Dragon fruit belongs to the cactus species, which is native to the Americas. In Asian countries like Thailand, it is commonly known as Pitaya. It is very nutritious and can act as a potential diabetes treatment option. Read this blog to know about “Is Dragon Fruit Good for Diabetes and Also Check top benefits of Dragon fruit”
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, causing an elevated blood glucose level. That’s why it is essential to follow up on a balanced diet plan for diabetics.
A good diet plan helps in balancing the blood glucose level effectively.
Some animal studies conducted showed that dragon fruit produces an anti-diabetic effect by regenerating pancreatic beta cells. High amounts of fruit consumption help in reducing blood glucose levels. It protects against insulin resistance and diet-induced fatty liver problems.
Nutritional Information of Dragon Fruit
Below is a quick rundown of major nutrients in 1 cup serving of dragon fruit:
- Calories: 137
- Carbs: 30 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Magnesium: 17% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 8% of the RDI
- Iron: 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI
In addition to vital nutrients, this fruit provides useful plant compounds. These are betacyanins, polyphenols, and carotenoids.
Also Read: Normal Sugar Level Chart Age Wise
Can a Diabetic Consume Dragon Fruit?
Diabetic patients may consume this fruit due to its low GI score. It is advisable to eat it in sufficient amounts. The GI score is close to the medium GI value. So, it is better to limit the intake of dragon fruit. If a diabetic uses insulin, he or she may analyse the carb consumption with the insulin shot and vice versa.
Dragon Fruit for Diabetes
As per a study, it was found that there was a considerable reduction in the fasting plasma sugar in prediabetic people. These people were taking dragon fruit.
There are different types of dragon fruit, but there is no special dragon fruit for diabetics. It can be said that red dragon fruit is better, because of greater antioxidant activity in the red dragon fruit than the white one. But there is no strong supportive research for this on lowering blood sugar levels.
Dragon fruit is usually a highly nourishing tropical fruit. It packs loads of health benefits for overall health, particularly for prediabetics. In addition to dragon fruit intake, a person needs to add in a healthy lifestyle. If not so, dragon fruit won’t work to prevent diabetes and manage high glucose. Dragon fruit is available in red, white, pink, and yellow colours. And, all the colours of this fruit are good for prediabetics.
Also Read: Glucometer in India
Glycemic Index of Dragon Fruit
The GI value of this fruit is in the range of 48 to 52 similar to a banana. Hence, dragon fruit belongs to a low GI fruit.
Dragon fruit falls under a low GI fruit. And, diabetics may eat it in moderation.
Dragon Fruit Benefits
Some of the benefits of dragon fruit include:
Dragon fruit contains fewer calories and packs vital vitamins and minerals. Dragon fruit packs fibre. The health benefits of fibre are associated with heart health and cholesterol. The soluble fibre present in it aids in removing cholesterol from the intestinal wall by attaching it.
The fruit contains a good amount of Vitamin C. Throughout the firm diet management to accomplish, the nutrient needs for body metabolism becomes difficult. To complete this shortage of nutrients, it is better to take Vitamin C. It ensures proper absorption of all the constituents.
Dragon fruit is an incredible source of antioxidants. The antioxidants work against the free radicals. These free radicals result in oxidative stress in people with diabetes.
Dragon fruit is a low-calorie food. And, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and useful plant compounds.
Dietary fiber is a non-digestible carb that packs several health benefits.
It is advisable to consume 25 g of fiber a day for females and 38 g for men. Just like antioxidants, fiber supplements fail to exert similar benefits as fiber from foods. Dragon fruit contains 7-8 g of fiber in one cup serving.
Fiber plays a key role in digestion, according to research, it plays a key role in managing heart problems. Fiber works great in maintaining a healthy weight and managing type 2 diabetes.
Also, as per studies, diets rich in fibre guard against colon cancer. Yet, it is vital to note that high-fibre meal plans come with drawbacks. That too, particularly if a person is used to a low-fibre diet. It is good to enhance fiber intake and have enough fluids to avoid stomach uneasiness.
Dragon fruit provides around 7 grams of fibre per serving. And, this makes it an outstanding option for meeting one’s daily fibre requirements.
Your body’s ability to fight infection is determined by several different factors, including the quality of your diet. The vitamin C and carotenoids in dragon fruit may boost your immune system and prevent infection by protecting your white blood cells from damage.
The white blood cells in your immune system attack and destroy harmful substances. However, they are extremely sensitive to damage by free radicals. As potent antioxidants, vitamin C and carotenoids can neutralize free radicals and defend your white blood cells against harm.
A high supply of carotenoids and Vitamin C delivers this fruit with strong immune-boosting properties.
Fights Chronic Disorders
Free radicals are unstable molecules responsible for cell damage. These might cause ailments and inflammation. One approach to fight this is consuming antioxidant-rich foods such as dragon fruit.
Antioxidants act by counteracting free radicals. As a result, they prevent inflammation and cell damage. As per the study, diets rich in antioxidants might aid in preventing chronic problems. These are cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Dragon fruit consists of numerous types of effective antioxidants, such as:
- Carotenoids: Lycopene and beta-carotene are plant compounds offering dragon fruit its rich colour. Meal plans containing carotenoids relate to a decreased risk of cancer and heart problems.
