improve heart health. The findings of studies on humans, on the other hand, are contradictory.
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In general, eating dragon fruit does not seem to pose any health risks. On the other hand, in extremely unusual instances, people can experience an allergic reaction.
After eating a fruit combo that includes dragon fruit, two people who had no previous history of food allergies suffered anaphylactic reactions. Both of these ladies were hospitalised. The results of the tests demonstrated that they had antibodies in their blood toward dragon fruit.
These are the only two adverse responses that have been reported up to this time, however, it is possible that additional people are allergic to this fruit and are unaware of it.
There have been two people who have reported having a serious allergic reaction to dragon fruit up until this point.
How to Consume It
In spite of its fearsome appearance, eating dragon fruit is actually quite simple.
The following is a guide on how to consume dragon fruit:
Choose a mature fruit with a skin that is bright red, even in colour, and yields just a little bit when you crush it.
Make a clean incision through the middle of the fruit with a very sharp knife to divide it in half.
You can either take the fruit directly out of the skin with a spoon or remove the skin first and then cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces to consume.
Ideas for serving dragon fruit include the following:
Just cut it into pieces and consume it in its original form.
It can then be topped with Greek yoghurt and chopped almonds after being sliced into small pieces.
You could add it to a salad.
The preparation of dragon fruit is simple, and after it is prepared, it may either be eaten on its own or combined with other meals in nutritious recipes.
The dragon fruit is a low-calorie fruit that, in comparison to many other tropical fruits, has a lower sugar content and a lower carbohydrate content.
It is possible that it has some positive effects on health, but more research on humans is required to confirm this.
In general, dragon fruit is one of a kind, highly delectable, and can contribute to the variety of your diet.