Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) | What is Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) | Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit | Uses of Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) | Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit or Pitaya
Dragon Fruit are native to Central and South America where they are known as pitaya or pitahaya. They are one of the most widely distributed members of the cactaceae family, and are now found on six continents. There are three species of dragon fruit in the genus Hylocereus and one species in the genus Selenicereus. Varieties of Hylocereus guatemalensis, Hylocereus polyrhizus, and Hylocereus undatus as well as hybrids of these three species are grown commercially worldwide. Selenicereus megalanthus is grown commercially on smaller scales in South America and is especially popular in Columbia.
The dragon fruit flesh can be white, red, or magenta all to varying degrees dependant upon variety. The red fleshed varieties contain lycopene which is a natural antioxidant known to fight cancer, heart disease, and lower blood pressure.
It is a favorite to many, particularly people of Asian origin. It features a mouth watering light sweet taste, an intense shape and color, not forgetting its outstanding flowers. In addition to being tasty and refreshing, this beautiful fruit boasts of a lot of water and other vital minerals with varied nutritional ingredients.
Due to its vital nutrients, the Pitaya fruit is suitable for all diets as it supplements fiber which is best for laxative and the liver. Similarly, people who have high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity have attested to the fruit’s goodness.
A vining, terrestrial or epiphytic cactus, with fleshy stems reaching from a few inches up to 20ft long (in mature plants). The plant may grow out of, and over the ground or climb onto trees using aerial roots. Flowers are ornate and beautiful, and many related species are propagated as ornamentals. They bloom only at night, and usually last just one night where pollination is necessary to set fruit. In full production, pitahaya plants can have up to 4-6 fruiting cycles per year.
Dragon fruit is a great healthy fruit to eat, and dragon fruit nutritional benefits are numerous and they make eating dried dragonfruit cactus fruit and/or fresh dragonfruit cactus fruit one of the most wonderful ways to stay healthy.
* The health benefits of dragonfruit cactus fruit are many and varied.
Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) :
|Nutritional values per 100 g of raw pitaya|
|Phosphorus||16 – 36 mg|
|Carotene (Vitamin A)||traces|
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)||traces|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||traces|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||0.2-0.45 mg|
|Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)||4–25 mg|
* These nutritional benefits include dragonfruit health benefits which help to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.
* Its great nutrional benefits like its high antioxidant amounts and vitamin C levels.
* Carotene helps maintain and equally improve the health of the eyes.
* The fiber enhances digestion in our bodies.
* The fiber equally reduces fat.
* The protein component of the pitaya fruit enhances the body’s metabolism.
* Calcium reinforces bones and aid in formation of healthy teeth.
* Vitamin B2 acts as a multi vitamin to recover and improve loss appetite.
* Vitamin B1 assists in production of energy as well as metabolizing carbohydrates.
* Vitamin B3 lowers bad cholesterol level and enhances the appearance of the skin by moisturizing and smoothening it.
* Vitamin C ensures bruises and cuts heal faster and improves the general immune system of our bodies.
* Phosphorus aids in tissue formation.
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