Nutrition: Facts About the Dragon Fruit
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Nutrition: Facts About the Dragon Fruit

Facts about the dragon fruit and its nutritional benefits.

You may have not have known that you have eaten or tasted the dragon fruit as your desert, in its raw form, or juice and experienced its crunchy and uniquely delicious taste. But do you know that the dragon fruit plant is not produced from the conventional woody tree or plant where many fruits are derived? The dragon fruit is obtained from several cactus species!

The dragon fruit stem has a succulent stem just like any other cactus plant you have seen. The succulent stem is the plant’s adaptation to an arid climate where the plant has characteristically fleshy tissues that conserve moisture.

Red-skinned Climbing Cactus - Hylocereus undatus

One of the species of the dragon fruit, Hylocereus undatus, is triangular in cross-section with spikes on the angular side distributed along the ridge every few inches (Figure 1). The stem tends to lie close to the ground but many dragon fruit growers tie it up on some sturdy post where its fibrous roots would attach and keep it upright.

dragon fruit spikes

Fig. 1. Spikes of the triangular stem of the dragon fruit plant.

The dragon fruit plant’s flower reminds one of the fiery mythical dragon’s breath of fire (Figure 2). Probably, the plant derived its name from the budding flower akin to a dragon’s appearance. The flower usually blooms at night, from 7 pm to 12, thus it is called the “Queen of the Night” or “Moonflower”. It withers early in the morning or late in the day. The flowers will last for a brief period of about 12 to 16 hours.

dragon fruit flower

Fig. 2. Flower of Hylocereus undatus (Image Source

The Dragon Fruit

What about the fruit? The fruit of Hylocereus undatus is a nice-looking, grenade-like leathery pack of pink outer shell with fleshy leaf-like posterior projections bounded by greenish margins (Figure 3).

 dragon fruit

Fig. 3. The grenade-like dragon fruit.

It looks odd to be palatable but cutting longitudinally across the fruit reveals a juicy white meat riddled with hundreds of small black seeds (Figure 4).

dragon fruit in half

Fig. 4. The dragon fruit in half.

If you have no spoon to spade up the meat, just cut longitudinally again so that you will be able to peel off the leathery skin. You can’t wait to taste the unique, delicious taste with each crunchy bite you make (Figure 5).

dragon fruit peeled off

Fig. 5. Ready to eat juicy dragon fruit.

Nutritional Benefits of the Dragon Fruit

The dragon fruit contains a lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Dragon fruits are rich in antioxidants, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carotene, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus.

These beneficial contents found in dragon fruits can help the body carry on its normal functioning such as:

  • excrete heavy metal toxins from the body
  • lower cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • relieve asthma and cough
  • improve eyesight
  • avoid constipation
  • reduce fat

The dragon fruit is also known as pitaya, pitahaya, hu? lóng gu? (???/???), strawberry pear, nanettika fruit, or thanh long.

© 2011 August 20 Nutrition: Facts About the Dragon Fruit and Its Nutritional Benefits

References

Daley's Fruit

Santalouis

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Comments (5)

I love dragon fruits. I agree that it has lots of health benefits. For me, this is one of the most delicious fruits I have tested. Yet, this is one of the most expensive..

Excellent information. I've never seen this fruit. Voted up!

Ranked #30 in Nutrition

Thanks P. Guims and Sandy. Indeed this is priced high at the moment probably because it is low in supply. We bought a kilo and it cost us a hundred pesos ($2.35).

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

Very timing kabayan, I always see dragon fruit on walking my way to work, passing by San Andres market - where one could find even off-season fruit, great write up on the fruit Patrick.

I do not know this fruit but I bet its really tasty and really nutritious. Meron ba niyan sa Quezon?

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