Dragon fruit
This image shows a glass of cocktail decorated with a slice of exotic dragon fruit or pitaya.Reuters

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a tropical fruit originated from Central America and Mexico. Sadly, people know little about this exotic fruit, which belongs to the cactus family and has other names like pitaya, strawberry pear and Belle of the night.

Dragon fruit is available in three varieties: red skinned with white flesh, red skinned with red flesh and yellow skinned with white flesh. Its skin is similar to that of a cactus plant and it is not edible; the flesh inside is very soft and contains seeds, which provide crunch and texture to every bite. This fruit tastes very mild and people who have tasted it say that it's similar to kiwi fruit.

Pitaya got various nutritional and health benefits, which makes it a superfruit. Here's what we should know about this fruit:

1. Nutritional benefits of dragon fruit

The fruit contains a lot of water, fibre, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, protein, calcium, carbohydrates and mono-saturated fats as well. Phosphorous, Iron and traces of vitamin A are some other benefits dragon fruit provides to your body.

2. Boosts heart health

Dragon fruit contains levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and it has the ability to deplete the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost cardiovascular health. The fruit also contains mono-saturated fats, which keeps the heart healthy.

3. Combats diabetes

According to the studies conducted on pitaya regarding its diabetes fighting abilities, it prevents type-2 diabetes. It contains high fibre content, which helps in fighting diabetes and managing the blood sugar level.

4. Maintains digestive health

The high fibre content present in dragon fruit helps in regulating the bowel movement. It curbs constipation and also betters poor digestion. The fibre present in it also has a positive impact on our weight and it minuses the risk of having kidney stones and gall stones.

5. High on anti-oxidants

Dragon fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, hence it contains high levels of antioxidants, which provide you with various health benefits. Some advantages of consuming antioxidants are that it prevents cancer, boosts immunity, helps in fighting diseases and strengthens our overall health.

Not just these, dragon fruit also helps in improving memory, eye sight, appetite and helps in faster healing of wounds. The juice of this fruit can also be used as a beauty product to protect and condition coloured hair.