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Pitaya

Pitaya known as dragon fruit appears more often on our plates as an ingredient of an exotic fruit salad, delicious low-calorie ice-cream or a spectacular cocktail. Where is the pitaya from? Why is it called the dragon fruit? What are its health properties and use in the kitchen?

The origin of the dragon fruit
Pitaya, also known as the dragon fruit and strawberry pear, comes from Latin America (Mexico and Colombia). Currently, it is also grown in many Asian countries. Commercial plantations can be found in Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Israel. The fruit is still an important source of food for Indian tribes inhabiting northwestern Mexico.

Pitaya has been named the most beautiful fruit of the cactus. Pitaya has an oblong oval shape of red, pink or yellow. The skin is thick and inedible, ending with long, pointed appendages – hence the name of the dragon fruit. Inside there is an edible white flesh with a lot of very small edible seeds similar to those in kiwi. The fruit pulp constitutes about 60-80% of the whole fruit, which is about 10 centimeters long. Pitaya is sweet, refreshing, and its taste resembles gooseberry. The pita flowering season is in summer and early autumn – from June to October.

In Southeast Asia, both fruits and flowers are consumed. Flowering is influenced by temperature and light intensity. Pita fruits like a warm and humid climate, while they are very sensitive to chill. Dragon fruit ripens even after harvest, during storage, and becomes sweeter, like bananas.

Health properties of dragon fruit
Pitaya has many pro-health properties. It is a low-calorie fruit – it contains about 50 kcal per 100 g. The dragon fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals. Thanks to the content of vitamin C, it supports the body’s resistance, wound healing, tissue regeneration and, moreover, it seals blood vessels. Vitamin A contained in the dragon fruit improves the eyesight, affects the condition of the skin, hair, and nails. Vitamins B1 and B2 support the proper functioning of the nervous system, metabolism of carbohydrates, improve immunity and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Pitaya contains oligosaccharides that have prebiotic properties and support the intestinal function. The small seeds contain fatty acids from the omega-3 and omega-6 families that support the body’s immunity and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, it contains calcium and phosphorus, which strengthens teeth and nails, as well as iron affecting normal growth, development, and regeneration of tissues. In addition, it contains antioxidants – lycopene and betalain. Antioxidants are plant substances that protect the body’s cells from aging, numerous diseases of the circulatory system and cancer.

The fruit contains dietary fiber important for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Prevents constipation, but eating too much pulp can cause laxative effects. Fiber gives a feeling of fullness, reduces appetite and reduces postprandial glycemia.
Vitex Fruit
Dragon fruit thanks to the content of polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamin C, increases the insulin sensitivity of the cells manifested by a lower level of glucose and fasting insulin. In addition, it protects against fatty liver, reduce LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and reduces the size of adipocytes – fat cells. Consumption of pita in moderate amounts does not affect weight gain.

People who are allergic are more likely to be allergic to exotic fruits, so you should try a small amount at the beginning and see if there are any disturbing symptoms.

The use of dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is used primarily in the kitchen. It can be used to make fruit salads, ice cream, desserts, mousses, and cocktails. Pulp cubes are great decoration for many dishes. The earlier cooling of the fruit will make its taste more intense. The tastiest fruits are imported at the beginning of the year and in July and August.

There are several ways to eat pitai. The fruit can be cut along in half, and the pulp eats with a spoon, or peel the halves of the skin, and the center cut into cubes.

Recipe for yogurt with pitaya

Components

– 1 pitaya fruit (150 g)

– 1 glass of fresh or frozen strawberries (150 g)

– 1/2 mango (140 g)

– 1 pack of natural yogurt (200 g)

– almond spoon (15 g)

– lime juice.

Mix the mango into a smooth mousse, then mix the strawberries in a separate container. Mousse, strawberry and yogurt mousse alternately into a tall glass or jar. At the top, arrange the diced pitaya and cut into pieces almonds. Sprinkle the whole with lime juice. Dessert can be eaten immediately or after 30 minutes of cooling in the fridge.

Nutritional values

carbohydrates 61.3 g

16.1 g protein

fats 13.3 g

The energy value is 433 kcal.

Pitaya appears on store shelves not only in the form of unprocessed fruit but also juices and powdered extract. Pitai powder works well in making cocktails, smoothies and as an addition to yogurt, porridge, and cake. Some people use dried pitaya flowers in the kitchen to make tea.

