She might not have been blessed with an enticing physical beauty that launches a thousand flirtatious glances, but irrespective of its bizarre scaly looks this fruit is undeniably in a league of its own in terms of nutritional value and perhaps appetency.
Dragon fruit is originally known as pitaya or pitahaya from its native soil in Central and South America where it grows abundantly. Its popularity has reached the other parts of the continents and is now cultivated and commercially produced in Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand.
Have you ever wondered why this fruit seemed to have a strong resemblance to that of the cactus plant? It is mainly because this fruit is a member of the cactaceae family most commonly in the genus Hylocereus. It is interesting to note that it blooms only during night time, which is the primary reason why it has earned its name as the "Queen of the Night". Rumor has it that this fruit has been created a thousand of years ago by the legendary fire-breathing dragons, hence it has been called as the "Dragon Fruit". It has been speculated that during the battle in the olden times when the mythological creature would breathe fire the very last thing to come out would be the fruit. The fruits were then collected after the dragons were slain and presented to the King as an emblem of victory.
It is also noteworthy to mention that this fruit is bestowed and highly packed with the vitamins and micronutrients which our body needs. Quoted below are the reported nutritional value and health benefits:
- The bright pinkish purple colored varieties are rich in lycopene, a natural antioxidant which is good for the heart and effectively fights cancer.
- It is packed with vitamin B1 (Thiamine), a vital human nutrient which aids the body in maintaining efficient nervous and cardiovascular functioning.
- It contains sufficient amount of Riboflavin also known as vitamin B2, a micro-nutrient which plays a key role in energy metabolism.
- It is armed with vitamin B3 or Niacin which helps in decreasing bad cholesterol levels.
- Recent research shows that it helps fight against asthma and cough.
- It is also effective against high blood pressure.
- It strengthens the body's immune system since it contains strong levels of vitamin C.
- For those who have type 2 DM, it is said to be effective in lowering blood glucose levels.
- With its regular consumption coupled with proper diet, it considerably reduces excess weight without compromising one's health.
- It is a rich source of calcium and phosphorus excellent for your bones and teeth.
- The anti-oxidants ingrained in its fruit help in preventing the formation of cancer-causing free radicals and other undesirable health detriments.
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