- The legend of the pitahaya
- The appearance and taste of pitaya
- Varieties of Dragon Fruit
- How to choose and store pitahaya correctly
- 6 interesting facts about dragon fruit
- Composition and calorie content
- Beneficial features of Dragon Fruit
- Harm and contraindications
- Recommendations for eating pitaya
Pitahaya or dragon fruit – The exotic dragon fruit from Thailand is a rare guest of our supermarkets. This mysterious bright pink fruit has many unusual names:
- Dragon Heart;
- Dragon Eye;
- The Dragon;
- Prickly pear;
There are legends about its origin, and it blooms exclusively at night, as befits a plant from ancient tales.
The legend of the pitahaya
If you believe the ancient legends, it was the sweet taste of the dragon fruit, which the ancient wars loved so much, and ruined the beautiful fire-breathing creatures. No wonder the peel of this fruit resembles dragon scales, because pitahaya is a real dragon’s heart, which could only be obtained by killing it.
So people fought with these giants for the sake of the desired delicacy, until they were all exterminated. The monsters died out, leaving behind amazing fruits that have taken root in Thailand and now grow on their own.
By the way, the same legends claim that a person who ate pitaya becomes bolder and more courageous.
The appearance and taste of pitaya
The wild pitahaya, belonging to the Cactus family, is very difficult to confuse with any other plant. It is not just a cactus, but a climbing liana-like climbing variety. The three-lobed stem of such a cactus sometimes reaches a height of 10 meters.
The dragon fruit blooms in large white flowers with a delicious scent. They are called Moon Flowers, because they bloom exclusively at night.
A month and a half after flowering, the fruits themselves, covered with scales, are tied. Their size is commensurate with the size of a radish, and the maximum weight is 1 kilogram.
Pitahaya grows in tropical climates: South and Central America, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines.
Varieties of Dragon Fruit
The most popular are 3 types of pitahaya:
- Red pitaya with white flesh;
- Costa Rican Rose Pitahaya, which has not only red skin, but also red flesh;
- The sweetest is yellow pitahaya with white flesh.
How to choose and store pitahaya correctly
The first thing to look out for when buying a dragon fruit is its rind. A bright saturated color with a slight shine, as well as yellow-green ends of the scales, indicate that the fruit is ripe and can be safely taken. Uneven color with pale spots, on the other hand, gives an immature fruit.
The fact that the pitahaya has been gathering dust on the store shelf for a long time may be evidenced by the dried attachment to the cactus, dark spots and pale scales. Excessive softness or excessive hardness is also a bad sign. Ideally, the dragon’s heart should feel like a ripe kiwi to the touch.
It is necessary to store pitahaya in the refrigerator, and the shelf life of the fruit should not exceed three days.
6 interesting facts about dragon fruit
- Not only fruits are appreciated, but also pitahaya flowers. They are used to make tea and other drinks.
- The taste of the pulp becomes more intense if it is slightly cooled.
- Dragon fruit is actively used by many manufacturers of perfumery and cosmetics, adding it to masks, creams and shampoos.
- The first to use the heart of the dragon for food were the tribes of the Aztecs.
- Some varieties of pitahaya taste salty rather than sweet.
- 90% of the composition of the dragon fruit is regular water. Drink pitaya, cut into two halves. After that, it is divided into slices or scooped out with a spoon.
Composition and calorie content
Pitaya, the taste of which resembles a hybrid of watermelon and kiwi, is very useful for the human body, as it contains vital vitamins, micro- and macroelements that are involved in all life processes.
- Caloric content 50 kcal
- Proteins 0.5 g
- Fat 0.3 g
- Carbohydrates 12 g
Beneficial features of Dragon Fruit
Pitaya, a photo of which is enough to make you want to taste the fruit, has many beneficial properties. This exotic fruit is indispensable in weight control diets, as its calorie content is low compared to other fruits.
Dragon fruit is useful to add to the diet for people suffering from endocrine disorders. In diabetes mellitus, it normalizes blood sugar levels, saturates with vitamins B and C, which are involved in metabolism, stimulate immunity, and increase energy reserves.
It is believed that pitahaya accelerates the elimination of toxins and toxins that accumulate in the body as a result of its vital activity. The trace elements contained in the fruits stimulate collagen production, so if you eat at least one fruit every day, you will be able to prevent skin aging, the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.
Pitaya, the benefits of which are obvious, has a positive effect on the functioning of the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Therefore, it is recommended to include it in the diet for elderly people suffering from chronic diseases of the stomach, intestines, heart. Dragon fruit strengthens vision, and if added to the menu, it will be possible to increase the severity and prevent ophthalmic diseases associated with visual dysfunction.