Pitaya has also found application in cosmetics. More and more often you can find gels, scrubs, shampoos, masks, hand soaps and deodorants with pitai extract on drugstore shelves. The pitai scent notes are accompanied by the well-known brand of toilet waters.

Where and for how much can you buy dragon fruit?
Exotic fruits can be found in stores during the Christmas season, but in other months it is also possible to buy them. Larger supermarkets offer pitai fruits on separate stands with exotic food. You can find them next to passion fruit, persimmon, mango, rambutan and other exotic fruits.

Fresh pitaya is available in stores from 10 to 15 PLN per unit. Dried pitai extract in the amount of 100 g is about PLN 35. Recently, there were also dried pitas in stores – the cost for 60 g is about 7-8 PLN.

Popular in Asia, pitaya for Europeans still sounds very exotic. It is worth creating a beautiful-looking pitai dessert to get to know the unusual taste of this fruit and to appreciate its health-promoting properties.

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Healthcare

Pitaya (dragon fruit) – properties and nutritional values. How to peel and eat pitaya?

Pitaya (dragon fruit) and its health properties were already known to ancient tribes inhabiting South America.
Now, scientists have looked at them who have found that pitaya – apart from numerous vitamins and minerals – also contains substances that give it antioxidant effects. obesity and diseases associated with it. Check what properties pitaya has, and how to peel and eat dragon fruit.

Pitaja (pitahaya), a dragon fruit or strawberry pear, is an exotic fruit of some cactus species, whose health was first known to the people of South America, where it comes from. Currently, this fruit is grown mainly in Asian countries. Pitaya has an oval shape, it is reddish or a yellowish skin, ending with long, pointed leaves – hence the name of a dragon fruit, his family is a pitaya from Costa Rica – a fruit with a red skin and the same flesh – and a yellow pitaya whose skin is yellow and the flesh white.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) – an antioxidant that protects the circulatory system

Pitaya is a fruit rich in betalayas – natural dyes that include red-violet betacins and yellow-orange betaxanthin.
Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus that has drooping, fleshy arms, completed during flowering with large, white flowers that bloom only one night, but several times a year. A month after flowering, pitai fruits are harvested.
Betaalain compounds are not widely distributed in plant foods, they are found only in pitai, red beets, chard, opuntia, ulluko and amaranth. Previous studies show that beta-betains are characterized by strong antioxidant properties.
Betaalain has also been shown to inhibit lipid oxidation, protect against red blood cells and counteract cardiotoxicity during cancer chemotherapy in mice. Cardiotoxicity is a change in the cardiovascular system, e.g. due to the duration of chemotherapy or radiotherapy or immediately after its completion .

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Pitaya (dragon fruit) – reduces insulin resistance

According to the research of scientists from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou (China), dragon fruit can protect against obesity and related diseases such as insulin resistance or fatty liver. In one study involved mice on a high fat diet . They were given an extract After the experiment, it turned out that mice lost weight and decreased their risk of fatty liver, insulin resistance and inflammation. According to Chinese researchers, substances that are responsible for such properties of dragon fruit are already mentioned betalains.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) can cause allergies

There is a known case of allergic reaction after ingestion of dragon fruit,  confirmed by allergy tests, but it should be emphasized that the person who had allergy to this fruit had a history of atopic dermatitis and eczema and symptoms of allergy to birch pollen. That pitaya increases the risk of food allergies in people who are already allergic.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) – How to peel and eat? How does it taste?

I should cut the meat in half, like kiwi. Then a white flesh will appear, densely strewn with tiny black stones that can be extracted using a teaspoon. It has a taste reminiscent of a mix of kiwi and melon – it is sweet, but for some too bland. Pips are edible, so you do not need to get rid of them.

Pitaya (dragon fruit) – use in the kitchen

Pitaya is a refreshing fruit that will work as a component of ice cream, cakes, creams, cocktails and mousses. The cooling of the fruit strengthens its exotic taste. The dragon fruit can also be added to salads. This also tastes well pitai juice. The flowers of this plant are also edible – fresh are used as additives to dishes or desserts, while dried ones are made into a brew.
In turn, powdered drink can be added to smoothies, smoothies, shakes and yoghurts, and can also be an addition to cakes and desserts.
Recipe for dragon fruit carpaccio

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You can read also: Two kiwifruits before bedtime and you sleep one hour longer