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The dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or pitahaya is one of the most exotic and nutritious fruits you’ll find. It has an intense and unique shape, a vibrant pink color and a light, sweet taste. Having originated from Central America, it has spread and thrived in the Asian region as it required a warm climate to grow in. The dragon fruit can be made into juices, wines, flavorings and of course, medicine. Like many other fruits, the dragon fruit has medicinal benefits that a lot of people have grown to trust and depend on. Here are some of them:

High concentration of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is very important because it improves our immune system. If you want to heal any open wound quickly, regular Vitamin C intake is highly recommended. Vitamin C from dragon fruit is also easier to absorb than Vitamin C from pill supplements. I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me that it’s more fun to get your daily Vitamin C intake by eating dragon fruit rather than taking pill supplements.

It is also better to eat dried dragon fruit than fresh dragon fruit as studies have shown that the former contains 10x the Vitamin C content compared to the latter. Almost 50% of the recommended daily Vitamin C intake is covered just by eating 100g of dried dragon fruit.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

With the Vitamin B1 content in dragon fruit, this helps our bodies generate a lot more energy and metabolizes carbohydrates.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

A low cholesterol diet is important for diabetic patients. In this regard, dragon fruit is ideal to eat because it is low in cholesterol. Moreover, those fats which produce cholesterol is relatively non-existent.

Vitamin B3 can also enhance our skin’s appearance by moisturizing it. We all want our skin to be as smooth as a baby’s don’t we?

Vitamin B12

Dragon fruit is a natural appetite stimulant because it contains Vitamin B12. This is great for anyone who has just recovered from an illness and has lost his/her appetite.

High fiber content

Dragon fruit has a high dietary fiber content. With fresh dragon fruit, you can get up to 1g of fiber for every 100g of the fruit. On the other hand, for every 100g of dried dragon fruit, you can get 10g of fiber. The skin of the dragon fruit is also rich in fiber. If it is in good condition (no molds, black spots, and smells fresh), try eating that as well. This is ideal for those people suffering from constipation or irregular bowel movements. Moreover, it also benefits our liver by preventing urinary tract infection (UTI).

The red dragon fruit variety has a higher fiber content than the yellow variety.

High mineral content

Dragon fruit is a great source of phosphorus and calcium. These minerals are responsible for reinforcing our bones, making our teeth healthier, and having great body cells development. Tissue formation is also promoted by phosphorus.

The yellow dragon fruit variety has higher mineral content than the red variety.

Rich in antioxidants

Dragon fruit is an excellent source of natural antioxidants which aid in blocking free radicals which cause cancer and other health-related issues. Antioxidants found in natural food will always be better than taking doses from pill supplements.

Helps in controlling glucose levels

This is especially true for type II diabetics.

If you are type 1 diabetic patient who uses insulin, studies show that by eating dragon fruit, you can reduce your insulin intake.

Reduces the risk of high blood pressure

Eating dragon fruit can normalize your body’s hypertension levels. This is good news for people who are prone to having strokes.

Neutralizes toxic substances in the body

The effects of toxic substances, such as heavy metals, are greatly reduced. Some heavy metals like copper and zinc are good for the body but only in trace amounts. If these accumulate and reach a dangerously high level, these can cause serious illness. Mercury, lead, and arsenic definitely have no health benefits.

Improves eyesight

Dragon fruit contains carotene which helps in maintaining and equally improving our eyesight. This is good news for people who dislike eating carrots.

Reduces weight

Once again, by regularly eating dragon fruit, we can cut down on our weight significantly and build a well-balanced body.

Alleviates chronic respiratory tract ailments

Cough and asthma are very common respiratory ailments among children and adults alike. Regular consumption of dragon fruit helps in alleviating these ailments.

High Protein Content

Having high protein content can boost our metabolism. This also leads to reduction in weight.

Protein is also a vital ingredient in producing hormones, enzymes and chemicals in the body.

Low fat content

There are so many small black seeds in the edible part of the dragon fruit. These seeds contain a small amount of fats but most of these are unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are responsible for increasing the levels of good cholesterol and removing bad cholesterol from our bodies.

Dragon fruit is very versatile and can be served in many ways. Dried pitayas can be added in salads. This creates a healthy chewy texture. It can also be used as a topping in pizzas. If you are fond of eating breads, you can make your own dragon fruit jam or preserves. As a dessert, it is great to eat a fresh pitaya as a whole or as a compliment to ice cream. You can even use it as an ingredient in your homemade cocktail. With all these varied ways of eating dragon fruit, you will never get sick and tired of eating it. So what are you waiting for? Grab one from your nearest market and get into the spirit of the Year of the Dragon this 2012.

source: http://healthvotes.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-dragon-fruit/2235/

How to…Eat Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit Sorbet

INGREDIENTS

2 dragon fruits
3/4 c. cold water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp raw cane sugar/raw honey

DIRECTIONS
Cut the dragon fruit in half. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Reserve the halves for serving, if desired. Freeze the halves until you are ready to fill them.

Place the pulp of the dragon fruit in your food processor along with the water,lemon juice and sugar. Pulse until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Spoon the sorbet into the frozen halves,or freeze the sorbet until ready to serve.

Makes about 2 cups of sorbet.

Dragonfruit Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/2 dragonfruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 1.5 cups raw milk (almond milk or any seed milks/nut milks)
  • Raw Honey to taste (optional)

Blend until smooth, pour in tall glass. Yum Yum!

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