Pitaya is the latest fad in health fruit, and it is especially good for those of us who do not plan to die young. It is a great fruit to age with. The pitaya fruit is a member of the cacti family, native to Central America and Mexico, but also cultivated in Israel, Brazil and China. The word pitaya means a scaly fruit, and that’s probably why it is called a dragon fruit in English. It only flowers at night and so it is sometimes called Flor-de-noite here in Brazil. The plant relies on nocturnal pollinators such as bats or moths for fertilization. It can flower between three and six times a year, depending on growing conditions.
Each fruit contains about 60 calories and is rich in vitamin C, B1, B2 and B3. Dragon fruit also contain iron, calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin C, in particular, gives a serious boost to your body’s defense system, aka immune system. The more vitamin C, the better! The dragon fruit stimulates the activity of other antioxidants in the body as well, so much so, as a matter of fact, that it has been competing with acai berries. This means the fruit can help to increase the white blood cell count in your body, which defends against toxins. These actively seek out and eliminate free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cell metabolism, which have been directly linked to potentially fatal conditions like cancer-producing properties and heart disease.
Another advantage to dragon fruit is that they are an especially good source of protein, which is one of the most essential parts of our diet. Proteins are what make our bodies run smoothly, because they are basic to everything from our teeth, hair, and bones to our organs, blood vessels, and tissue. Many of the proteins we gain from fruit, vegetables and meat are metabolized by enzymes in our body and turned into usable proteins that can speed up cell repair, enhance strength, improve metabolism and help us to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
Dragon fruit also has an extremely low amount of cholesterol, and that helps the body break down this fruit quickly, keeping us happy and healthy. It also has an amazing power that helps decrease bad cholesterol levels and replenish the good levels. Dragon fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, helping the heart stay in great condition. All in all, it’s the perfect fruit to maintain your weight while satisfying your sweet tooth.
However, dragon fruit does have a small amount of fat because there are so many seeds in the edible part of the fruit. Like most seeds and nuts it has both fats and protein in them while the flesh of the fruit itself has virtually none. It would be impossible to remove the seeds from dragon fruit unless you pressed it through a strainer, but fortunately the fats they contain are mostly the healthy mono-unsaturated fats. They are not processed in any way and therefore have none of the dangerously unhealthy trans-fats seen in most junk food and processed foods.
Having such high fiber content, the dragon fruit is very good for our digestive system, and helps with poor digestion and constipation. Eating the flesh and seeds will also keep our bodies fortified and our plumbing unclogged. The high amount of fiber in dragon fruit can also help regulate diabetes, as it can stabilize blood sugar levels by suppressing sugar spikes. Dragon fruit so benefits people who suffer from diseases such as arthritis that it is often referred to as the “anti-inflammatory fruit.” But the fruit does not only fight pain; antioxidants are also essential for keeping skin tight and firm, which keeps us looking young.
And last but not least, dragon fruit has an antifungal and antibacterial quality, which inhibits the entrance or growth of fungal or bacterial infections in our systems. It also stimulates cell regeneration and speeds up healing, so wounds and bruises will heal faster.
The word cliffhanger comes from cliffs. Duh. Cliffs are vertical, or nearly vertical, rocks that have been formed by erosion and weathering. There are lots of famous cliffs, but the first ones that come to my mind are the White Cliffs of Dover, probably because there was a popular World War II song about them that was part of my childhood, and also because they are on the historical English coastline.
When one thinks of cliffhangers, England and its gothic novels always come to mind. Cliffhangers are the kind of story, book or movie that uses suspense either at the end of an episode or a scene. A good example was the way the final episode of Game of Thrones, season 5, was done. Jon Snow was dead. Or was he? Those of us who sweated it out until season 6 was aired were never really sure. The writers used old-fashioned melodrama, suspense and uncertainty, and the audience was left as if hanging from a cliff in a state of tension and apprehension. And that’s a true cliffhanger.
This part of the blog will not be able to offer any nail-biting cliffhangers, but it will have classes in series, and I hope they will be interesting enough that you will want to come back and read what happens next, even if you don’t lose sleep anticipating the next chapter. Enjoy.