What is Dragon Fruit?
The dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp. ), also referred to as pitaya or pitahaya, is increasing in popularity in several countries, including Thailand, which has a climate that is perfect for cultivating tropics and subtropics fruits in general, and dragon fruits in particular. Betacyanin, a red/purple pigment with anti-oxidative effects, is another important component of it.
It can also be processed into juice and puree, in addition to being consumed fresh. Sweets, yogurts, ice creams, pastries, jams, jellies, and wines are just a few of the foods that contain them. This is owing to the fruit’s unique color (particularly red/purple pigments in red-flesh dragon fruit), high nutritional content, and antioxidant capabilities.
The increased processing of dragon fruits result in a large volume of waste products such as peels and seeds. Cactus fruit, dragon pearl fruit, and pitaya are some of the other names for it. It’s native to Southeast Asia, but it’s now found throughout the Caribbean and Hawaii.
Why is it called Dragon Fruit?
The sharp “scales” encircling the oval-shaped fruit are symbolic of a dragon. It was named after its appearance, which is somewhat comparable to an artichoke. There are four types of fruit: three with pink skin, one with white flesh, one with red flesh, and one with purple flesh.
The name ‘dragon fruit’ comes from the distinctive appearance of the fruit, which has spikes that mimic fire and scales that resemble those of a dragon, as represented in Chinese mythology.
Different types of Dragon Fruits
Depending on how it appears, there are three main types.
1. A reddish-brown skin with a reddish-brown flesh
2. Skin that is red with white flesh
3. Skin that is yellow with white flesh
All Dragon Fruits have black edible seeds that resemble kiwi seeds in look.
Some other classifications are as follows:-
1. Sour Dragon Fruit –Stenocereus is a species of dragon fruit that is commonly consumed in the dry regions of the Americas. Sour dragon fruit is refreshing due to its juicier flesh, in addition to having a powerful and sour taste. This fruit is still harvested by locals in northwestern Mexico, and it is known by the term “ziix is ccapxl,” which means “thing whose fruit is sour.” This fruit has a more tangy, watermelon-like aroma. The seeds, which have a nutty flavor, are edible.
2. White Dragon Fruit- Hylocereus Undatus is another name for Selenicereus Undatus. It’s a sort of dragon fruit with a pink exterior and white flesh. It is the most common and tasty fruit. Thompson, the largest dragon fruits with a weight of up to 1.5 pounds, belongs to this family.
3. Red Dragon Fruit-Pitaya Roja is another name for Hylocereus costaricensis. It’s a red fruit with crimson skin and red flesh. It’s a delicious fruit with a similar texture to a Kiwi. It’s delicious on its own or in salads, smoothies, cocktails, and salsa. One disadvantage of eating red dragon fruits is that it stains your fingers, but combining it with strong-tasting fruits like pineapple is enjoyable.
4. Yellow Dragon Fruit-Pitaya Amarilla, species known as Hylocereus megalanthus and widely called Selenicereus Megalanthus, is a dragon fruit variety endemic to South America with a yellow-skinned scale pattern and firm white flesh. This variety only comes in one type, yet it is widely regarded as the best dragon fruit.
5. Pink Dragon Fruit-Despite the fact that these fruits are related to the red-type dragon fruit, their flesh is different. The edible flesh of the pink dragon fruit ranges from soft to scorching pink. This variety of fruits can adapt to a wide range of climates and soil conditions. These types include Makisupa, Delight, Cosmic Charlie, Purple Haze, Voodoo Child, and American Beauty (Hylocereus guatemalensis).
All of these dragons are unquestionably tasty and refreshing, especially when served chilled.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition Fact
What Does Dragon Fruit Taste Like?
The flavor of dragon fruit is difficult to explain. It has a moderately sweet flavor that is delicate on the tongue and tastes like an unripe pear. The fruit has a creamy, firm, crisp-to-the-bite texture and is delicious. This fruit, unlike many other tropical fruits, does not have a strong scent. The scent of this fruit is almost non-existent.
