I fell in love with the dragon fruit the first time I tasted it
It is rare to eat a fruit and after a few hours feel so energized and fresh, it is like a feeling of being re-born and after eating it for five days straight, my gut felt like it had been subjected to a natural detox. I knew from this point onwards, I wanted to be just more than friends with this heavenly tasting fruit.
Would this new friendship last long?
My first encounter with this strange looking fruit was when I had travelled to Vietnam in 2016. This was while doing some work in the global health arena with both the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and the RESYST consortium (UK).
Fast forward, after our meals, we were always served with a wide variety of fresh fruit. However, one fruit always drew my attention and we hit off once it came knocking on my taste buds. Fleshy, sweet, tasted like honey with a hint of kiwi. From this point on, for one week, we fell madly in love but our long distance relationship slowly grew apart as the years went on since this was my last trip to Asia.
Fast forward, we reconnected during the Covid season in 2021, when I ventured back into my hobby of farming. For sure, our love has been rekindled and now I am back to basking in the glory of my former memories with this amazing fruit.
The Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that's been around for ages and has been embraced by many cultures. It grows well in both arid and semi-arid areas. It can be grown from cuttings or through grafting, which hastens its growth. The most common varieties I've encountered are the purple-hued Philippine golden and the Vietnamese white.
It can grow in both arid and semi-arid areas, so it's a great choice for Kenya. Kenyans have begun to embrace it and plant it, but the cost of setting up an orchard is high due to the cost of cuttings/ seedlings and the infrastructure required to set up.
Dragon fruit is one of the healthiest fruits in existence. It's rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin. It's naturally fat-free and high in fiber, which makes it a healthy choice for consumers looking for a new way to eat healthy foods.
Dragon fruit may help lower your blood sugar levels too! It contains prebiotics—foods that feed your gut bacteria -which could be especially beneficial if you're trying to improve your gut health. And don't forget about how much dragon fruit can strengthen your immune system:
Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acid, as well as betacyanin. It may help lower your blood sugar levels and strengthen your immune system. It also contains prebiotics, which are foods that feed the healthy bacteria called probiotics in your gut. Dragon fruit can help strengthen your immune system as it contains vitamin C and E, which help raise your immunity against infections. It also contains iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus which helps keep your bones strong when you're exercising regularly.
Dragon fruit is currently the most expensive fruit in Kenya and in many parts of the world too.
It would be good to invest in a few seedlings for ones personal consumption, if you do not intend to plant it commercially.
I would recommend a mix of 4 varieties. The Moroccan red, the purple haze, the golden ISIS yellow and the palora.
The Chinese believe in the saying 'Let your food be your medicine'. Invest in your health and that of your loved ones, plant some dragon fruit seedlings today.