History of Dragon Fruit :- This exotic fruit is innate to Central America and dates back to the 13th century. It was broadly grown in Vietnam with the average yield being 25-30 tons per hectare. People believe that the French introduced the fruit to the Vietnamese.
What is a Dragon Fruit?
It is an exotic and one of the most nutrition filled fruits in the world. It is not only delicious but also has amazing health benefits. It is also known as Pitaya Fruit or Pitahaya Fruit and is the favorite fruit of most of the Asian population.
The taste of Dragon fruit is lightly sweet, and the color of the skin and inner flesh is contrasting. This piece of beauty contains high water content and essential nutrients for the healthy body. Its nutritional value makes it a part of the main fibrous diets and foods use for the healthy functioning of the human body.
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How does a Dragon Fruit look?
It is a beautiful looking fruit with bright colors like reddish-pink skin and white inner pulp, reddish-pink skin and red inner pulp and yellow skin and white inner pulp. Its skin has scales, and the pulp contains several tiny black seeds.
How does a Dragon Fruit taste?
The taste of this exotic fruit lies between the taste of a kiwi and a pear. It is neither too sweet nor too bland. The inner pulp is mildly sweet and has high water content.
Pollination of Dragon Fruit
The fruit belongs to the Hylocereus Undatus family. It has a reddish-pink skin and red or white skin depending on the breed. The fruit grows from the dragon fruit cactus plant looks like vines, and you will be surprised to know that pollination of this plant is performed by nocturnal animals like moths and bats, unlike the day pollination is done by bees.
Cultivation of Dragon Fruit
This exotic cactus fruit plant requires less water for its cultivation. It requires rainfall between 500-1200 mm and maximum temperature of 39-40 degree Celsius. Too much rain can cause the flower to tear away, and the fruit to decay and the worst enemy of this plant is water-logging which can kill it. In the very first year of cultivation, the dragon fruit plant starts bearing fresh fruit and a structure of solid poles is required to nurture the plants.
In conditions where the amount of light is very high, it is advisable to provide adequate shade as this plant is susceptible to bleaching when exposed to high levels of radiation and light.
In one acre around 1800 plants can be grown quickly, and the yield is approximately 6-7 tons per acre.
Availability of Dragon Fruit
The plant blossoms from mid-May to June and bears fruit between the months of August to December.
Nutritional Value of a Dragon Fruit
Now you can give a distinctive touch to your boring salad regime by adding a beautiful, the fruit called the Dragon fruit.
It is a wonderful source of Vitamin C and iron, and 100 grams of the fruit contains the following nutrients:
|1||Number of Calories||54|
|2||Protein content||2 grams|
|3||Fat content||0.5 grams|
|4||Carbohydrate content||12 grams|
|8||Vitamin C||35% of Recommended Daily Intake|
|9||Iron||10.5% of Recommended Daily Intake|
|10||Riboflavin||3% of Recommended Daily Intake|
|11||Thiamine||2.6% of Recommended Daily Intake|
It is considered one of the highly nutritious fruits because of the high Vitamin C and Iron content.
How to pick the perfect Dragon fruit?
When purchasing this tropical fruit, look for a piece which is has a bright and evenly shaded skin. If it has too many scales or patches, the fruit is overripe. If you feel that you’ve picked the perfect piece but it is not properly ripe, leave it to ripen for a few days.
How to store a Dragon Fruit?
There is not proper way to store the fruit. You can leave it in the open in the fruit basket for days together or store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. If you’ve cut the Dragon fruit, you must keep the pieces in a plastic bag and freeze them to ensure that their quality does not reduce.
Is Dragon fruit a crossbreed?
No! It is certainly not a crossbreed and comes from a cactus plant.
Benefits of Dragon Fruit
These fruits are highly nutritious in nature and contain the perfect quantity of essential nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and fiber. The benefits of Dragon fruit are:
- Boosting Immunity :- It has unusual ability to boost your immune system. The high quantity of Vitamin C present in the fruit helps in making the body’s defense system healthy and keeps the antioxidants active.
- Weight Reduction :- It is low in calories, and this makes it a delight for weight loss. One Dragon fruit can fill your tummy enough to sustain you for half a day.
- Metabolism :- The protein content in Dragon fruits makes them very helpful regarding your body’s metabolism. Protein is an essential component of many body parts like skin, hair, teeth, etc. and is required for the smooth functioning of the body. It helps in speeding up repair process of body cells, improves body strength by making the muscles strong, speeds up the metabolic process and also helps in weight reduction.
- Digestion :- The high fiber content in Dragon fruit helps in digestion. It is essential for proper bowel movement, facilitation of smooth passage of stools, stimulation of peristaltic motion and release of digestive juices. Regulation of bowel movements reduces constipation and prevents irritable bowel syndrome.
- Cardiovascular Health :- Zero cholesterol content in Dragon fruit aids cardiovascular health. Reduction in the cholesterol content in the blood reduces the chances of plaque formation in the arteries reducing the risk of heart attack. It helps in increasing HDL i.e. the good cholesterol and lowering LDL which is the bad cholesterol.