Cultivation and Harvesting
It is a semi-epiphytic shrub that prefers a dry tropical or subtropical climate with an average temperature of 21-29 °C, but it can endure temperatures as low as 0 °C for short periods. Sunlight and 600-1300 mm of rainfall with consecutive wet and dry seasons are required for this crop. Plant development is rapid and continuous, except for periods of vegetative rest when the climate is unfavorable. Chopping off the stem or planting the seeds is an easy way to multiply dragon fruits. It climbs and attaches itself to the supports in a natural way, either vertically or horizontally.
Chemical- Constituent of pigment found in Dragon Fruit
The most common hue in the pulp of red-flesh dragon fruit is betacyanin, a pigment group comprising water-soluble phytochemical constituents that can also be identified in the peel of both red-flesh and white-flesh dragon fruits. Because it contains a lot of betacyanin, it’s been examined a lot in terms of its qualitative and quantitative qualities.
Betanin (betanidin-5-O-glucoside), phyllocactin, hylocerenin, and their isomer forms are the most common betacyanin compounds present in dragon fruit, with a small number of undetermined betacyanin components.
10 Benefits of Dragon Fruit
1. Maintains Cholesterol levels and aids in Weight Reduction–Cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat are all minimal in this bright pink fruit. It’s the ideal fruit for keeping your weight in check while also satisfying your sweet craving. If you include it in your regular diet, it will help to maintain your heart healthy and fit. If you’re trying to lose weight, the fruit’s seeds are abundant in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help with nutrition and serve as a healthy replacement.
2. Good for Cardiac Health: – This fruit possesses a remarkable ability that aids in the reduction of bad cholesterol and the replenishment of healthy fats. It is high in fiber and beneficial to the heart, hypertension, and obesity.
3. Fiber-Rich Food:- Eat a dragon fruit to help your digestion process. They’re full of fiber, which can help with constipation and digestive problems. The flesh and seeds, both of which are high in protein, will keep your body nourished and satiated.
4. Antioxidants that are actively present:- It is rich in antioxidant. Antioxidant-rich meals can help to cleanse the body of free radicals and cancer-causing qualities.
5. Defeats Diabetes:- This fruit is high fiber content can assist to treat diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels and lowering sugar surges. Every time check your doctor before making any dietary adjustments or alterations to ensure that this is good food for you.
6. Minimize Aging Symptoms:– Consuming it, which is high in antioxidants, can help keep your skin looking young and tight. As a potential substitute for anti-aging masks, you can construct a face mask with fruit and honey.
7. Treatment for Colored Hair:- The dragon fruit’s juice is an effective treatment for colored hair. One may maintain your chemically treated or colored hair by just rubbing the juice or a conditioner incorporating dragon fruit on your scalp. The hair follicles will remain open, enabling your hair to breathe and stay healthy and silky.
8. Arthritis is Reduced:- Osteoarthritis affects the joints directly, causing discomfort and immobility. Incorporating dragon fruit into your diet can aid in the treatment of several disorders. The advantage of dragon fruits for arthritis sufferers are so great that it’s sometimes referred to as the “anti-inflammatory fruit.”
9. Pimple Prevention:- This isn’t the only treatment for teenagers. This fruit, which is high in vitamin C, can be used as a cosmetic ointment. Make a paste out of a piece of it and apply it to inflamed regions of your face or skin, then rinse it off with water. Use twice a day for optimal effects.
10. Sun-damaged Skin Remedy:- Dragon fruit, cucumber juice, and honey can be combined to make an aloe-like compound that can soothe damaged skin. It is high in vitamin B3, can help to hydrate burnt skin while also releasing heat from the affected area.
Some other benefits of consuming it are as follows:-
1. Increases Haemoglobin
2. Helps in Weight Management
3. Prevents Cancer (Phytoalbumin & Anti-Oxidants)
4. Prevents Glaucoma
5. Boosts Immunity & Prevents Infections
6. Helps Suppress Arthritis Pain (Anti-Inflammatory)
7. Nutritionally good fruit during Pregnancy
8. Prevents Renal Bone Disease
9. Stronger Teeth and Bones
10. Improves Platelet Count during Dengue Fever
11. Repairs Body Cells
12. Improves Appetite
13. Improves Vision
14. Boosts Brain Function
15. Prevents Respiratory Disorders
16.High in Antioxidants & Vitamin-C
17. Decreases Stress
18.Prevents Liver Disorders (Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)
19.Acts as a Natural Probiotic
Also Read: Benefits of Muskmelon
Dragon Fruit for Skin
1) Combats Aging Signs
2) Acne Treatment
3) It relieves sunburned skin
4) Helps to maintain skin health
5) Gives Dry Skin the Moisture It Needs
How to Eat Dragon Fruit?
