I do my best to eat healthy and to take care of my nutrition. So when in a supermarket, I enjoy in searching thoroughly for the newest sorts of healthy foods. Recently, my attention was drawn to a shelf with various exotic fruits. I immediately noticed a perfectly bright red to pinkish colored fruit…
The fruit seemed exotic, mysterious and extremely appealing! I checked the label and saw its name for the first time: Dragon Fruit – wow, what a catchy name!
Dragon Fruits – Super Healthy Food
My curiosity was awakened on the spot! I felt the need to further explore this seemingly amazing fruit and how healthy it is for us. Of course I have purchased the dragon fruit directly, simply to learn more about it via own first-hand experience.
I am sharing my extremely useful findings here with you – hope you enjoy both the trivia facts on the dragon fruit and the later shared recipes for a better nutrition, including its hair and skin care benefits! So, let’s enjoy the yummy and delicious dragon fruit together, here and now!
What Is Dragon Fruit?
So, you might wonder what the dragon fruit or so called pitaya really is?! It is an exotic, tropical super food and it belongs to the cactus family (its Latin name is Hylocereus). While it is well known in the Central Americas and Asia where it predominantly grows, it is a rather new food to the mainstream American or European markets.
It has a strong, almost leathery skin and thick, bright red leaves hugging the juicy fruit itself; the inside of this extremely healthy food reminds a bit of a kiwi – not by color but by its structure. It is white or pink inside with many tiny black seeds within the fruit flesh. Dragon fruit taste is rather mild and is to be compared to a melon or kiwi taste to some extent.
There are several sorts of dragonfruit and they differ by size, shape or color – they come as yellow (Hylocereus Megalanthus), red (Hylocereus Costaricensis) and white variety (Hylocereus Undatus). The fruit can grow from 500 gr to 1 kilogram. Dragon fruit seems very interesting for its health benefits and uses that will be shared here below.
Dragon Fruit Interesting Trivia
Names: Dragon fruit is additionally known by the variety of its names – besides being called dragon fruit, it is usually called pitahaya. The fruit names vary depending on the regions of origin; for example, its Chinese name is huǒ lóng guǒ (fire dragon fruit), Indonesian buah naga (lit. dragon fruit) or Thai kaeo mangkon (dragon crystal).
However, the most appealing and interesting names that I have discovered are “strawberry pear” (nanettika fruit), “sweet pitaya”, “green dragon”, “dragon pearl fruit”.
Its fragrant flowers are known by the names of “moonflower”, “queen of the knight” or “ornamental plant” used both in gardens and as house plants – what is interesting to know is that they bloom only in the night!
Dragon fruit is said to originate from Mexico, South and Central Americas and it has been introduced to the regions of Asia throughout history; regions that are well known for cultivating dragon fruit are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and even Australia and China. Native Americans have used dragon fruit as a part of their nutrition but also within the folk medicine tradition.
Dragon fruit might be low in calories but it surely has a high nutritional value – dragon fruit calories count is only 60 calories per 100 gr! It is especially rich in fiber, vitamin C and fatty acids. To illustrate the dragon fruit nutritional benefits, here is a list of goodness to help us stay healthy with regular dragon fruit use:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
- Vitamins B1,B2, B3
12 Amazing Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit?
As any fruit, dragon fruit is good for our health. It is beneficial to our heart, skin and hair. Here are 12 scientifically proven benefits of dragon fruit:
1.Dragon Fruit Skin Care Benefits
In case of sunburn, dragon fruit can offer instant relief, especially if combined with yoghurt, aloe vera or cucumber juice. It is soothing against bruises and skin inflammations. Additionally, dragon fruit acts soothingly on acne prone skin.
2. Dragon Fruit Hair Care Benefits
Dragon fruit-based hair masks can be useful against dry and chemically treated hair. In combination with coconut oil such fruit masks can combat split ends and hair dryness. It further strengthens hair follicles and acts against hair loss, promoting a healthy hair growth.
3. Dragon Fruit for Weight Loss Benefits
If prepared in water-based smoothies and shakes, dragon fruit can be a proper meal replacement (especially if combined with other types of fruits).
4. Dragon Fruit for Teeth & Bones Benefits
Dragon fruit can strengthen our bones and teeth and make them healthy due to it being a natural source of phosphorus and calcium. The fruit is known to contribute to stronger teeth and healthy bones, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and increases bone density.
