The pitahaya is a fruit that you may have never heard of before. However, you might know it as the Dragon fruit or cactus fruit. It’s an exotic fruit with some definite health benefits.
Just as it has three different names, it also has several different colors. The most widely found pitahaya has a white flesh and black seeds. Others may have a red flesh and still others have a yellow skin with a white flesh.
Though it may look strange and have strange names, it’s a great source of antioxidants, is rich in important nutrients, and contains lots of different vitamins essential to good health. Even better than that, it’s got a great taste.
Called a tropical superfood by some, the pitahaya may appear to be a mix between a kiwi and a pear. It’s like a kiwi because the seeds also contain a ton of nutrients like omega 3s and omegas 6s—the good fats.
The fruit’s flesh is high in Vitamin C which contributes to a strong and healthy immune system. It’s also a good source of carbohydrates and even fiber. Although not as high in complex B vitamins, the pitahaya does contain some B1, B2, and B3, along with calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Finally, lycopene, with its cancer fighting properties, also makes an appearance, in our list of important vitamins found in the pitahaya. So, what are some practical ways that these vitamins and minerals found in the pitahaya can help us?
First, the pitahaya can assist in controlling our blood sugar. It’s a fantastic food for diabetes because of its low glycemic index. But, it doesn’t just help those already diagnosed with diabetes, it also could help prevent the development of diabetes in those who don’t have it. In laboratory rats, it was discovered that the pitahaya reduced one of the risk factors for diabetes.
Aids in Proper Digestion
Because it’s a good source of dietary fiber, the pitahaya helps keep you regular. The fiber makes sure that our digestive system is operating properly and prevents constipation.
The fiber that the Dragon fruit contains is a soluble fiber, so it slows the absorption of sugar and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Additionally, it may lower LDL levels, the bad cholesterol, and provide an extra full feeling which could also aid in weight loss.
Pitahayas contain betalains, which are pigments that give the fruit its rich colors. But that’s not all the pigments do. They are principally responsible for maintaining lower levels of the bad cholesterol, that has already been mentioned.
Works to Prevent Cancer
Because of the high level of antioxidants and anti-carcinogens found in the Dragon fruit, it’s able to work to fend off certain cancers. Add it to the list of great-tasting fruits that are also rich in antioxidants for a healthy lifestyle.
Promotes Healthy Skin
The Vitamin C found in the pitahaya is great for your skin. It’s been shown to slow the aging process and fights the effects of over-exposure to the sun. This great fruit makes your skin feel good, but it also makes it look good too.
Promotes a Healthy Heart Too
The pitahaya has flavonoids that have been proven to lower the risk of heart disease. Various studies have found that foods rich in flavonoids are extremely important for a healthy heart. However, the high Vitamin C levels also contribute to our cardiovascular health by lower the risk of strokes, according to the American College of Clinical Nutrition.
While you can't eat the peel of a pitahaya, you need to pay attention to this peel when you’re at the market picking out your fruit. It’s best to pick a firm one and let it ripen at home for a juicy pulp with a great taste.
Much like a kiwi, in order to extract that creamy middle flesh, you’ll need to cut it in half and spoon out the flesh and edible seeds. Try adding it to a fruit salad for its extra great taste and cool look. You won’t be sorry.
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