Dragon Fruit Facts and Health Benefits 101

Facts about Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is also called pitaya or pitahaya fruit. Its tree is actually a type of evening flowering cactus. The attractive yellowish flower is approximately 12 inches in length and 9 inches in width, bell shaped and extremely fragrant. The flowers open in the evening and eventually wilt by daybreak. Dragon fruit is oblong with unique look due to its vibrant pink to red rind with green tipped scales. The edible part is either white or red, which has countless tiny black seeds. The fruit's taste is fairly sweet and juicy, very much alike that of kiwi, watermelon and pear. Dragon fruit is currently planted commercially in Asian countries such as Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Dragon Fruit Varieties:
  • Hylocereus -- it features red-colored skin with white-colored flesh.
  • Hylocereus polyrhizus -- the fruit has red-colored skin with red-colored flesh.
  • Selinecereus megalanthus -- it has yellow-colored skin with white-colored flesh.

Pitaya fruit was originated from Central America. Based on Aztec literature, the fruit dates back to sometime the 13th century. Pitaya fruit is called thang loy in Vietnam, the place it is broadly grown. It is said that the exotic fruit was first introduced to Vietnam through the French and currently, the average produce per hectare is about 25 tonnes.

Malaysia is another location where you can come across the pitahaya fruit. It had been introduced in 1999 in Johor, Kuala Pilah and Sitiawan regions. Nicaragua and Colombia are other destinations in which pitaya fruit is planted for commercial reasons.

Red and White Dragon Fruit

Growing Dragon Fruit

Normally, Dragon fruit demands a temperate rainfall in between 600mm to 1300mm with an optimum temperature in between 38 to 40 degrees Celsius (100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit). Be cautioned that an excessive amount of rainfall results in flower drop and it will rot.

In general, it needs a tropical climate, particularly when it is growing for commercial reasons in order to have productive and successful plantation. However, in order to plant the pitahaya fruit for non-commercial reasons, you may simply carry out at your home with the seedlings obtained in the fruit you eat, as you are not growing it on a large scale.

Buying Tips of Dragon Fruit

  • Find in the section of exotic produce for dragon fruit. It is usually found in autumn and spring. Just like some tropical fruits planted in the US, it may be hard to find in winter and summer.
  • Take a look at the exterior of the pitaya fruit. Do not choose those with bruises, discoloration as well as obvious mold. The color of pink ought to be even on the entire of the surface of the exotic fruit. Smell the pitahaya fruit for a mild, tropical scent. If it carries a moldy scent, keep away from it, because there may be invisible mold.
  • Grab a dragon fruit. Press the sides using your thumb. The fruit should yield a little, without getting mushy. Stay away from picking out rock solid fruit, but in case that is all that is available, you may ripen it at your home.
  • Leave the pitahaya fruit at room temperature right until the surface turns entirely yellow and gives way when lightly pressed. This indicates that it is completely ripened and set to eat. When the dragon fruit has already been fully ripe in the shop, skip this and go to the subsequent step about long-term storage.
  • Keep the ripened pitaya fruit in the fridge for as long as 5 days.
  • Rinse the surface of the dragon fruit before slicing. Peel off the rind, slice into pieces to use in smoothies, fruit salads and so on. Alternatively, cut the entire fruit into half and then scoop out the fruit flesh. Both the red/white flesh and the black seeds can be eaten, but not the rind.

Storing Tips of Dragon Fruit

  • Fresh dragon fruit will preserve for a couple of days refrigerated, this appear to be the most effective way to keep it fresh in the event you have to, however since the very best flavor for the fruit is the moment the fruit is chosen ripe, you can't hope to keep it longer than a couple of days at most just before it begins to reduce in quality.
  • Make an effort to consume dragon fruit as early as possible, should you have the fresh pitaya fruit. You would like to choose fresh pitaya which is vine ripened, however, the fresh fruit is pretty perishable. If you choose it as a raw fruit, it will definitely last longer, however it will not be as delicious as the vine-ripened one. 

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

  • The dragon fruit is very high in antioxidants. As a result, frequent consumption of the fruit would block free radicals, which often lead to numerous health damaging diseases such as cancers.
  • The pitaya fruit is extremely high in vitamin C, and so you can frequently eat it to heal wounds and bruises fast. Furthermore, being vibrant source of vitamin C, the fruit improves your immune system the wonderful way.
  • The vitamin B12 content helps enhance the appetite of a person.
  • The dragon fruit amazingly moisturizes and delivers smoothing effect for your skin and therefore improves its appearance.
  • It helps reduce the effects of toxic contents such as heavy metal. Besides that, intake of pitaya fruit helps lower cholesterol levels and normalizes hypertension.
  • Frequent intake of pitahaya fruit help combat asthma and also cough.
  • The vitamin B1 content helps in generating of energy as well as metabolizing carbohydrates.
  • A great source of phosphorus and calcium, dragon fruit reinforces our bones, makes healthier teeth and is great for body cells development.
  • Consuming dragon fruit on a regular basis cuts down on weight significantly, and thus building a well-balanced body with no compromising on one's health.
  • The fruit is helpful in bringing down blood sugar levels in type II diabetes.

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