Feeling experimental with your diet? We’ve got a healthy suggestion. Pick up some dragon fruits or pitayas on your next grocery trip. Not only does this cacti fruit taste as unique as it looks, but it also possess nutraceutical properties. Here’s why dragon fruit is no exception when it comes to using food as medicine.
Hydrates the body.
Forget the processed, fruit-infused drinks and eat a dragon fruit instead. One pitaya contains 80-90% water. Thus, it’ll hydrate your body with natural-flavors and water-soluble vitamins while keeping you full.
Supports healthy gut.
Research supports the prebiotic effects of oligosaccharides present in dragon fruit. Eating pitaya promotes Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria growth, which are healthy bacteria that assist with diarrhea prevention and nutrient absorption in the GI tract.
Promotes internal fluidity.
Dragon fruit contains pectin substances, a source of dietary fiber, which reduces constipation and the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Pectin also consists of galacturonic acid, which can clear clogged blood vessels and keep your blood pressure in a desirable range.
Reduces cardiac stress.
One study found that dragon fruit effectively decreased aortic stiffness, especially in diabetic subjects. Consumption of dragon fruit lowers the risk of thrombosis and slows the rate of plaque formation, which consequently decreases coronary inflammation.
Provides essential fatty acids.
Dragon fruit seeds conveniently provide two fatty acids needed by humans plus some protein. The American Heart Association recommends you to consume more omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient linked to lowering cardiovascular diseases. Ingesting pitaya helps you meet this dietary recommendation.
Tames metabolic disorders.
A study on red dragon fruits concluded that it addressed diet-induced health issues. Consuming this type of pitaya tackled hepatic disturbances and the consequences of obesity.
Curbs diabetic conditions.
An entire fruit is only 60 calories, thus making it a better low-glycemic food choice than apples or bananas. Furthermore, research regarding white dragon fruits found that it decreases insulin resistance in type II diabetic subjects.
B-vitamins -particularly thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin- are abundant in pitayas. These vitamins are critical in converting food to energy as well as treating high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Fights free radicals.
Oxidative reactions yield free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases. Luckily, dragon fruit has antioxidants such as flavonoids, betanin, and its derivatives to minimize the catalytic escalation of bad cholesterol and tumors.
Reduces cancer risk.
Dragon fruit pulp contains lycopene, a popular antioxidant associated with lowering a variety of cancers. One study compared different fruits and concluded with a correlation between lycopene content in dragon fruits and less prostate cancer development.