Dragon fruit or red pitaya belongs to the Cactaceae family from the subfamily Cactoidea of the tribe Cactea . The Dragon Fruit / Pitaya plant is magnificent to behold with stunning and beautiful fruit that exhibits vivirant colors and shape. Dragon fruit is not only attractive but is also flavourful that is slightly similar to kiwi and melon that possess amazing health benefits. To know more of this incredible fruit, read on.
Also knows as:
Pitaya, Dragon Fruit, Red Pitahaya, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, conderella plant
Other common names:
French: cierge-lezard, poire de chardon; German: distelbirn, echte stachelbirn, drachenfrucht; Hawaiian: Pa-nani-o-ka; Portoguese: cato-barse, cardo-ananaz; Spanish: pitahaya roja (Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela); flor de caliz, pitajava (Puerto Rico); junco, junco tapatio, pitahaya orejona, reina de la noche, tasajo (Mexico); Swedish: skogskaktus, röd pitahaya
The Dragon plant is a vine, epiphytic cacti of the genus Hylocereus that is believed to be native in Central and Southern America and has been brought to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Dragon plant has fleshy stems that grow up to 20ft long when matured. Dragon plant may grow from the ground or climb onto trees using aerial roots. Dragon plant bears flowers that only bloom at night. The flowers are ornate and beautiful with fragrant scent. Pitahaya plants can have up to 4-6 fruiting cycles per year. The dragon fruit has spines that grows up to 1 kilogram in weight. Dragon fruit skin may be yellowish to dark red in color with edible flesh that maybe white or red depending on the variety. It has a lot of black small seeds that is also edible.
Pitaya or Dragon fruit is also known to have some health benefits that includes preventing memory loss, anti cancer activity, control of blood glucose level in diabeetes, anti-xidant properties, aids in healing of wounds and others.
Dragon fruit is also rich in phytoalbumins which are highly valued for their antioxidant properties. Dragon fruit or Hylocereus polyrhizus is rich in fibers, vitamin C, minerals and phytoalbumins which are highly valued for their antioxidant properties. The dragon fruit helps the digestive process, prevent colon cancer and diabetes, neutralize toxic substances such as heavy metal, reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and consumed regularly the dragon fruit can help against asthma and cough. It is also rich with potassium, protein, fiber, sodium and calcium which goods for health than other fruits.
This study indicates hypocholesterolemic effect of tropical fruits including dragon fruit or pitaya as shown in-vivo and human intervention trial, therefore it has a potential of reducing the risk factor for CHD (dyslipidemia)
Soluble fiber increase fecal bile acids losses and chemodeoxycholic acid synthesis and appear to be the best substantiated mechanism by which fiber lowers serum cholesterol.
Other factors that may have contributed to the cholesterol-lowering effects are the plant sterol and phytochemical present in fruits that interfere with cholesterol metabolism
These effects maybe attributed by the active components present in the pitaya fruit such as antioxidant, polyphenolics, thiols, and their antioxidative activity from the betacyanin contents (Wybraniec & Mizrahi, 2002).
The present study results revealed that both treatments (Red pitaya fruit and Lovastatin drug) showed a similar effect in increasing HDL-C and lowering TC, TG and LDL-C level
http://www.madamsun.com/files/Download/The nutrition and health benefits of tropical fruits with special reference to red pitaya.pdf
The researcher concluded that dragon fruit may be used as an ingredient in functional food and nutraceutical products for the overweight individuals and diabetic prevention management. Meanwhile, the prebiotic effect of dragon fruit should be tested in clinical studies with both the raw and extracted flesh for comparison.
Dragon is fruit is best eaten fresh, it can be diced, sliced, chilled, add to salads or even blended to make a smoothie.
Dragon fruits are also made into jams, puree, sherbets, salads, fruit pizza, juice and beverages.
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Article last reviewed: 10.11..2016