- Antibacterial and Antifungal Property :- The strong anti-fungal and antibacterial strength of Dragon fruit make it a blessing for the immune system. These helps in increasing the white blood cell count of the body and inhibit the growth of foreign bodies like bacteria and fungus that affect the body. It also helps in speedy recovery of wounds and increased cell generation.
- Cancer Prevention :- Dragon fruit contains natural antioxidants and Vitamin C which assist in protecting the immune system. It also contains carotene which is associated with some anti-carcinogenic properties. It is helpful for the body and helps in preventing deadly diseases like cancer.
- Active Antioxidants :- This fruit contains several anti-oxidants that reduce free radicals which can cause cancer and several other deadly diseases. Even nutritional pills cannot match the quality of antioxidants present in Dragon fruit. Some of the important antioxidants found in Dragon fruit are:
- Flavonoids :- This antioxidant is associated with improved brain health and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Betalains :- This antioxidant protects the bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol from converting into an over-oxidized product or getting damaged.
- Hydroxycinnamates :- This antioxidant has been proved to act as an anti-cancer agent during various experiments in test tubes.
- Insulin Resistance and Fatty Liver Disease :- Red as well as white varieties of Dragon Fruit help in reduction of insulin resistance and fatty liver disease.
- Skin Care :- This exotic fruit is used as a natural therapy for skin because of its highly antioxidant and Vitamin C content. Making a paste of Dragon fruit pulp and applying it on the face can help in slowing down the ageing process and also helps in prevention of acne.
- High Potassium :- This fruit also comes with the large quantity of potassium and calcium which helps in protecting and developing the bone structure. Potassium is also required for proper cellular and electrical nerve function. It helps in maintaining body water content, pH level of the body and protects the heart and kidney.
- Recovery of Lost Appetite :- Vitamin B2 content present in the fruit helps in getting back lost appetite and reduces nausea.
- Treatment of Coloured or Dyed Hair :- Dragon fruit is a wonderful treat for colored hair. You can use the fruit’s juice or the fruit based conditioner to treat chemically colored or bleached hair. It allows the hair follicles to stay optimally open and keeps hair plane and healthy.
- Arthritis :- The fruit acts as an anti-inflammatory fruit when it comes to ailments of joints and bones like arthritis. It helps in reducing pain and inflammation.
Is Dragon fruit safe during Pregnancy?
This exotic fruit is really helpful during pregnancy as it contains high fiber which helps in dealing with constipation. You should consume at least 30 grams of it every day if you are pregnant.
Are there any adverse effects of Dragon Fruit?
Though this tropical fruit is safe but some people may be allergic to it. Some people also have antibodies for Dragon fruit.
How to eat Dragon fruit?
Picture: How to cut the fruit properly
Follow these simple steps as below:
- Find a Dragon fruit which is perfectly ripe and colored evenly. To choose the best piece, press the pulp of the fruit. If it is too soft, it means that the fruit is overripe. If it is hard, leave it for 2-3 days to ripen properly. Avoid a fruit that has too many scales or spots.
- Cut the fruit into two halves. Use a sharp knife to scoop out the pulp evenly. If the fruit is perfectly ripe, it will scoop out without much effort.
- Cut the scooped flesh into small pieces and keep them to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cold pieces of this delicious food are a delight to the taste buds!
- Do not eat the skin as it is inedible and can cause diarrhea and stomach pain.
Dragon Fruit Healthy Recipes
You can consume this exotic fruit as it is or team it up with other fruits. It is used as a snack, a juice or even a lip-smacking smoothie. Let’s have a look at home interesting Dragon Fruit recipes:
Tropical Fruit Platter
- 1 cup fresh diced papaya
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 cup diced mango cubes
- Sliced strawberry
- 2 cups diced Dragon fruit
- One tablespoon fresh lime juice for dressing
- Two tablespoons brown sugar refined
- Mix lime juice and refined brown sugar in a bowl until the dressing ingredients completely dissolve and mix with each other
- Add all the cut fruits in a separate bowl and pour the dressing evenly over the fruits
- Toss well to mix properly
- Pour the ingredients in a platter and enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream
Dragon Fruit Yoghurt
- 1 cup sliced Dragon fruit
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup chopped nuts
- Take sliced Dragon fruit in a small bowl
- Add the Greek yogurt from top
- Sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly
- Mix well
- Refrigerate for one hour to enjoy a refreshing delight
Dragon Fruit Shake
- 1 cup sliced Dragon fruit
- Two tablespoons of refined brown sugar
- 1 cup sparkling mineral water
- Fresh juice from 1 lime
- Crushed ice
- Five basil leaves
- Two oranges (peeled)
- Cut two thin slices of Dragon fruit for decoration
- Place the remaining fruit pulp, 2 peeled oranges, lime juice, brown sugar and sparkling water in a mixed or blender
- Continue to blend until a smooth mix is formed
- Place the crushed ice into glasses
- Pour the shake into the glasses and garnish with a cut Dragon fruit slices
Dragon Fruit Pictures
Here are some interesting pictures of the exotic fruit we’ve been talking about throughout the article!
Picture 1: An inner and outer view
Picture 2 : Different varieties
Picture 3: Inner flesh of the fruit
Picture 4: Dragon fruit cactus plant
Picture 5: Growing fruits in Dragon Fruit Trees or Plants