Instead of choosing expensive Superfoods to improve your health and well-being, why not opt for a food that is very inexpensive and is easily available in almost every market? I am talking about pitaya which is a whole plant food that is loaded with tons of macro- and micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, bioflavonoids and fiber.
What is Pitaya?
Pitaya, also known as strawberry pear or dragon fruit, is a fruit of the genus Stenocereus that has a deep pinkish red color with dark-green scaly leaves. With its pink skin and red dots inside flesh, pitaya fruit is an amazing food that is worth eating. The flavor of the dragon fruit is subtly sweet, which closely resembles to that of kiwi fruit.
A unique variety of pitaya is red pitaya that has powerful healing properties due to handsome amounts of phytonutrients and bioflavonoids that give red dragon fruit its beautiful dark color.
Although considered native to America, pitaya fruit has now been cultivated in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, and in some countries of Africa on a large commercial scale.
Nutritional Facts about Pitaya Fruit
A serving of 50 grams of dragon fruit provides your body with
- Only 30 calories
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of fiber
- Handsome amounts of antioxidants and phytonutrients
- Small amounts of vital nutrients such as Vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, boron, cadmium, zinc, and manganese.
- Recent studies have shown that dragon fruit also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, omega- 6 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats.
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7 Amazing Health Benefits of Pitaya
Considered to be a powerhouse by many plant-based nutritionists, pitaya fruit offers unlimited health benefits to its eaters. When consumed on a regular basis, dragon fruit has been shown to promote a wide variety of health benefits ranging from cardiovascular health and immune-system improvement to improving digestive health and supporting weight loss.
1. Pitayas are Immune System Boosters
Pitaya fruit is rich in phytonutrients and vitamin C which are powerful antioxidants that help boost immune system. When the immune system of an individual is good, he or she is better equipped naturally to avoid contracting seasonal ailments and metabolic disorders.
There is some scientific evidence that antioxidants improve T-cells counts which are the leading source of defense against intruding pathogens and allergens.
2. Pitaya Fruit Protects against the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Pitaya contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are considered essential fatty acids. They are good for human cardiovascular health but body can’t make them, which means that one has to take them through food.
Numerous researches have shown that consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats helps prevent heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower levels of triglycerides or harmful fat in the blood which is the leading cause of heart attack, stroke and abnormal heart rhythms.
Omega-6 fatty acids in pitaya help prevent atherosclerosis by slowing down the development of blood clots and plaque, which are responsible for hardening of the arteries.
3. Pitaya Promotes Weight Loss
Fiber in pitaya fruit makes individuals feel fuller for longer, which aids in weight loss and weight-loss management.
Moreover, pitaya is extremely low in calories, which is great for supporting your weight loss efforts. When a regular consumption of dragon fruit is combined with an effective exercise regimen, shedding of body fat becomes easy and fast.
4. Red Pitaya Exhibits Anti-Aging Effects
Pitaya fruit species especially red pitaya is rich in antioxidants which are considered anti-aging superstars for all skin types. Dragon fruit contains vitamin C or ascorbic acid that is a powerful antioxidant that works extremely well for diminishing the look of wrinkles, fine lines and uneven skin tone.
Red dragon fruit is loaded with vitamin E or tocopherol that helps protect skin from elements that have harmful effects on the health of the skin. Vitamin E also helps reduce the oxidative stress within skin cells which is the leading cause of development of premature fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Pitaya Helps Minimize the Risk for Diabetes
Again, omega fatty acids in dragon fruit come into play when talking about prevention against the risk for diabetes. Scientific studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in dragon fruit help lower apoproteins that are considered markers of diabetes.
6. Pitaya Fruit Promotes Digestive Health
Seeds and skin of the pitayas contain bulk of fiber. So the entire fruit should be eaten to provide your body with ample amounts of fiber. Not only does fiber in pitaya fruit help cleanse digestive system, but it also minimizes the risk for colon and anal cancer. This effect may be due to the roughage’s tendency to add bulk to your digestive tract, which in turn helps shorten the amount of time that waste travels through the intestine. Studies have shown that this waste often contains carcinogens or cancer causing substances, so it is best if they are removed as quickly as possible.
Fiber in dragon fruit also promotes easy bowel movement, which prevents against constipation which is the leading cause of haemorrhoids.
7. Pitaya Protects Against Cancer
Pitaya fruit is rich in antioxidants which have been shown to have profound effects on reducing the levels of free radicals in the body which are the leading cause of cancer development. Free radicals are highly reactive harmful chemicals which may damage the major components of cells such as cell membranes, DNA and proteins. Numerous scientific studies have suggested that damage to the cells may play a role in the development of different types of cancer in the body.
Antioxidants interact with and neutralize harmful free radicals to keep the cells healthy and energetic. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that can also act as pro-oxidants, producing hydrogen peroxide that attacks cancer cells.
Some Wonderful Pitaya Recipes
Pitaya Bowl Recipe
How to make a pitaya bowl at home is easy and fun. Dragon fruit bowl recipe makes a convenient and tasty way to enjoy this magnificent superfood as a healthy snack.
- 250 grams of frozen or peeled dragon fruit
- Handful frozen strawberries
- 1 cup soy milk or cow milk
- Make small chunks of dragon fruit and add them to a blender
- Add sliced strawberries and milk to the blender
- Blend the ingredients until well combined
- Pour the mixture into the bowl and top with banana slices or kiwi chunks
- Add ice cubes and enjoy the delicious drink
Pitaya Pump Up Smoothie
Dragon fruit pump up smoothie makes a delicious recipe to elevate your energy levels especially after performing a strenuous workout routine or doing some physical-demanding workout.
- 200 grams of sliced dragon fruit chunks
- A handful of spinach or kale
- 1 cup coconut water
- 2 bananas or 1 mango
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 10 sliced almonds
- Add all ingredients to a blender
- Blend the ingredients for one minute
- Pour the mixture into a glass and add ice cubes
Pitaya Avocado Delight
This must-try recipe is a wonderful gift for those people who want to provide their body with ample amounts of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
- 200 grams of red pitaya
- 100 grams of avocados
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 cup acai or blue barriers
- Add all ingredients to a blender
- Blend the ingredients for 30 seconds
- Add some honey to make the taste even more pleasant
- Pour into a glass and enjoy tasty sips
Pitaya Chia Pudding
Pitaya recipes are not limited to just making bowls or smoothies. You can also enjoy the delicious taste of dragon fruit in the form of pudding. Whether you need a small snack for dessert or a quickly-made meal at breakfast, dragon fruit chia pudding should be your ultimate choice.
- 250 grams of dragon fruit
- 1 cup chia seeds
- 1 banana
- 1 cup cow milk
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 tablespoon agave
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend (don’t add chia seeds to the blender)
- Pour mixture into a bowl along with chia seeds
- Cover the bowl with kitchen wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 3 hours
- When it forms a pudding texture, serve it chilled
- You can also add toppings such as blackberries or pinch of shredded coconut to the pudding