If you are looking to change things, dragon fruit may be worth a taste. Indeed, this is a wonderful fruit that has been missing in diets for so long.
Dragon fruit may not feature in many people’s grocery lists despite being one of the most excellent health food spotlights. This has mostly to do with how difficult is it go get a hold of one, and their price tag.
Typically, the red-skinned with white flesh variety is the most common you’ll find.
But, is this all dragon fruit has to offer ? In this article, we are to cover all types of dragon fruits, the best dragon fruit, and other essential information about this fruit.
What are the varieties of Dragon fruit?
Dragon fruits are known to be one of the most iconic plants that bear delicious and super–healthy fruits.
Even though these fruits will remain green until they are ripe, they exist in different types. Three types are synonymous due to distinctive peel and pulp colors.
However, there are nine named species so far. Here are the named varieties, starting with the top well-known types.
Also known as pitaya blanca, this dragon fruit has a red (pink-like) skin and a white flesh. This is the most common one, very often found in markets.
You may have heard dragon fruit has no flavor, or has a very bland or weak one. This can be true, and it’s most prevalent in this type of dragon fruit.
The trouble with any dragon fruit, but especially this variety, is that it’s very difficult to find a ripe one. Most of the time they’re sold underripe, so they don’t spoil during transport.
This leads to folks having their first ever bite of a dragon fruit when it’s not ripe, thus ruining their experience.
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It has a white pulp and a yellow peel and is also characterized by its thornier skin compared to other types. It is also known as pitaya amarilla.
This happens to be the tastiest dragon fruit out there. Difficult to find if you’re not in Southeast Asia, since it doesn’t really grow anywhere else.
Once you do find it though, it’s the sweetest and more flavorful dragon fruit. If it’s not yet ripe, you can ripen it on the counter like with avocado. Then you can easily store any dragon fruit in the fridge for 2-3 days, as long as it’s uncut.
Costaricensis is identical with its red coloration, both on the skin and in the flesh. The flesh appears more unnatural with a deep red color that is blood-like. This variety is also known as pitaya roja.
This dragon fruit is somewhere between the white and yellow one. Sweeter and more flavorful than the white, but not as much as the yellow.
Still, for those from the West this may be the most flavorful dragon fruit you may ever encounter, short of leaving the country.
If you’re in the mood for a vacation though, the name should give you a hint as to where you may find this variety: Costa Rica.
Lesser known dragon fruit varieties
There are several other dragon fruit varieties, but they are not well documented. A cursory search on Google of the names below will net you unclear images of various cacti.
This is because dragon fruit is actually a kind of cactus fruit, and not all of them are as good for human consumption.
Still, here are the remaining dragon fruit types, for those who are interested:
- Acanthocereus pitajaya
- Hylocereus triangularis
- Hylocereus polyrhizus
- Hylocereus ocamponis
- Cereus ocamponis
- Cereus triangularis
Dragon fruits are also called strawberry pears due to their intriguingly red fruit features. They are also given various names in different places the most common substitute names are pitaya/pitajaya. All dragon fruits have black seeds, much like kiwi fruits.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, regardless of the dragon fruit, you chose to grow, you will enjoy plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
The fruits boast of exceptional healthy features. They also have varied flavors; therefore, you will get something that blends with your most preferred taste.
Which is the best dragon fruit?
In terms of flavor, it would seem that by popular accounts the yellow dragon fruit is the best one. That’s the Selenicereus megalanthus, and aside from being yellow you’ll notice it’s got no wings.
Where other dragon fruit types have green wings or tips, the yellow one has none. Its outer skin resembles that of a soft pineapple, in a way.
That being said, if you’re more interested in the nutritional value or health benefits of dragon fruits there are some things you need to know.
All dragon fruits have some nutritional value. Therefore, none can be concluded to be bad. However, the antioxidants level varies in the different varieties.
Fruits play a crucial role in blood sugar levels; therefore, we can judge dragon fruits depending on how much they help the body.
With the many varieties of dragon fruits, exploring all types can present a significant challenge. But if nutritional facts are based on their color, getting the best dragon fruit can be easier.
The red flesh dragon fruits have more antioxidants compared to white flesh dragon fruits. Indeed, antioxidants increase with the intensity of the red color across all fruits known to man.
The plenty of antioxidants in red dragon fruit scavenge free radical, thus being great for blood, eyes, and skin.
Despite white flesh dragon fruits being sweeter (including the yellow skinned one), they pack more vitamins with low sugar content.
Nevertheless, the red dragon fruits remain to be the best. With the information mentioned above, it is right to conclude that Hylocereus polyrhizus is the best with its dark red flesh.
While that specific dragon fruit is not the same as the Costa Rica variety, the Costa rica has red flesh as well so it’s going to bring you similar results.
All of that being said, we should take a moment to clear things up. Dragon fruit are widely known for their striking looks, and are used more for their health benefits than their flavor.
Compared to other fruits, dragon fruits are mellow and can seem a bit bland to come folks.
Benefits of dragon fruits
Dragon fruits pack with tons of vitamins, fibers, and vitamins, therefore positively influencing your health and wellness. Below are some of the health benefits you will get from eating dragon fruit regularly.
Improves cardiovascular health: If you are looking to reduce stroke and heart attack risks, incorporating dragon fruit in your diet can be a perfect way to improve your cardiovascular health. The fruits have antioxidants and edible seeds that provide omega – 3 and omega – 6 essential in controlling cholesterol levels.
Improves digestion: Dragon fruits contain dietary fibers, which is essential in enhancing healthy digestion. Fibers regulate bowel movements and maintain bowel health as they can treat and prevent constipation.
Support immune system: Dragon fruits contain antioxidants like vitamin C, which boost the immune system and defend the body against free radicals and infections. This lowers susceptibility to several diseases.
Lowers blood sugar levels: The fiber in dragon fruit normalizes sugar levels, thus being less of a risk for people with type 2 diabetes.
Prevention of Cancer: Dragon fruits’ vitamin C boosts the immune system to fight illnesses. Additionally, the red dragon fruit contains lycopene, a very potent antioxidant that reduces cancer-causing cells. Studies show that extracts of red dragon fruit may be useful in preventing and treating breast cancer.
Improves skin health: Antioxidants and vitamin C in dragon fruit carries several skin benefits. Eating dragon fruit reduces wrinkles, age spots, acne, and dry skin. With regular consumption of dragon fruits, your skin gets repaired, giving you a youthful appearance.
Improves functionality: Dragon fruits are an ideal iron source, which carries oxygen to your entire body. An adequate supply of oxygen is essential for muscle and brain functionality.
Reduces inflammation: Are you dealing with chronic pain? Dragon fruit has compounds that kill pain naturally and can eliminate your pain completely. Adding dragon fruit in your diet will reduce inflammation and tenderness. These fruits also contain magnesium, which is essential in alleviating anxiety and relaxing both nerves and muscles. This leads to better sleep, and you can hence enjoy a better quality life.
Please note that a single dragon fruit a day is not enough, especially if your dies isn’t balanced and exercise is not a priority. A healthy lifestyle includes many factors.
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There are many dragon fruit varieties, with each type having its own benefits to your body. If you are considering living happier and healthier, it is ideal to add these excellent fruits into your routine diet.