Pitaya: The New Exotic Fruit with Extreme Health Benefits
Whenever I hear someone refer to super-foods as only rare and expensive items, often available in powders and tinctures, I always roll my eyes. Please. To me, super-foods are abundant everywhere.
My definition of super-foods are that they are whole plant foods that have numerous health benefits, and include a whole array of phytonutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. “Super-foods” have powerful healing qualities and should be a core staple of our daily diet… but once again, they are abundant everywhere.
To me, spinach is a super-food. So are kale, lemons, sunflower seeds, etc. They do not have to come from across the world. All that being said, I still like to talk about “exotic” fruits as well, which too can fall into the super-foods category.
By exotic, they may grow in some far off places resides the US, but I guess it mostly means that they look a whole lot different than typical oranges and apples.
It can be fun to mix different plant foods into your diet, and it is also good to get a wide range.
I was thinking about this one in particular, Pitaya, aka dragon fruit, because I saw it here in Los Angeles. Seeing it reminded me of also eating it in Thailand, where I would get it (along with a bounty of other Asian fruit) at the street markets practically every day I was there.
It is one weird looking and oddly beautiful fruit. On the outside, Pitaya has a deep pinkish red color (although one variety of the fruit is golden yellow) with green scaly leaves. On the inside (the part you eat) you will find flesh ranging from white to deep red spotted with small seeds.
Dragon Fruit Nutrition
Grown in California, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus plant. Nutrition for the dragon fruit includes:
60 calories per 100 gram serving
1 gram of fiber per serving
9 grams of carbohydrates per serving
The fruit’s edible seeds contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
The fruit is high in many important micronutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin A.
Pitaya Health Benefits
There are interesting studies featuring this exotic fruit, which show that pitaya may have other health benefits, as well.
One study showed that dragon fruit had a notable impact on oxidative stress and aortic stiffness in diabetic rats, suggesting the fruit may be beneficial at preventing complications associated with diabetes.
The same study indicates regular consumption of dragon fruit may lower the risks of developing heart disease and developing high blood pressure.
Dragon fruit is high in antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants may be effective at lowering risk of certain types of cancer.
The seeds contain omega-3 fats. A great deal of research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can fight inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Because of its nutritional makeup, including antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber, pitaya is a beauty-enhancing fruit.
Because pitaya is a fruit, it moves very rapidly through your digestive system. In The Beauty Detox Solution, I recommend eating fruit first thing in the day or on an empty stomach so your body can make the most of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes.
You don’t want fruit to get stuck beyond a heavier food, where it can begin to ferment in your system and create toxins. This same rule goes for dragon fruit.
You can eat pitaya alone, or you can include it in delicious smoothies. Pitaya Smoothie: