Dragon fruit is the name given to the kind of fruit harvested from a number of different cactus species. It can easily be found in Central America, northern South America, Southeast Asia and some other regions. The dragon fruit possesses a bizarre look which expresses its tropical origin. That is a hand-sized oval covered by a thick pink skin that forms into multiple soft spikes. These spikes locate sparsely all around the fruit and make it look like a rising flame or a blooming rosebud. Maybe that was the reason why they came up with the exotic name – Dragon fruit!
The inside of the fruit is filled with white, juicy flesh and hundreds of tiny crunchy black seed that resemble the sesame seed. Both of them are edible and delicious. You can easily slice the dragon fruit into halves and scoop out the pulp or slice off the bitter skin and cut the pulp into small chunks. It can also be an excellent ingredient to prepare many kinds of desserts and drinks such as fruit salad, smoothies, purees, jellies, etc.
Other than the commonly known kind with white flesh and pink leathery skin, you can also find other kinds of dragon fruit. They include red dragon fruit, which has the significant dark pink flesh, and yellow dragon fruit, which is the rarest and the sweetest kind.
The fancy name, unique taste and exotic appearance of dragon fruit always draw a certain attention, and in addition to that, people are increasingly interested to find out what health benefits it can provide.
First of all, dragon fruit is abundant in vitamin C and iron. Each 100g of white pulp dragon fruit contains about 10%-30% of the daily requirement for vitamin C and about 10% of the daily requirement for iron. The vitamin C is an excellent nutrition for people having a wound or any damage on the skin because it helps form collagen. It also plays an important role in the immune function as it helps some white blood cells to complete their task. As for iron, it is an essential mineral that, together with other substances, build up the hemoglobin. This protein located mainly in the red blood cells and helps transport oxy throughout our whole body. Iron deficiency is a very common condition, especially in women and it can cause fatigue, exhaustion and anemia.
Other nutritional components such as vitamin B1, B2 and B3, minerals such as calcium, and phosphorus can also be found in dragon fruit. Although it is abundant in vitamins and minerals, dragon fruit does not really contain much sugar. Each 100g of dragon fruit flesh only contains 52 calories, which makes it a suitable fruit for people suffer from diabetes or people who are overweight.
Another health benefit of dragon fruit lies in its rich dietary fiber source. Eating 100g of dragon fruit means that you have had more than 10% of the daily value for dietary fiber. Some people even suggest this kind of fruit as a remedy for constipation due to this fact and the laxative property of the seed. In addition, the juicy flesh is 87% water, which makes it an excellent ingredient for summer drinks.
Additionally, dragon fruit has a number of different types of antioxidants, they are betalains, hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids. These components can prevent the formation of free radical and scavenge them.
Free radicals are uncharged molecules that possess an unpaired electron. Although our body produce free radicals for a number of normal functions like immune, metabolism and respiration, they are dangerous because they are highly reactive and they can start a chain reaction. The free radicals travel to find another healthy cell or compound and take their electrons to fill in their missing place. The cells or compounds that lost their electrons are now unable to perform their functions and become free radicals, and the process goes on, which gradually destroy our body. The damage of free radicals is believed to be in relation with cancer, aging and cardiovascular diseases. See home remedies for Yellow Jacket’s Sting.
Luckily for us, we always have an effective weapon to fight against free radicals – antioxidants. Antioxidants can react with free radicals, giving them electrons and stop the chain reaction.
As mentioned above, eating dragon fruit or any other kind of food that contains antioxidants shall help you a lot in fighting with free radicals and consequently, provide you with a lot of health benefits.