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What is dragon fruit? Learn more about its health benefits here

While its name sounds very mystical, a dragon fruit is one of the most delicious and nutritious foods you can eat. This fruit grows in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America, where it originated. It is also widely grown in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dragon fruit has a skin colored bright pink or yellow, with overlaid leaves that appear like scales. This perhaps explains why this nutritious fruit is so named. It is also called pitaya, Belle of the Night and Strawberry Pear.

The rind of a dragon fruit may differ depending on the variety. It can be white or red. It is juicy and slightly sweet with small and black edible seeds. The flesh of the fruit can be likened to kiwi in terms of texture. The outer is rough and thus rarely eaten.

Widely regarded as an exotic fruit, the dragon fruit has numerous health benefits that has made it quite popular among the health conscious. It is low in calories but has numerous nutrients such as B vitamins, protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Health benefits of dragon fruit

1. Improves digestion
With its high fiber content, dragon fruit can promote good digestion. Regular consumption of dragon fruit can make you regular. It can also facilitate release of digestive juices. Aside from regulating bowel movement, dragon fruit can possibly lower risk of digestion-related conditions such as irritable bowel movement and constipation.

2. Improves metabolism
Dragon fruit is packed with B vitamins including B1, B2 and B3. These vitamins are known to improve metabolism, aside from boosting skin health and lowering cholesterol levels.

It is also one of the few fruits that are rich in protein. The proteins in dragon fruit are metabolized by enzymes in the body and used for enhancing metabolism. Those proteins can also speed up the repair of cells and promote weight loss.

3. Promotes young, healthy-looking skin
Because it is rich in vitamin C, dragon fruit can help brighten the skin. Its high antioxidant content also works well in preventing sagging and dull skin. Dragon fruit also contains 90% water content, which enables it to hydrate the skin.

4. Help Relieve arthritic pain
Dragon fruit is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that work to lower inflammation in the joints and ligaments, improving mobility in people suffering from arthritis in the process.

5. Boosts immunity
Packed in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, dragon fruit can boost one’s immune system. The high levels of B vitamins and vitamin C contribute to the immune-boosting quality of dragon fruit. Vitamin C, for one, stimulates the activity of other antioxidants and promote a healthy immune system in the process.

How to eat dragon fruit

Eating dragon fruit is easy. Simply slice it in half by cutting it straight down the middle. The separated sections can then be eaten with a spoon. Its skin can also be peeled off, then sliced into small pieces.

Dragon fruit can also be a great addition to fruit salad. It can also be made into a syrup and then drizzled over desserts.

Of course, its sweet taste makes dragon fruit a good choice for fruit juice. One can simply make a dragon fruit juice by popping the flesh of the juice in a juicer.

You can buy dragon fruit in grocery stores, supermarkets and fruit stores in countries where the fruit is widely grown. It is typically sold in per piece and on a per kilo basis.

Aside from being consumed as is, dragon fruit can also be made into puree, jams, salads, sherbets, juice and beverages.

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