The secret is to find fully ripe fruit. The bright red ones, not the green ones, are the ones to go for. But keep in mind that too many blotches can indicate over-ripeness. Cut it in half using a knife. After that, use a spoon to scoop out the pulp and add it to salads, beverages, smoothies, or yogurt. You may also form little cubes and give them an appropriate shape to make the dish look more tempting.
Are you sick of the same old apple or banana? You have permission to pick up the unusual fruit because it is so delicious that it should be illegal. As a kiwi, it is so simple to eat that all you need is a spoon to dig out its sweetness. You can also simply bite it off the peel for a quick fix. As a snack, one dragon fruit would be enough, but you’ll soon be yearning more.
1. Cut the fruit in half lengthwise (as if it did with lemon) and scoop out the meat to consume. Ensure you only consume the white part with the seeds and toss out the pink parts, which may or may not be edible.
2. Without chopping the skin/peel, split the halves into small cubes. ( Like cutting a cake into tiny squares without hitting the wooden/cardboard base.) Take out the cubes and consume them.
Let us discuss how to select Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruits have brilliant, uniformly darker pigmentation when fully mature. A few spots are normal, but a large number of black blotches or flaws usually mean it’s past its prime period and it’s over- ripened now, which will not taste good. It will almost lose its flavor and become tasteless. The outer skin should have a hard but supple feel to it. Soggy skin or wrinkles/sagging, on the other hand, signal that it is too old and should be thrown.
Keeping the entire fruit
- In a pouch, put the dragon fruits. Before storing it, do not peel or cut it.
- Keep it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator (temperatures between 5 and 8° C are ideal).
- Fruit can be kept frozen for up to three months.
Keeping the sliced fruit safe
- Once the dragon fruits has been chopped, scoop out the pulp from the peel.
- Place the pulp in an air-tight container.
- Because the quality of cut dragon fruits degrades quickly, they must be kept refrigerated.
- Refrigerate the pulp for up to 3 months.
Dragon Fruit Recipes
- 1 Dragon Fruit
- Sugar as your preference
- Milk as your preference
- Ice cubes
Step 1:- The dragon fruit’s skin must first be peeled, then sliced into little pieces.
Step 2: -If desired, add the milk and sugar to the blender, along with some water and ice cubes.
Step 3:- 3 minutes in the blender
Step 4:- Stop the blender and pour the contents into a bowl or large glass.
Step 5:- Smoothie is ready to drink , you can have it in the morning or as a snacking option.
2. Tangy dragon fruit salad
- Dragon fruit cubes- 250gms
- Lettuce leaf
- Honey-1 tbsp
- Roasted cumin seed powder- ½ teaspoon
- Black salt and pepper as per taste
- Fresh parsley/mint leaf
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Step 1:- Dice the fruit into cubes
Step 2:- Take a bowl (medium size- 250-300gms)
Step 3:- Put the diced cube into it
Step 4- Add chopped lettuce, honey, lemon juice, cumin powder, black salt & pepper
Step 5- Mix them well
Step 6- Garnish it with fresh chopped parsley /mint leaf and serve it.
3. Dragon Fruit Salsa
- 1 cup dragon fruit (varieties included)
- 1 onion, green (chopped)
- 5 cilantro stems (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Step 1:- Take a bowl
Step 2:- Put all the above mentioned ingredients into it
Steps 3:- Onion should be finely chopped and fruit should be chopped into dice
Step 4 :- Add lemon juice for more flavor
Step 5:- Serve it & enjoy!
4. Pink pitaya soda with white cubes
- Pink pitaya
- White pitaya cubes
- lime juice (Freshly squeezed)
- simple syrup [you can buy it online]
- soda water
Step 1:- Take pink pitaya, peel it off
Step 2:- Blend the pulp
Step 3:- Add lime juice & simple syrup into it
Step 4:- Take a glass
Step 5:- Put white pitaya cubes at the bottom
Step 6:- Pour the pink pulp
Step 7:- Add soda water
Step 8:- Mix it
Step 9:- Garnish it with white pitaya thin slices and enjoy !
