Foods for Thought: Dragon Fruit
Let’s talk exotic fruit, dragon fruit to be exact. You may have seen these in the store and wondered what on earth they were. Dragon fruit is known for its wild appearance with bright pink and green colors -almost like the scales of a dragon itself. They are the fruit of a cactus plant and are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America and are also known by the names, pitaya or strawberry pear.
Chinese legend states that this fruit was born from the fire breathed by a dragon in battle. While that story may seem a bit hard to believe, their health benefits are even more unbelievable. Want to add a powerhouse of nutrition to your diet? All you need to do is start eating dragon fruit on a regular basis!
Dragon Fruit is filled with antioxidants which can help eliminate free radicals and have been linked to cancer prevention. A 2017 study notes that this fruit could be useful against breast cancer. More studies are being completed and are looking toward using dragon fruit during breast cancer therapy. Yet another study shows that the oligosaccharides in dragon fruit could prove to be helpful against colon cancer.
Helps to reduce Insulin Resistance, Fatty Liver and Metabolic Syndrome
The high levels of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants in both the red and white varieties of dragon fruit have been shown to reduce both insulin resistance and fatty liver. Consuming this fruit may also help reduce weight gain and improve certain features of metabolic syndrome which is a precursor to type II diabetes.
Boosts the Immune System:
The high levels of Vitamin C in dragon fruit helps to boost your immunity and the antioxidants work to increase your platelet count which can help you recover from any illness faster!
Consuming dragon fruit on a regular basis has been linked to a reduction in blood sugar levels.
Aids in Digestion and feeds healthy gut flora:
Dragon fruit contains high quality fiber that can help with digestion and prebiotic properties that help promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It’s a great fruit to eat to help keep intestinal infections at bay, help facilitate healthy bowels and to prevent constipation and other conditions such as IBS.
Dragon fruit has a much higher calcium content than other fruits which can help keep your bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Improves Bone and Heart Health
The high amounts of magnesium dragon fruit contains can help to improve both your heart and bone health.
The B and C vitamins in dragon fruit help to keep cell membranes healthy which may help prevent cognitive disorders and keep you thinking fast on your feet every day!
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Adding dragon fruit powder to your diet helps to reduce pain caused by arthritis due to inflammation.
Dragon fruit helps to inhibit the growth of a protein found in the liver that is linked with glaucoma. Research shows that the beta-carotene contained in this fruit also helps in preventing cataract formation by protecting the eyes from free radicals.
Improves Blood Pressure, Cholesterol Levels, Thyroid Function and Metabolism
B vitamins in dragon fruit help to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid function and boosts your metabolism.
Improves the Appearance of Your Skin
The amounts of Vitamin C contained in this fruit helps to pump up collagen production and keep your skin vibrant and looking young!
Are you ready to run out to buy some dragon fruit now? The great news is that it can be found frozen in many grocery stores, so you don’t have to wait for it to be in season. You can also find dragon fruit powder that you can easily add to smoothies. But if you are lucky, you can find it fresh and ripe in your local grocery store. August and September are peak months for most varieties however, certain areas of the country may have different types that can be purchased November through February.
Dragon fruit has tiny edible black seeds, and the texture is similar to a kiwi or watermelon. The flavor is mildly sweet and a bit earthy. The deeper pink the flesh is, the sweeter the flavor will be.
Try some of our Dragon Fruit recipes below to add this super fruit to your diet today! Click the links below for the recipes.