Dragon fruit is a fruit of the cactus plant that grows in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia and Latin America. It has a yellow or red peel with green scales on it, which are spiny, inside a white, magenta or light pink flesh and it has many tiny black seeds – the overall shapes resembles a dragon and hence the name Dragon fruit. Dragon fruit provides a number of essential nutrients and has some potential health benefits as well as is known as a 'Superfruit'. The other name of Dragon fruit is Pitaya or Pitahaya.
Dragonfruit does not contain cholesterol, saturated fat or trans fat, so regular consumption will help manage your blood pressure and control your cholesterol levels. The seeds of dragonfruits are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) that reduce triglycerides and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are high in fiber aiding in elimination of toxins and healthy bowels as well as helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Dragonfruits are rich in vitamin C, containing 9mg per serving that is equivalent to 10 percent of the daily value. Thus, eating dragonfruits helps strengthen your immune system, promotes faster healing of bruises and wounds as well as treating acne. Consumption of dragonfruit will help fight against chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma and cough.
Dragonfruit is abundant in B vitamins such as:
B1 - also known as Thiamine, which plays a central role in the generation of energy from carbohydrates. It is involved in RNA and DNA production, as well as nerve function. Its active form is a coenzyme called Thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP), which takes part in the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl Coenzyme A (CoA) in metabolism.
B2 - known as Riboflavin, which is involved in the energy production for the electron transport chain, the citric acid cycle as well as catabolism of fatty acids.
B3 - known as Niacin, which is composed of two structures: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. There are two co-enzyme forms of niacin: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). Both play an important role in energy transfer reactions in the metabolism of glucose, fat and alcohol. NAD carries hydrogens and their electrons during metabolic reactions, including the pathway from the citric acid cycle to the electron transport chain. NADP is a coenzyme in lipid and nucleic acid synthesis
Dragonfruits are also packed with minerals such as calcium for stronger bones and teeth, phosphorus for tissue formation and iron for blood health and energy. One dragonfruit contains approximately 8.8g of calcium, 36.1mg of phosphorus and 0.65mg of iron.
Dragonfruit contains phytoalbumins, which have antioxidant properties that are known to aid in prevention of the formation of cancer by helping our body to fight free radicals that cause cell damage. Dragonfruit is also known to increase the excretion of toxins from the body. Another health benefit of dragon fruit is that it contains a substance called Lycopene, which is said to help prevent prostate cancer according to research.