5. Fruit Popsicles
- 1/2 liter skim milk
- 3 tbsp dragon fruit (freeze dried, powder)
- 1/2 cup blackberries, frozen
- a half-cup of pineapple- strawberries piece (frozen)
- 1/2 bowl fresh dragon fruit diced [ 15 cubes]
- 2 tbsp honey
Step 1:- Boil the skim milk.
Step 2:- Let it boil for 10 minutes till its consistency gets thicker.
Step 3:- Let it cool down [room temperature].
Step 4:- Add pitaya powder into it, mix it well.
Step 5:- Add blackberries, pine apple , strawberries & diced dragon fruit cubes.
Step 6:- Pour the mixtures into popsicles mold.
Step 7:- Freeze it for 6 hours.
Step 8:- After freezing it for 6 hours take them out of the mold.
Step 9:- Garnish the popsicles with honey & enjoy !
Dragon Fruits Side Effects
It is possible that eating dragon fruit will give you diarrhea. Only a few people have had adverse reactions to this fruit. Swollen, itchy red skin, swelling around the lips, and intense itching throughout the body have all been reported as symptoms. Although, whether or not it interacts with drugs has only been studied in a limited way. It is critical to have specific data on what should be included and excluded from a person’s diet who is taking medications for any type of sickness. However, if you have even the slightest suspicions of allergy, see your doctor right away to receive a clear diagnosis.
The dragon fruit is beneficial to the body’s overall well-being. It is a fruit that is both safe and simple to use. Pitahaya is now grown in Southeast Asia, Florida, the Caribbean, Australia, and other tropical and subtropical places across the world. Pitahaya is sometimes referred to as a tropical “superfood” because of its numerous health benefits and the fact that it is less well-known than many other fruits and health foods.
The English name for these fruits is “dragon fruit,” which is derived from their vernacular Asian names. Hylocereus undatus is the botanical name for the pitahaya, which is derived from the Greek words hyle (woody), cereus (waxen), and undatus, which relates to the wavy borders of its branches. Pitahaya stems are scandent (climbing), crawling, spreading, or clambering, and have numerous branches.
1. Is dragon fruits safe to eat every day?
Yes, you can have it daily up to 30gm, not more than this on a daily basis.
2. What is the best time to eat dragon fruit?
The best time to eat fruits is in the morning when the gastrointestinal tract digests the fructose fast and supplies our bodies with all of the nutrients.
3. Does dragon fruit make you poop?
Yes, because of its good fiber content. It also helps to fight constipation
4. Does dragon fruit make you sleepy?
Yes, because it is rich in magnesium which acts as a good sedative agent.
5. Which is better: red or white dragon fruits?
The antioxidant content of red dragon fruit is higher than that of white dragon fruit. That makes it the ideal diet for maintaining good eye, blood, and skin health. The red one, on the other hand, has a higher sugar content than the white one.
6.What does dragon fruit do to your body?
Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in this fruit are beneficial to your immune system. It can help you get more iron. Iron is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout your body and providing energy. It also contains vitamin C, which aids in the absorption and utilization of iron.
7. Is red dragon fruits sweeter than white?
Red dragon fruit is one of our favorites, with its vibrant magenta flesh. The red-flesh dragon fruits is widely grown in Nicaragua, where it is miraculously fertilized by the rich volcanic soil, resulting in a more tasty and sweet fruit.
8. Does dragon fruit cause gas?
Yes, It has the potential to ferment, resulting in bloating and gas.
9. Are dragon fruits good for IBS?
Dragon fruits are high in fiber, which helps the body’s bowel motions by allowing food to travel more easily through the digestive tract. Diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, and even serious disorders like colorectal cancer can all be prevented by eating this fruit daily.
10. Is dragon fruits good for pregnant ladies?
It is incredibly healthy and has a lot of carbohydrates, which will give a pregnant woman much-needed strength. Dragon fruits are fine to consume during breastfeeding because it has several health advantages for both you and your baby.
11. Is dragon fruit high in sugar?
It is a minimal tropical fruit with less sugar and carbohydrates than most of the other fruits.