Dragon Fruit is a sweet, oblong tropical fruit known for its vibrant red skin and seed-speckled pulp. It is known as Pitaya/Pitahaya or strawberry pear. The plant is native to southern Mexico and Central America. Today, it is grown all over the world.
Dragon fruit grows on the Hylocereus cactus, also known as the Honolulu Queen, whose flowers only open at night. Though having a unique and exotic look, its flavors are surprisingly similar to other fruits. Its taste has been described as a slightly sweeter cross between a kiwi and a pear.
Dragon fruit is a low-calorie fruit that is high in fiber and provides a good amount of several vitamins and minerals. It can be considered a highly nutrient-dense fruit because of its high amount of fiber and magnesium as well as its low-calorie content.
Dragon fruit contains several types of antioxidants that protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases and aging.
These are some of the main antioxidants contained in dragon fruit pulp:
Dragon Fruit antioxidant was found to be the best at protecting certain fatty acids from free radical damage.
Animal studies suggest that dragon fruit may provide various health benefits. Many of these are likely due to their fiber and antioxidant content. Both red and white varieties of dragon fruit have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and fatty liver in obese mice. Dragon fruit contains prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut potentially improving metabolic health. However, the results of human studies are inconsistent.
Overall, dragon fruit appears to be safe. However, people may develop an allergic reaction in some rare cases. There are only two reported allergic reactions at this point, but other people may be allergic to this fruit without knowing it.
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 Colombia.
Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which are good for your immune system. It can boost your iron levels. Iron is important for moving oxygen through your body and giving you energy, and dragon fruit has iron. And the vitamin C in dragon fruit helps your body take in and use the iron.