Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a sweet and juicy fruit that is loved by many people due to its unique flavor and nutrition. The fruit has two types, the red heart and the white heart, both of which are rich in essential nutrients and minerals.
1. Vegetable Albumin
One of the key nutrients found in dragon fruit is vegetable albumin, which is rare in most fruits and vegetables. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and chromium can be harmful to human health.
However, the active albumin present in dragon fruit can effectively encounter these heavy metal ions and wrap them to prevent their absorption in the body. This albumin then helps to excrete these harmful substances through the excretion system, thus playing a role in detoxifying the body.
2. Vitamin C
Dragon fruit is also rich in vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. The black seeds of the fruit's pulp contain enzymes, unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants that aid in the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal system and help with constipation, especially during pregnancy, postpartum, and in children.
The peel of dragon fruit contains anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant, and immune-boosting substance. This substance can remain in the human bloodstream for 75 hours, which is more than ten times stronger than carotene. The anthocyanins in the blood are transported throughout the body, playing a crucial role in preventing oxidative stress, free radicals, aging, and even Alzheimer's disease.
The pink inner layer of the dragon fruit's peel is not as astringent as other fruit peels, so it is recommended not to discard it when eating dragon fruit. It is best to consume the fruit raw to retain the potency of the anthocyanins, as they are sensitive to temperature. The pink peel can be scraped off with a knife and eaten directly or cut into thin strips for cold juices.
The flesh of dragon fruit is low in fructose and sucrose, with the majority of its sugar content being glucose. This natural glucose is easy to absorb, making it an ideal food to consume after exercise. Despite the fruit's lower sweetness, it is important to note that the sugar content in dragon fruit is still high, so people with diabetes should limit their consumption.
Growing Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is a tropical and subtropical plant that can be grown all year round. However, it is best to plant it in sandy loam soil with good organic matter and drainage. The plant should be planted about 3 cm deep, and the soil should be kept moist.
The plant begins to bear fruit 12 to 14 months after planting, with the ability to bloom 12 to 15 times a year. The plant reaches its full fruiting period in its third year, with the ability to produce over 20 fruits per column.
There are two main planting methods for dragon fruit: climbing wall planting and column planting, with column planting being the most common. The plant should be leaned against a cement column and tied with a cloth rope after planting.
When the branch grows to about 1.3 to 1.4 meters, it is recommended to pick the heart and promote the growth of the branch. The fruiting branches should be cut off at the end of each harvest year to allow for new growth and ensure a good yield in the coming year.
Gragon fruit is a nutritious and delicious fruit that provides various health benefits. It is easy to grow, making it an excellent addition to any garden.