The popularity of dragon fruit, first introduced in India in 90s, is only growing with each passing year. Dragon fruit or strawberry pear, also known as Kamalam in India, is a sweet, juicy fruit with white or red flesh dotted with black seeds. A low-calorie fruit with wonderful nutrient profile, it’s a perfect addition to your summer diet for beating the heat and those mid-meal hunger pangs. (Also read: 6 wonderful benefits of eating watermelon in summer season)
Dragon fruit plant is a member of the cacti family and has a pink or yellow skin with spike-like green leaves around it. The taste of dragon fruit can be described as a cross between kiwi, pear and watermelon, while the seeds have a nutty taste.
Loaded with vitamins A and C and minerals like calcium, iron amd magnesium, dragon fruit has many benefits. Celebrity Nutritionist and Dietitian Shweta Shah, founder of EatFit 247 in an interview with HT Digital talks about all the reasons to eat dragon fruit this summer.
Protects against cancer, ageing
Dragon fruit has a high concentration of antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin. These natural substances protect your cells from free radical damage, which can lead to diseases such as cancer and premature ageing.
A wonderful snack for people with diabetes
People with diabetes have to be very careful about the fruits they eat during the day. Dragon fruit in this regard is quite beneficial for them. It is naturally low in fat and high in fibre and keeps you fuller for longer between meals. It also helps lower your blood sugar levels.
Rich in prebiotics
Dragon fruit is a storehouse of prebiotics, which could help keep digestive issues like constipation and bloating at bay. Dragon fruit, in particular, promotes the growth of the probiotic bacteria lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Strengthens immunity, boosts iron level
Dragon fruit can strengthen your immune system. It is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that are beneficial to the immune system. It can also boost your iron levels. Iron is essential for moving oxygen through your body and providing energy, and dragon fruit contains iron. And the vitamin C in dragon fruit aids your body’s absorption and utilisation of iron.
Rules for eating dragon fruit
* Avoid fruit that has bruises or dry leaves these are signs that it’s overripe. If it feels hard when you press it, let it ripen outside for a few days before eating.
* To eat dragon fruit, cut it into quarters. Peel away the skin with a spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller, or remove the flesh with a spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Don’t eat the skin.
* You can eat dragon fruit in different ways. You can toss it into a fruit salad along with other tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. Cut it into a salsa for dips. Make an ice cream out of it. Squeeze it to prepare juice. Use it as a topping for Greek yogurt. Alternatively, freeze it and blend it into a smoothie.
* Store any leftover dragon fruit in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. But avoid storing for too long.