Food

14 Unknown Facts About Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya)

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“Dragon fruit”, “dragon eye” fruit, “prickly pear”, pitaya or pitahaya – all these are the names of unusual exotic fruits of several types of cacti.

  1. The first mention of the pitahaya fruit is found among the ancient Aztecs. They ate the pulp of the fruits of epiphytic liana-like cacti, and their seeds were dried, crushed, and used to make stews.
  2. The name “dragon fruit” pitahaya got due to its appearance. The outer hard shell of the fruit resembles dragon scales.
  3. Inside the fruit is a creamy pulp filled with small black seeds.
  4. The color of the flesh ranges from white to orange and purple, depending on the type of cactus.
  5. Many people compare the taste of pitahaya with the taste of kiwi, but the latter is even inferior to pitahaya since it has a more delicate and sweetish aftertaste.
  6. Pitaya fruits usually weigh from 150 to 600 g, but some specimens reach even a kilogram. The fruits grow at the ends of the stems of cacti, mainly of the genus Hylocereus, which looks like small palms with cactus stems instead of leaves. Such cacti bloom only at night and can bear fruit up to 5-6 times a year.
  7. “Dragon fruit” is eaten fresh by cutting it vertically into two halves and taking out the pulp with a spoon. Wine, the juice is also made from such a delicacy, added to other drinks for taste, and tea is brewed with flowers.
  8. Pitahaya does not tolerate long-term transportation very well, as the fruits are easily damaged even with light pressure. In the refrigerator, pitahaya can only be stored for three days, and then it becomes unusable.
  9. Pitahaya is 90% water, but it also contains many useful substances, for example, vitamins B, C, E, PP, calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc.
  10. If you eat a lot of pitaya with red flesh, then there will be a harmless phenomenon of pseudohematuria, similar to the effect on the body of red beets, when urine becomes reddish.
  11. To choose the right “dragon fruit” not in the country of its growth, you should pay attention to the scales on the peel. They should be dry, and the weight of the fruit should be within 250 g. In this case, there is a better chance of choosing a ripe fruit.
  12. According to doctors, pitahaya helps to get rid of stomach pain. This fruit is also beneficial for people suffering from endocrine diseases, including diabetes, it strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems.
  13. One of the beneficial properties of pitahaya is its low-calorie content. There is only about 50 kcal per 100g of its pulp! Instead of another cake or candy, it is better to pamper yourself with something new and exotic, while saving your body from extra pounds. Due to the content of lipids in pitahaya, it is also often used in the preparation of various diets and on fasting days.
  14. Pitahaya is well absorbed by the body, it is useful to eat it in case of indigestion. This property is especially valuable when traveling in an exotic country. Dragon fruit normalizes the functioning of the stomach and intestines.

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