Dragon fruit—also referred to as pitaya or strawberry pear—is a fruit native to Mexico and Central and South America, but it is also found in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Australia. It grows on cactus-like trees that produce vibrant flowers, with fruit that is usually a deep, dark red, although sometimes fruit can be either pink or yellow in color.
Dragon fruit has many health benefits. For instance, it can reduce and maintain blood sugar levels in Type II diabetes sufferers, and, in fact, in some parts of the world, dragon fruit is used by diabetics as a substitute for rice. It is also packed full other good things, such as antioxidants, which help control free radicals that ravage and damage good cells and cause us to age. Additionally, dragon fruit is a powerhouse of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and it is low in calories and rich in fiber, nutrients, and minerals.
Dragon fruit skin is scaly and inedible, but the fruit’s pump is delicious, mildly sweet and tastes somewhat similar to kiwi because of the black sesame-like seeds found in its pulp. People often use the fruit’s leaves to make tea, and they turn the pulp into juice. In fact, both CapriSun and Snapple sell juice drinks made from dragon fruit. Currently, you can purchase dragon fruit fresh at specialty stores and in its dried version at health food markets.