Diabetics have to think twice before they indulge in their favourite fruit treats. Nutritious yet high glycaemic fruits like bananas, pineapples and watermelons do have a dubious reputation of causing a spike in blood sugar levels. But a good dose of fruit is important for diabetics from an overall health perspective. Fruits provides essential micronutrients and fibre, which keeps the body healthy. Instead of omitting them completely out of your diet, diabetics should try to include low and medium glycaemic fruits like apples, strawberries and oranges in their diet. One of the best fruits for diabetics is the dragon fruit. Here are some of the other health benefits of dragon fruit.
This exotic-looking fruit belongs to the cactus species and is native to the Americas. It's also quite popular in Asian countries like Thailand where it is known by the name pitaya. Several studies have found that this tart-tasting fruit can be beneficial for diabetics because of its rich nutrient profile. It is so nutritious, some studies also consider using it as a potential diabetes treatment. Animal-based studies have found that the dragon fruit produces an anti-diabetic effect by regenerating pancreatic beta cells and reducing obesity risks. Another study also explored its effect on prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It was noted that high doses of the fruit helped in reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. It also protects against insulin resistance and diet-induced fatty liver problems.Diabetics are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, which can be effectively brought down regular consumption of dragon fruit since it controls oxidative damage and reduce aortic stiffness in diabetic patients.
Dragon fruit is slowly losing its exotic status and can be bought even from your local fruit vendor. Since it's a versatile fruit, diabetics can eat it raw as part of salads. Those who are targeting weight loss can also benefit from its high fibre content by including it in their daily diet.
Omidizadeh, A., Yusof, R. M., Roohinejad, S., Ismail, A., Bakar, M. Z. A., & Bekhit, A. E. D. A. (2014). Anti-diabetic activity of red pitaya (Hylocereus polyrhizus) fruit. RSC Advances, 4(108), 62978-62986.
Poolsup, N., Suksomboon, N., & Paw, N. J. (2017). Effect of dragon fruit on glycemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 12(9), e0184577. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184577
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Song, H., Zheng, Z., Wu, J., Lai, J., Chu, Q., & Zheng, X. (2016). White Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) Juice Attenuates Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis in Diet-Induced Obese Mice. PLoS ONE, 11(2), e0149670. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149670
Anand Swarup, K. R. L., Sattar, M. A., Abdullah, N. A., Abdulla, M. H., Salman, I. M., Rathore, H. A., & Johns, E. J. (2010). Effect of dragon fruit extract on oxidative stress and aortic stiffness in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats. Pharmacognosy Research, 2(1), 31 35. http://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8490.60582