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Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is an exotic-looking but mild-tasting fruit native to Central and South America. In addition to providing a feast for the eyes with its spiky, brilliantly colored exterior and its seed-speckled flesh, this fruit also offers a number of health benefits. Among the most significant dragon fruit benefits is a high level of vitamin C, which can promote bone and tissue health as well as protecting the cells from free radicals. Additionally, dragon fruit’s seeds are a good source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats. A commendable fiber content is also among the most notable dragon fruit benefits.
One of the most important dragon fruit benefits is the healthy dose of vitamin C it provides. Vitamin C helps support healthy bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin, and is also a key player in the healing of wounds. Further, vitamin C is an antioxidant, or a type of molecule that can defend the body against free radicals, internally and environmentally occurring substances that can cause cellular damage. As the human body is not capable of producing vitamin C on its own, nor can it store the vitamin once it has been consumed, it is important to regularly eat vitamin C-rich foods like dragon fruit.
A hefty balance of polyunsaturated fats is also among the most noteworthy dragon fruit benefits. These fats are found primarily in the fruit’s seeds, which are similar in appearance and texture to those of a kiwi. Unlike other types of fats, such as trans fat and saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat can lower the body’s levels of harmful cholesterol. Consequently, eating a diet rich in polyunsaturated fat may reduce one’s risk of health conditions associated with high cholesterol, like heart attack and stroke.
Lastly, dragon fruit can serve as a good source of dietary fiber, which may discourage overeating by promoting a feeling of fullness, and can also help reduce cholesterol, thereby providing a further defense against heart disease. It should be noted, however, that as fresh dragon fruit flesh contains a large amount of water, the fresh flesh alone does not provide a significant source of fiber. To reap dragon fruit’s potential fiber benefits, it is necessary to eat the fruit’s skin along with its flesh, or conversely, to choose dried fruit over fresh. Those who wish to eat the fruit’s skin should ensure that it has been thoroughly washed prior to consumption.