5. Dragon Fruit Immunity Boost Benefits
If we have a properly functional immune system, we are protected against infections and diseases. Vitamin C found in dragon fruit can help us boost our immune system and increase the body defense against health problems. Regular consumption of this healthy food is proven to increase the levels of antioxidants. This too will contribute to our overall wellbeing and a healthy body and mind.
6. Dragon Fruit Cholesterol Decrease Benefits
This is one of the most crucial benefits of dragon fruit! As dragon fruit is rich in healthy omega fats, it is proven to be useful in decreasing cholesterol levels. If consumed on a regular basis, dragon fruit will gradually lower your cholesterol in a healthy way.
7. Dragon Fruit Cardiovascular Health Benefits
As mentioned previously, regular use of dragon fruit will reduce bad cholesterol in our body and this is the best way to have a healthy heart. Due to its healthy omega fats, dragon fruit will reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It will eventually contribute to balancing blood sugar levels too.
8. Dragon Fruit Diabetes Prevention Benefits
Dragon fruit is packed with fiber. Fruit fiber assists in diabetes risk reduction and its regular daily intake stabilizes blood sugar levels with diabetics.
9. Dragon Fruit Cancer Prevention Benefits
Dragon Fruit is a source of lycopene, carotene and vitamin C. For these properties and nutritional values it is highly recommendable in cancer and tumor treatments, especially in prostate cancer treatment. Certain medical studies claim the necessity of daily red dragon fruit consumption for better cancer prevention.
10. Dragon Fruit Digestion Benefits
Increased fiber intake is crucial with stomach issues such as constipation. Veggies and fruit can be healthy options in finding natural remedies to digestion problems. As dragon fruit is a great source of fiber, it is recommended by medical specialists for improving proper bowel movement and decreasing constipation.
11. Dragon Fruit Anti-Bacterial Benefits
Dragon fruit helps us fight fungi and bacteria. It boosts the build-up of white blood cells and so protects our bodies against infections and toxins. It further stimulates cell regeneration and fights free radicals. For body detox and anti-bacterial treatment use regular amounts of dragon fruit (recommended at least 2 cups of dragon fruit on a weekly basis).
12. Dragon Fruit Metabolic Rate Increase Benefits
Fiber and proteins boost up our metabolic rate. However, instead of going the usual way of searching for protein sources in meats, we can introduce fruits rich in protein such as dragon fruit. Increasing metabolic rate with dragon fruit will eventually lead to a gradual weight loss. This protein rich healthy fruit will also be a great post-work out source of energy and a powerful metabolic rate booster.
In a nutshell, if we want to stay healthy and youthful, we should consume this super healthy food against:
- Acne skin problems
- Bacterial and fungi infections
- Bad digestion
- Bruised skin
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Heart problems (heart attack, stroke)
- High cholesterol
- Low immune system
- Poor eye sight
How to Consume Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit taste comes in a sweet and sour fruit variety. Usually, the juicy and soft flesh is consumed while rarely some people tend to use the hard leaves too.
However, when eaten in its raw form, it is the most beneficial for us. You can dice it, blend it with other fruits or veggies, or pure it, depending on your nutritional needs or preparation time. Dragon fruit flowers can be used for consumption too.
How to Prepare Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is best eaten in its fresh (if possible organic) form but it can be used for preparing fruit and veggie salads, dressings or smoothies and shakes. The fruit can further be used for making vine or juice while dragon fruit flowers can be used for brewing tea.
6 Home-Made Dragon Fruit Useful Recipes & Remedies!
I am sharing here some of my own-designed 6 home-made recipes and remedies that I already have or am planning to try out in the future:
Dragon Fruit Recipes:
- Red Dragon Fruit Smoothie Recipe
- Dragon Fruit Cucumber & Melon Salad Recipe
- Dragon Fruit White Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- Dragon Fruit Pesto Salad Dressing Recipe
Dragon Fruit Recipes (hair and skin care):
- Dragon Fruit Hair Treatment Recipe
- Dragon Fruit Skin Treatment Recipe
1. Red Dragon Fruit Smoothie Recipe
- 1,5 cups of diced dragon fruit (app.200-300 gr)
- 10 strawberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 300 ml of cold water
Clean and wash the strawberries, and cut in smaller pieces; put in the blender together with a ripe banana broken into smaller chunks. Add water and previously diced dragon fruit into the blender and pulse for 4-5 minutes until you get a smooth consistency (this should be enough as a smaller serving for 2-3 persons). Pour the smoothies in high glasses and add little parasols for an exotic touch!
