Health

This Tasty Tropical Fruit Can Help Improve Gut Health, Control Blood Sugar, and Lower Inflammation

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Now that the warmer months of the year are officially here, it’s the perfect time to dig into all of the refreshing, light, and delicious fruits you love so much. But in addition to classics like strawberries and blueberries, it’s also worth it to try something new. Enter dragon fruit, a tasty — and very bright! — fruit you definitely want in your rotation this spring and summer.

What is dragon fruit?

An interesting tidbit: Dragon fruit is actually a variety of cactus. It’s often found in Mexico and Central America and tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear. It’s known for its bright fuchsia color and white or pink flesh with black seeds scattered throughout. It’s also packed with a number of key nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin E.

Because dragon fruit is filled with fiber and prebiotics, scientists have found that it can really help regulate your digestive system and keep your gut health in check. Research has also shown that it’s great for weight maintenance, controlling blood sugar levels, and keeping heart disease at bay.

Among dragon fruit’s other health benefits, it contains two antioxidants called betacyanins and betaxanthins, which work to keep compounds like free radicals from damaging cells. Protection from free radicals can slow signs of aging and also fight against a number of health conditions, including many cancers. Moreover, other research has discovered that dragon fruit is excellent for reducing general inflammation as well as symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout.

How do you eat it?

Dragon fruit can look a little intimidating, but there are a number of options when it comes to eating it! First and foremost, make sure to get produce that’s a bright pink color; unripened fruits are often green, so steer clear of those.

Once you buy it, wash it as you would any other fruit. Cut it lengthwise, and then similar to what you’d do with an avocado, make cuts along the flesh both vertically and horizontally so they form cubes. Pull the skin back and scoop the cubes out. Presto, you’ve got your basic dragon fruit — and yes, you can eat its black seeds! And here’s a little pro tip: If you want your fruit to last longer, sprinkle a little lime juice on it; the acidity will keep it from browning as quickly once it’s sliced.

From there, you can easily mix dragon fruit into smoothies or smoothie bowls (like this one!), put it in a salad, and even make it a side for a chicken dish. The possibilities are truly endless.

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