Pitahaya or dragon fruit and its benefits

Pitahaya, also known as the dragon fruit , is a fruit that comes from a cactus plant. It is particularly striking for its skin , purple or yellow in color, and its pulp with small seeds. It comes mainly from the American continent , although its production has expanded to other regions of the world.

What is Pitahaya?

The Pitahaya is a fruit native to Central America . It is a tropical fruit classified as a sweet fruit with a showy color. The pitaya plant (Hylocereus undatus) belongs to the Cactaceae family .

Varieties of pitahaya

It has an oval shape, with thorns on the outside and in the markets you can mainly find three varieties:

  • The first variety: Hylocereus costaricensis , with red flesh and pink skin
  • The second variety: Hylocereus monacanthus , with red pulp and pink skin
  • The third variety: Hylocereus undatus , or Queen of the night, with white flesh and pink skin

All the varieties are very aromatic and their flavor, which resembles that of watermelon , is very sweet and pleasant with multitudes of benefits. One of the characteristics of the pitaya plant is that it is a very aromatic plant and opens at night, which is why this fruit is known in some regions as queen of the night.

It is always advisable to eat all kinds of food and have as varied a diet as possible. With fruits you do not have to make an exception, but in reality we usually eat the same fruits all the time. We do not like to change fruit, we do not have enough information or we do not have the possibility to buy them.

In this case, introducing pitahaya or dragon fruit, whether with red or white pulp, is a success, both for its benefits and for its delicious flavor.

A very striking tropical fruit

Although our markets are full of a variety of fruits of many kinds with different shapes, sizes and flavors, there are unknown fruits with incredible beauty, flavor and undoubted benefits for our health .

One of this case is the fruit that we present in this article, the pitahaya or dragon fruit. It is a fruit classified as sweet fruit , belonging to the Cactaceae family.

Where does the Pitahaya originate from?

It is native to the most tropical areas of Central America , more specifically Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru or the Antilles.

We recommend this article:   Guava, properties of this tropical fruit

This fruit has crossed borders and the countries that mainly produce this food are Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador and more recently Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and in less quantity, Israel.

Although it is not a very well-known fruit in Spain, it is sold in markets around the world, reaching those of the United States and even Europe. It does not stop adding more consumers thanks to its taste, appearance and, above all, thanks to its beneficial medicinal properties to have health in your life.

How do you eat pitahaya?

Although it seems a very rare fruit for its distinguished appearance and we do not know how to eat this food, we assure that it is easy and a real pleasure. We can incorporate pitaya into our diet like any other food with similar characteristics.

It is advisable to eat it raw , like other fruits and vegetables, because we take advantage of all its properties and benefits that help us lead a healthy life. It is split in half and the pulp is eaten. It is advisable to remove the pulp with a spoon, as this is easier.

The seeds are also edible and as we have explained, they provide many benefits and are very nutritious. In addition to eating it raw and whole, it is used to make smoothies, ice cream and cakes.

It is also used to make jam and compotes . In addition, it can be included in salad recipes , in fantastic and tasty cocktails . As can be seen, there are many options to incorporate this tropical fruit into our diet.

Dragon fruit season

The pitahaya is a spectacular exotic fruit that comes mainly from America and Asia. However, in Spain we already have crops with stable production. These crops are mainly found in the provinces of Granada, Malaga and Almería.

In these regions of Spain, the fruit collection season takes place between the months of July and January.

You can check the calendar of the  fruit season  to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with  more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

Nutritional properties of pitahaya

Pitaya is very complete from a nutritional point of view, as it contains antioxidants, mucilages, ascorbic acid, phenols. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin B, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron .

The pitahaya contains a large proportion of water , the edible portion accounts for 55% of the total weight, and being within the category of sweet fruits and how could it be otherwise.

It is deliciously sugary , although it is a fruit that has a low caloric value due to its scarcity of carbohydrates. It has vegetable protein highly recommended for people who follow a vegetarian, vegan or low-protein diet . In addition, it has soluble fiber very advisable for our intestinal regulation.

We recommend this article:   Persimmon, properties and benefits

The seeds , as we have already explained, are also edible and contain beneficial essential fatty acids that have beneficial properties for the health of our body. We can highlight its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action.

Nutritional value per 100 grams of pitaya

Calories54 kcal
Water84,40 %
Carbohydrates13,20 g
Protein1,4 g
Total fat0,40 g
Fiber0,5 g
C vitamin8 mg
Football10 mg
Iron1,3 mg
Match26 mg

Nutritional benefits of pitahaya

Thanks to the magnificent nutritional properties that this food has, we can list some of the benefits it has for leading a healthy life.

Antioxidant action

The pitahaya provides us with antioxidant elements thanks to the betalain pigments that it includes in its composition and which can be an aid against cellular aging. Thanks to being an antioxidant fruit, it helps us to have healthy-looking skin.

Intestinal regulator

The seeds, rich in essential oils that regulate intestinal transit, making it ideal against constipation .

Weight control aid

It is highly recommended for people who want to lose weight , because it has a low calorie content. Being rich in water and low in carbohydrates, its consumption is excellent for people on weight loss diets .

In addition, it can help control appetite thanks to its sugar content.

Hydrates our body

It is the right fruit for the summer , because it is made up of a large amount of water that hydrates us, especially in the hottest times.

Strengthen our defenses

Strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of white, red blood cells and platelets. Consuming it is recommended so that your body has more resistance to infections.

Finally, we always recommend trying new fruits such as pitahaya , both for its peculiarity and for its nutritional composition, which is very beneficial for our health. From our blog we recommend leading a healthy life, eating fruit and vegetables and practicing sports on a regular basis.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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