2. Dragon Fruit Cucumber & Melon Salad Recipe
- 1 smaller dragon fruit
- 1 cucumber
- 200 gr of diced melon
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive or avocado oil
- ¼ of teaspoon of salt (or according to own taste)
- Ground pepper (according to own taste)
- 50 gr of grated feta cheese
- ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder or 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds (optional, according to own taste)
Peel the skin of dragon fruit and dice the fruit flesh. Repeat the process with the cucumber and melon. Put all the fruit and veggie ingredients into a bowl. Add olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper to your liking and mix.
Add the grated feta cheese to give more protein and nutritional value to the salad. Optionally, add more spices and herbs (for example, garlic powder would be a nice addition and would make the salad spicier; adding sunflower seeds would add to the salad’s crunchiness).
3. Dragon Fruit White Chocolate Mousse Recipe
- 200-300 gr of diced dragon fruit
- 200 gr of white chocolate
- 100 ml of sweet whipped cream
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 kiwi fruit (for decoration)
- 5-6 strawberries (optional, for decoration)
Wash and dice dragon fruit and pure it, then put aside. Break the chocolate into small cubes and put into a bowl. Melt the chocolate in the bowl that has been placed into a pan with boiling water by stirring it above the medium heat stove. When melted, remove the white chocolate from the heat to cool off to room temperature.
Previously prepare the whipped cream with sugar and let it cool off in the fridge (be careful with cream whipping process as the cream could curdle!). When the chocolate is melted, take the whipped cream and let it come to room temperature too.
Make sure that the whipped cream and the previously melted chocolate are equally close to the room temperature (otherwise the hot chocolate will melt away the cream!). Fold both consistencies into a clean glass blow and mix in with spatula until you get a soft, airy cream; start adding the dragon fruit pure gradually into the bowl of cream.
When making mousse it is very important to add the ingredients slowly and gradually, while folding them with spatula. Now that the dragon fruit pure, whipped cream and white chocolate have been mixed in gently and you have a delicious creamy mousse, you can divide them in 3-4 portions.
For color contract and decoration purposes cut the kiwi into shapes of own choice (smaller circles or triangles) and decorate the mousse in each glass. If you want to add even more color and taste, you can optionally pure strawberries and put the pure on top of each mousse glass before decorating with kiwi shapes.
And be careful, this type of dragon fruit delight is for pleasure palatable purposes only, don’t use it for your healthy diet plan (at least not too often!).
4. Dragon Fruit Pesto Salad Dressing Recipe
- 50 gr diced dragon fruit
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Ground fresh black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of salt (or less, to own taste)
- 1 teaspoon of green pesto
- ½ tablespoon of lemon juice
Wash and cut dragon fruit into smaller pieces. Pure your fruit dices in a blender. Mix olive oil, green pesto, freshly ground pepper, salt and lemon juice in a smaller glass bowl and gradually add the fruit pure. Mix in all the ingredients for a couple of minutes and use as a fresh, exotic dressing for various salads (I recommend using it with diced cucumber and tomato salad!).
5. Dragon Fruit Hair Treatment Recipe
- 5 dices of dragon fruit (made into fruit pulp)
- 1-2 tablespoons of coconut or almond oil
Put the cleaned and diced dragon fruit into blender and make a pulp-like consistency. When done, add the coconut or almond oil and mix well. Put the hair mask on your hair thoroughly – rub it into your scalp too. For a better effect, put a shower cap so the heat can create more benefits for your hair.
Keep for 20-30 minutes and then rinse out with a shampoo and eventually add a conditioner. The dragon fruit treatment will leave your hair healthy and shiny.
6. Dragon Fruit Skin Treatment Recipe
- 5 dragon fruit dices (made into fruit pulp)
- 1-2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel (or more, if needed)
- 1-2 tablespoons of yoghurt (or more, if needed)
Mix the aloe vera gel and yoghurt in a bowl. Then add the dragon fruit pulp into the mix which you have previously mashed with a stick blender. Create a smooth fruity consistency and put it on your sunburned face – if your whole body has suffered from sunburn consequences then make sure to add more aloe vera gel and yoghurt (needs-based estimation).
All the mentioned ingredients, including dragon fruit will give your skin an immediate relief after sunburn and will offer it hydration and smoothness. This dragon fruit based remedy can be helpful for bruised skin.