Week 31 blog- Dragon Fruit

 

What is dragon fruit- Itís grown primarily in Asia, Mexico, Central America, and South America, and historians think it originated in Central America. Dragon fruit (or pitaya) comes from a cactus of the type Hylocereus. Itís a fast-growing crop and can produce for more than 20 years. Its fruit grows from the flower from the cactus plants. They thrive best in arid, desert climates. There are 3 types. The three include:

pitaya blanca pink/red skin, white flesh, and black seeds, pitaya roja pink/red skin, red flesh, and black seeds- The red variety is not as commonly found and is very expensive. The most commonly found- pitaya amarilla yellow skin, white flesh, and black seeds. Today we will focus on the yellow dragon fruit for you can find them locally- the sweetest of all the dragon fruits.

Yellow dragon fruit is native to Colombia being the largest producer, export them all over the world. They are also grown in Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico and in California and Florida in the United States. Growers specializing in rare fruits in the United States, specifically in southern California and Florida, grow Yellow Dragon fruit on a smaller scale. The Yellow Dragon fruit cactus has long extended stems that can grow up to 20 feet long and require some form of trellising or support to grow on. The fruit is oblong in shape with thick skin covered in small knobby protrusions. I posted a picture on my website. These protrusions, when immature, have small spines that fall off as they mature. It has a thicker skin which you cut in half to get to the fruit. The fruit has a crisp, juicy texture and a sweet- tropical flavor. Some people compare the taste of dragon fruit to a combination of kiwi and pear.It is available all year round with its peak season summer and fall months.

How do you eat it?

Yellow Dragon fruit is typically eaten raw, either straight out of the skin or scooped out and cubed, balled or sliced. For the best flavor, refrigerate the fruit for 2 hours before preparing raw. Add to tropical fruit salads or serve alone as dessert. Yellow Dragon fruit flesh can be pureed and made into a sauce or syrup or added to smoothies and cocktails. Freeze the pureed pulp for sorbet or fruitsicles. Use the flesh to flavor pastries or other baked goods. Yellow Dragon fruit can be kept at room temperature for a few days and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Yellow_Dragon_Fruit_16142.php†† How to know it is ripe-the outer skin should be bright and even-colored. If the fruit has a lot of dark blotches on the skin, similar to bruises on an apple, then it may be overripe. A few spots, however, are normal. Its skin is not to be eaten.

Nutritional Values-

Yellow dragon fruit is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They contain dietary fiber and protein and contain more calcium than red-skinned varieties. They provide small amounts of iron, vitamins A and C, and niacin. Yellow dragon fruit is a good source of antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids. The small black edible seeds contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for a healthy heart.

Health benefits-

1.††††††††††† The great content of water on Yellow Dragon Fruit helps us get hydrated and fighting liquid retention. And it has antihistaminic properties, so it is tremendously beneficial for people with asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

 

2.††††††††††† Detoxifies the body- Fruits are high in dietary fiber which is beneficial for the digestive system as it removes toxins accumulated in the body. It also lightens the workload of the limbs, liver and maintains optimal health. It is beneficial for pregnant women and people with constipation.

 

3.††††††††††† Promotes cardiovascular health- Mono-saturated fats can be very useful in lowering heart-related problems and cardiovascular issues. Dragon fruit has mono-saturated fats. It will also help in keeping your blood pressure low. It works by reducing bad cholesterol levels and improves good cholesterol levels.

 

4.††††††††††† RBC structure- It is rich in iron which is essential for making red blood cells and is helpful for anemia patients. Pregnant women must add dragon fruit to their diet because the blood cells needed to supply the fetus carry high amounts of oxygen and nutrients.

 

5.††††††††††† Antioxidant support- It is a great source of antioxidants that help reduce cell damage as it is effective in reducing the chances of cancer and other health problems. It helps prevent (wild child) free radical that damage cells and can cause premature aging and age-related diseases. It has three times more vitamin C than carrots. It helps to eliminate heavy metals and other toxins. It also helps improve the bodyís ability to withstand stress.

 

6.††††††††††† Reduces inflammation- the seeds contain omega-3 fats that fight fungal and bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases in the organ system. The white blood cell count is upgraded, fighting against the toxins in the human body. It stimulates the regeneration of cells which speeds up the healing of wounds and sores. In the case of bruises or wounds, cell regeneration is stimulated for faster recovery

 

7.††††††††††† Healthy skin- Dragon fruit is considered rich in antioxidants, mono-saturated fats, vitamins, enzymes, fiber, and minerals which provide a lot of useful nutrients to your body. When the body is healthy, it will reflect on your skin. Your skin will look healthy and glowing.

Yellow dragon fruit side effects-

1.††††††††††† Eating large amounts of dragon fruit isnít good.It can cause slight reddish urine and feces when consumed in excess.

2.††††††††††† Dragon fruit could lower the level of blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely while you are eating dragon fruit.

3.††††††††††† Dragon fruit may interact with the regulation of blood sugar. At least two weeks before your scheduled surgery, avoid eating dragon fruit.

As in anything- moderation and portion control is key!!

In summary-

Yellow Dragon Fruit is a popular exotic fruit with a sweet and mild taste. Dragon fruit is a nutritious fruit that has many beneficial health benefits. Are you in a fruit rut? Eating only bananas and apples? Are you ready to get a little adventurous? Try yellow dragon fruit in your next fruit cup, smoothie or straight out of the skin. You will love it!!