Dragon Fruit For men
The fruit is famous for its antioxidant properties, thanks to which toxins, toxins, leading to general intoxication are removed from the body faster. That is why the dragon fruit is so useful for the stronger sex, who much more often than women abuse bad habits – fatty foods, smoking, drinking alcohol. In addition, antioxidants are excellent prophylactic agents that prevent inflammation of the prostate gland.
Also, men are more prone to cardiovascular disease than women. In order to prevent the development of pathologies such as heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, it is advisable to diversify your diet with pitahaya, which is rich in either calcium or potassium. It is these microelements that strengthen the walls of blood vessels and the heart muscle, which even in healthy people periodically needs vitamin support.
Dragon Fruit For women
Pitaya, which is very low in calories, is often included in the diet of women who are on a strict diet and control body weight. the fruit really helps in weight loss, while saturating the body with essential vital substances and elements.
Pitahaya is known for its antioxidant properties, therefore, using it daily, it will be possible to slow down the aging process, the appearance of fine expression lines, and a decrease in skin tone and elasticity. Ascorbic acid, contained in the pulp, stimulates collagen synthesis, without which the skin loses moisture, elasticity and ages quickly.
Ripe fruits contain a lot of calcium, which is an excellent prevention of osteoporosis. This disease of bone tissue is often found in women during menopause, when the metabolism changes and the body begins to experience a deficiency of micro- and macroelements, nutrients.
The fruit contains iron, which is necessary for the prevention of iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, pitahaya can be included in the diet of pregnant women, who, due to physiological restructuring, often experience a drop in hemoglobin levels. Fiber, which is rich in pulp, will help normalize digestion, eliminate constipation and bloating – disorders that often bother pregnant women at different times.
Dragon Fruit For kids
Dragon fruit, consumed in moderation, is very beneficial for children. But do not forget that pitahaya, like other exotic fruits, can provoke an acute allergic response. Therefore, it is not recommended for children under 5 years old to introduce fruit into the diet. Children of seven years of age can already be offered to taste the fruit, but provided there is no tendency to food allergies.
Vitamin B1, which is part of the fruit pulp, increases the resistance of the child’s body to viruses and infections, which is especially important in the off-season, when acute respiratory infections and acute respiratory viral infections are progressing. Pitaya has a beneficial effect on the visual system, so it is an excellent means of preventing myopia and hyperopia, diseases often diagnosed in modern children.
You can give ripe fruits to children suffering from digestive disorders. The fruit normalizes intestinal peristalsis, has a beneficial effect on the work of the pancreas. Medical research confirms the benefits of pitahaya in diabetes. The product lowers blood sugar levels, normalizes carbohydrate metabolism. Also, the pulp contains a lot of iron – a very important element involved in the production of red blood cells and preventing the development of iron deficiency anemia.
Harm and contraindications
The fruit is exotic for people living in Europe, therefore, it can be poorly tolerated by the body, causing such negative consequences as:
- bowel disorder;
- abdominal pain.
Therefore, at the first meeting, it is recommended to try a small piece and observe the general well-being. If no reaction occurs, the portion can be gradually increased. Pediatricians do not advise treating preschool children with dragon fruit, since their immune system has not yet fully formed and matured. Even a small piece of pitahaya can cause an acute allergic reaction and diathesis.
Recommendations for eating pitaya
Pitaya is eaten mostly raw, as the fruit is difficult to heat treatment. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruits can be easily peeled with hands, even without a knife. The peel is removed from them without any problems, exposing the tender, sweet pulp. It is recommended to eat pitahaya chilled, because this way its unusual taste will be better and brighter.
You can serve the fruit sliced like kiwi. To do this, the fruit is cut into 2 parts, and then in half rings. The peel is inedible, therefore it is thrown into the trash after consumption. You can use the fruit to make exotic desserts, but it is important to remember that pitahaya does not go well with foods that have a pungent taste and pungent odor.
Juice and wine drinks are made from ripe fruits, which can be drunk independently or combined with other components that make up alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. For example, in Spain, pitaya juice is mixed with lime or lemon juice. The result is a traditional refreshing summer drink with an unusual pleasant taste.
Pitaya seeds are not digested, but they contain beneficial lipids. For lipids to be absorbed by the body, the seeds must be chewed thoroughly. The beneficial properties of the dragon fruit seed were appreciated by the Indians, who separated the microscopic grains from the pulp, ground them and prepared nutritious stews on their basis.