Millennial pink is the colour of the year, so it makes sense that alongside our sartorial choices and interior decisions (Farrow & Ball in Calamine, FYI), we should want to imbibe all things pink too. Pink lattes, made with beetroot and pitaya (that's dragonfruit to you and I), are the perfect Instagram fodder, and while we know all the benefits of beetroot (it's rich in iron, folate and antioxidants), what will pitaya do for you in terms of wellness? We turned to nutritionist Tilly Pearman to reveal pitaya's plus points and whether a pink pitaya latte is the best way to ingest this exotic fruit.
Keep scrolling to see whether we should be forgoing our daily java or turmeric for a steaming cup of a millennial-pink latte instead.
Pitaya's plus points
Besides looking pretty, the rather flamboyant dragon fruit packs a punch in terms of nutrients. "Pitaya is certainly a good and rich source of both macro and micronutrients. It’s vitamin and mineral content boasts good levels of B1, B2, B3 (great for energy and nervous system support), niacin, pyridoxine, phosphorus, calcium (for nerve function and bone mineral density) and iron (another important nutrient for energy metabolism and oxygen circulation)," says Pearman.
"One single fruit can provide up to 15% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C (a potent antioxidant and aid to your adrenals). Alongside vitamin C, pitaya contains beta carotene, which further increases this fruit’s antioxidant status and places it at 760 on the official ORAC scale (ahead of papaya, mango and lychee). Antioxidants are needed to help quench free radicals, which can build up in the body due to poor diets and environmental stressors. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods can have a protective effect on cellular damage and reduce signs of ageing by lessening the effect of oxidative stress.
"It’s relatively low calorie and is low on the glycaemic-load index, making it a good choice for people watching their waistlines. One dragon fruit, for example, has around just 60 calories, around 14 grammes of carbohydrates, 1 gramme of fibre, 2 grammes of protein and just 0.4 grammes of fat. As for pitaya lattes specifically, they are free from caffeine, making it a good alternative to the more widely seen coffee or matcha lattes," explains Pearman.
So Pitaya lattes are a good choice then?
Not so fast. "Most pitaya lattes are made with a freeze-dried powder, as opposed to the actual fresh fruit," explains Pearman. "This can, of course, affect the total nutrient status. Studies into freeze-drying methods and their effects on nutrient content often draw positive correlations to the subsequent micronutrient levels with many still proving there to be a therapeutic effect.
"The amount of powder used however to make a latte is usually around 1/2 tbsp., meaning that whilst you will gain some of the nutrients in your pretty pink latte, the levels are relatively low and will not yield as much as consuming the actual fruit in its whole form. It’s also worth noting that the heating process can also further damage and reduce the nutrient density of this food.
"Consider too the added ingredients going into your pink lattes. Most store-bought lattes contain added sugars, such as agave or honey, and milk, too, can fluctuate in quality. I would always check exactly what ingredients are being added and which brand of milk is being used to make my latte (even at the risk of being that annoying person who asks too many questions!). Don't be fooled by clever marketing; so-called 'health' drinks may not be as healthy as they make out and added sugars, binders and thickeners often creeping their way in making the so-called healthy option worse than a regular coffee!"
Okay, I'm sticking to regular coffee then…
Actually, a pitaya latte every now and then is no bad thing (for you or your Instagram feed). "As with nearly all foods, the benefits can vary, so the expression 'everything in moderation' rings true to ensure you are consuming a well-rounded mix of nutrients as part of a healthy diet. It's also about listening to your body and noticing how it responds—not all foods suit us, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to disconnect from our bodies just because it's a trend. Our body will always give us signs as to what it needs and what agrees with it," says Pearman.
"My top tips are to always check for any added 'nasties' and don't dismiss your regular coffee too quickly. Coffee is still a good source of antioxidants, and it's linked to many other health benefits such as a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, lowered risk of Alzheimer's, reduced risk of depression and lowered risk of heart disease."
Want to make your own pink latte? Keep scrolling to buy freeze-dried pitaya and beetroot powder, and click here to check out this vanilla pitaya latte recipe or head to Planet Organic and order one instead.