Food

Superfood of the Week: Dragon Fruit

Processed food is infamous for masking a lack of nutrients with overzealous colour, but nature’s not so clandestine: what you see is, often, what you get. Stumble upon purple cauliflower,…

Processed food is infamous for masking a lack of nutrients with overzealous colour, but nature’s not so clandestine: what you see is, often, what you get. Stumble upon purple cauliflower, green romesco, yellow carrots, or nearly fluorescent mangos, and you’re finding a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. That’s especially true for pitaya, or dragon fruit, that sizzling pink, spiky fruit that equal parts intrigues you and seems too daunting to buy. Trust us: the next time you see it at the shops, be sure to stock up.

Indigenous to Central America and a type of cactus, dragon fruits are a nutritional powerhouse and a lot less intimidating than their appearance (and name) might suggest. To enjoy, just peel back the outer, pink skin and munch on the white, crunchy flesh and black seeds. The taste is like if a pear and a kiwi fell in love, a flavour combination we can definitely get behind.

Here are some of the reasons why we can’t get enough of them:

1. A little seedy

Their seeds are rich with polyunsaturated fats, or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are responsible for healthy brain development, skin and hair growth, and a strong reproductive system.

2. Its enemies are your enemies

Pitaya, and other red fruits, contain lycopene, which causes the fuchsia colouring and is known to ward off conditions like cancer and heart disease. The antioxidant not only protects the body but repairs it as well, meaning a diet high in lycopene will help you recover faster, whether you’re nursing a wound or a cold.

3. It’s loaded

With phytonutrients that is. Among its list of germ-fighting chemicals are antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin B. The latter will help your body convert food to energy to keep you motivated and focused throughout the day, helped by the lack of complex carbohydrates, which makes it easier for your body to break down your food. Vitamin C will boost your immune system as you tackle any challenges, and antioxidants can help slow down the aging process to give you smoother, brighter skin

4. Popeye would be proud

No spinach in sight. Pitaya has plenty of iron and phosphorous to ensure healthy blood and bodily tissues, while calcium maintains bone health.

5. It’ll make you glow

As any wellness geek knows, the best skincare products are the ones that can double as dinner. Pitaya is no exception and can be applied topically to fight acne, wrinkles, and fine lines. When combined with vitamin E, it can also be a great remedy for sunb rned skin.

6. It’s just really cool

Seriously, how many plants only have a lifespan of one day? Dragon fruit comes from a climbing cactus that explodes with a stunning pink or yellow blossom — for just the night. It withers and dies in sunlight, making each fruit that much more precious.

To reap the benefits, eat it raw, combine it with other fresh fruit, or blend it into a flirty pink drink or smoothie bowl that was made to be Instagrammed.

A fruit that even the mother of dragons would approve of.

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Published: 26/10/18

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