Dragon Fruit is native to South and Central America, where it is called Pitahaya. Dragon fruit is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. Currently most dragon fruit are commercially grown in Vietnam, Thailand, and south China. Hawaii is also an ideal location for them to thrive.
Dragon fruit is one of the most tasty and healthy fruits. The juicy pulp is refreshing and subtly sweet. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Health benefits of the dragon fruit are many and varied. It is known to prevent colon cancer and diabetes, neutralizes toxic substances such as heavy metals, reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is also reported to control high blood sugar levels, prevent bleeding and promote dental health. It is rich in vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium, helps to develop strong bones, teeth and skin. It is a true “health fruit”.
The Growth Cycle of Dragon Fruit
|The plant produces a bud in the first stage:|
|The bud turns into a flower in the second stage. The flowers of the dragon fruit plant usually bloom for one night only. Pollination must happen at this time for the fruit to emerge.|
|In the third stage, the young fruit emerges and the flower petals dry up.|
|In the fourth and fifth stages, the young fruit undergoes maturation until it becomes ripe.|
Dragon Fruit is Healthy
Due to its vital nutrients, dragon fruit is suitable for all diets as it supplements fiber which is best for laxative and the liver. Similarly, people who have high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity have attested to the fruit’s goodness. Recent findings show that if an obese person eats a Pitahaya fruit on a regular basis, it naturally reduces the weight considerably, creating a well balanced body without compromising on the individual’s health.
The typical nutritional values per 100 g of raw dragon fruit are as follows:
- Water 80-90 g
- Carbohydrates 9-14 g
- Protein 0.15-0.5 g
- Fat 0.1-0.6 g
- Fiber 0.3-0.9 g
- Ash 0.4-0.7 g
- Calories: 35-50
- Carotene (Vitamin A) traces
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1) traces
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) traces
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) 0.2-0.45 mg
- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 4–25 mg
Health benefits of eating Dragon fruit
Carotene helps maintain and equally improve the health of the eyes
The fiber enhances digestion in our bodies
The fiber equally reduces fat
The protein component of the pitahaya fruit enhances the body’s metabolism
Calcium reinforces bones and aid in formation of healthy teeth
Vitamin B2 acts as a multi vitamin to recover and improve loss appetite
Vitamin B1 assists in production of energy as well as metabolizing carbohydrates
Vitamin B3 lowers bad cholesterol level and enhances the appearance of the skin by moisturizing and smoothening it.
Vitamin C ensures bruises and cuts heal faster and improves the general immune system of our bodies
- Phosphorus aids in tissue formation.
Advantages of dragon fruit as an agricultural crop:
Dragon fruit is hurricane resistant.
Dragon fruit uses a lot less water than most fruits and vegetables.
Dragon fruit grows in a variety of soil conditions
Dragon fruit is fast growing and high yield
Dragon fruit can be grown organically
Once established, dragon fruit continues to fruit up to 20-25 years.