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Dragon Fruit Facts and Health Benefits For Kids
Are you and your kids a little over the same ol' fruit plate? Or perhaps you're not quite ready to let go of summery vibes just yet. If so, then Dragon Fruit might just be the new fruit for you!
This exotic looking and magical sounding fruit not only brightens up kitchen countertops and fruit plates, but it's also incredibly good for you and your kids.
Sometimes also known as "Pitaya", this is the fruit of a climbing cactus that is native to Central and South America. It's also commercially cultivated in South-East Asia. That means it's possible to find Dragon Fruit in-store in the exotic-fruit section of many supermarkets, almost year-round.
Look, Taste, and Feel
Dragon Fruit has a distinct exotic oval-shaped look, roughly the size of an orange, with pinky-red peel and wavy green leaves. Its flesh can be pink or magenta-colored, but that of the more commonly found Dragon Fruit is white. With all kinds being sprinkled with tiny black edible seeds, similar to those found in kiwi fruit.
Sometimes referred to as a "Strawberry Pear" because of its delicate berry, watermelon, kiwi, and pear blend of flavour, the Dragon Fruit has a similar texture to watermelon.
The Dragon Fruit is usually happy to adorn your kitchen counter for a few days, but longer than that and it's best stored in the fridge. And can be frozen for up to 3 months.
If your local supermarket does not carry them, try specialty South American or Asian markets. You'll know it's ready to eat if it has a slight softness (like an avo) when gently squeezed. Otherwise leave to ripen at home, or look out for pitaya puree in the freezer section of your supermarket.
5 Fab Dragon Fruit Health Benefits for Kids
1) Low in Calories, Cholesterol & Fat
Want to help your kids look and feel healthy? Dragon Fruit contains around 60 calories per 100gms, making it a fab low-calorie fruit that contains less sugar and fewer carbs than many other tropical fruits.
Considering its high amount of fiber and magnesium, an essential mineral that promotes bone health and food metabolism, Dragon Fruit is a highly nutrient-dense super-fruit.
2) High in Vitamins, Minerals, & Antioxidants
Dragon Fruit contains an abundance of Vitamin C: 3 times higher than the amount found in carrots. This makes it particularly wonderful for kids as this vitamin is essential for growing healthy bones and the development of their muscles, skin, and circulatory system.
Vit C also boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant to remove harmful toxins from the body.
It's also a fruit that's high in Vitamin A, that's essential for healthy eyes and skin.
Besides the high level of Vitamin C, A, B1, B2 and B3, Dragon fruit also contains several antioxidants that are excellent for protecting your child's young growing cells from damage, including:
• hydroxycinnamates, and
Dragon Fruit is also an excellent source of iron. This means it's terrific for boosting your child's red blood cell count, helps prevent anaemia, and supports the healthy growth of hair.
3) Can Help Prevent Asthma Attacks, Colds & Coughs
Eaten on the regular, due to its high levels of Vit C, Dragon Fruit strengthens the respiratory system, helping your kids avoid colds and coughs. And if they suffer from time to time with asthma, then regularly drinking dragon fruit juice can help prevent asthma attacks.
4) Great for Treating Sunburn & Acne
Rich in vitamin B3, slices of Dragon Fruit pressed lightly onto sunburned skin will moisturize it and release its unpleasant heat. Or try making an aloe-like paste by combining Dragon Fruit with a little cucumber juice and honey. This is a particularly handy fruit to have on hand for when your kiddos have had too much sun.
Got teens with acne? Mashup a slice or two of Dragon Fruit pulp and apply it to the face. Leave for 10-15 mins then rinse off with water. Try this twice daily for noticeable results.
5) Helps Beat Constipation
As Dragon Fruit is high in water and dietary fibre, it's an excellent natural remedy for child (and adult) constipation. The black seeds are also said to have a mild laxative effect.
Help your kids to stay away from sugary junk foods, which cause bloating and can lead to constipation. Instead, fill their snack plates with a feast for their eyes and mouth with chunks of ripe Dragon Fruit.
This is also an interesting fact: In Taiwan, doctors are said to recommend this fruit to patients with diabetes, as it helps normalize blood sugar levels.
Here's something to keep in mind if you and your kiddos have been over-munching the red-fleshed variety of Dragon Fruit. It may cause a completely harmless condition called "pseudohematuria" which means it will turn your urine a reddish colour.
How to Prep, Eat & Enjoy Dragon Fruit on the Daily
The easiest no-fuss way is to slice the Dragon Fruit lengthways and dig in with a spoon like you would a Kiwi.
Or you can quarter or slice it and then peel off the leathery skin, or bite it straight off the peel for a quick fix.
Fill up a fruit plate, with or without a topping of Greek Yoghurt, add it to salads, pair it with seafood, or use it in smoothies.
Dragon Fruit can also be used to make ice-cream, sorbets, and jam, or reduced down into a syrup.
Wanting a taste of summer? Blend Dragon Fruit, together with water, lime juice, and crushed ice… rum, of course, optional for you!
How ever you choose to enjoy it, extra points for getting your kids to think you had to slay a dragon to get it home. ;-)
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