Spanish for “dragon fruit,” pitaya is a species of cactus with a strong, refreshing and juicy flavor. Offering a wide range of outstanding health benefits essential for your diet, this rich neon pink superfruit is giving acai a run for its money with companies like Pitaya Plus selling a slew of products for those on the go. Bound to kick-start your mornings with that added super boost without the need for a cape, we share why you need to think pink and add this pretty superfruit to your lifestyle.
How to Eat Pink
Tasting a little like strawberries and raspberries with a melon-like texture and pear-like notes, pitaya is paleo-friendly and can be eaten raw and off the peel, or turned into juice, smoothies, and even wine. Recommended to eat first thing in the morning as an empty stomach breaks down the beneficial nutrients and enzymes faster and more efficiently, pitaya is easy to eat. Just like you would any other piece of fruit during snack time, you cut it down the middle and either spoon the flesh out or skin the sides, cutting in cubes.
Because of its long list of health benefits, pitaya has been dubbed a superfood for the ages! With the fruit’s seeds being heart healthy lipids boosting omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation, pitaya has a significant source of micronutrients like calcium and vitamins A, B and C, and rich in antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage that leads to premature aging and disease, while lowering the risk of certain types of cancer.
Strengthening immunity and fighting off infections, studies have also shown that pitaya has an extraordinary impact on preventing complications associated with diabetes, as well as lowering the risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure. Because it is a high source of fiber, it also aids in weight loss and cleanses the body of toxins thanks to its antioxidant properties.
Since pitaya reaps amazing skin benefits, we can all glow like Wonder Woman! From its nutritional makeup including antioxidants, monosaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber, eating pitaya regularly not only improves the quality of your teeth, eyes and bones, but it can fight acne, make your skin glow, and ensures a natural tightness and firmness.
How to Pick Pink
Though dragon fruit season begins in the summer and early fall, pitaya can now be found in a variety of grocery stores and produce stands thanks to farmers markets, growing locations, and off-season production methods. If you choose to visit natural food stores for its dried form, make sure there’s no sugar or chemicals added, as you might miss out on the ample benefits its original form provides.
With similar methods to finding the perfect avocado, look for pitaya that is slightly soft with a rich colored exterior that is even all over, and a light aromatic tropical scent. If it has too many blotches and its petals are shriveling, it’s probably overripe. However, if it’s firm, let it ripen on your counter for a few days until the flesh gives way slightly—not too soft, not too hard. If you want to keep it longer, pitaya can last for up to five days in your refrigerator.
Since pitaya is low in calories and a superfood that keeps you feeling full for long periods, it can enhance your metabolism and maintain a healthy weight. To help get you started with your new favorite food, we share a few of our favorite recipes!
- Pitaya Parfaits
- Coconut Pineapple and Pitaya Pancakes
- Dragon Fruit Smoothie
- Almond Banana Dragon Fruit Bowl
- Dragon Fruit Salsa