- Vitamin C: There is a strong association between Vitamin C consumption and cancer risk. For instance, higher consumption of Vitamin C has been found to be associated with reduced rates of head and neck cancer.
- Betalains: Many studies also indicate betalains might fight oxidative stress. Also, these compounds have the capacity to suppress tumour cells.
Prominently, antioxidants act best when consumed in natural forms via food, instead of supplements or a pill. Actually, antioxidant supplements might exert damaging effects. In addition, consuming these supplements without medical help is not advisable. Instead, it is advisable to have dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit comprises antioxidants such as betalain, Vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene. As per studies, an antioxidant-rich diet has been found to be associated with a decreased risk of chronic problems.
Healthy Digestive System
The digestive tract is home to a few 100 trillion different microbes such as many bacterial species. Researchers think that this microbial community might affect a person’s health. Many studies have found a link between imbalances in the gut and medical problems like heart problems or asthma.
Providing dragon fruit comprises prebiotics, the fruit may likely improve the balance of good bacteria in a person’s gut. Prebiotics are a particular form of fibres. These help to support the growth of healthy bacteria in a person’s gut.
Similar to all fibres, a person’s gut fails to break them down. Yet, the bacteria present in the gut may digest them. They make use of fibre as an energy source for growth. And, a person may reap the benefits.
Above all, dragon fruit majorly supports the growth of 2 families of healthy bacteria. These are bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria. Frequent intake of prebiotics decreases infection risk in a person’s gut and loose stools. This is due to the reason that prebiotics supports the growth of good bacteria.
For instance, a study found that people who had prebiotics prior to and during travel got fewer and less serious incidents of traveller’s diarrhoea. Also, few studies propose that prebiotics might ease signs of colon cancer and IBD.
Dragon fruit may promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which is associated with a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Good Source of Magnesium
Dragon fruit provides a greater amount of magnesium than many fruits. Dragon fruit contains 18% magnesium of the RDI in one cup. Normally, a person’s body comprises 24 to 28 grams of magnesium.
In spite of this apparently small quantity, magnesium is present in body cells. Magnesium plays a key role in more than 600 vital body processes. For instance, magnesium has a role in reactions required for breaking down of food into:
- production of bones
- muscle contraction
- production of DNA.
Much more studies are required, however, a few show that greater ingestion of magnesium might lower the risk of heart problems and stroke. It is also found that diets satisfactory in magnesium content promote the health of bones.
Dragon fruit contains a rich amount of magnesium. It is a mineral required for more than 600 biochemical reactions occurring in a person’s body.
Improves Low Iron Levels
Dragon fruit is among iron-containing fresh fruits. Iron helps to transport oxygen throughout a person’s body. Also, iron is vital for breaking down food into energy.
Unluckily, a lot of people fail to receive a satisfactory amount of iron. In actual fact, it has been found that around 30% of the world’s population is short of iron. And, this makes the iron deficiency problem a common nutrient shortage universally.
To fight the low levels of iron, it is good to have a diversity of iron-rich foods. Rich iron sources are nuts, seeds, meats, legumes, fish, and cereals. Dragon fruit might be another better alternative. As 1 serving of fruit comprises 8% of the RDI value. Also, dragon fruit comprises vitamin C, which aids a person’s body to absorb iron.
Dragon fruit provides iron in combination with vitamin C. This combo might improve a person’s body’s absorption of this vital mineral.
So, this is a quick answer to “Is dragon fruit good for health?”
Ways of Adding Dragon Fruit into One’s Diet
- Scoop the dragon fruit out using a spoon or divide it into two portions. After that, add some honey to it and enjoy it as a mid-meal treat.
- Add dragon fruit as a salad.
- Prepare smoothies using this fruit. Avoid including any sugar ingredient.
- Add this fruit as a snack, in combination with some yoghurt.
Health-Associated Problems Because of Dragon Fruit
People must always eat fresh dragon fruit. As, when a person drinks jam or processed juice, or any packaged product, it may contain extra sugar or preservative. In addition, it might be best if a person first consults a doctor regarding any food he or she wishes to include in the diet. It is essential to prevent any medical problems in the future.
It is clear from all the above points that diabetic patients may include dragon fruit (fresh) to their meals. Due to its low GI and high nutritious value, it is useful in managing high blood sugars. However, it is better to consult a doctor or dietitian and then enjoy its nutrition.
Is there any interaction of dragon fruit with medicines?
Diabetes medications are found to interact with dragon fruit. The fruit may reduce the levels of blood glucose. Also, diabetes drugs are helpful for reducing blood glucose. Consuming dragon fruit with anti-diabetic drugs may increase or decrease the glucose levels.
Is dragon fruit effective for kidneys?
Dragon fruit helps to reduce cholesterol, blood glucose stability, as well as promotes kidney and bone function.
Which type of dragon fruit is good for diabetics?
Particularly, red flesh dragon fruit is observed to contain higher antioxidants in comparison to the white ones.
What is the mode of action of dragon fruit in diabetes?
This fruit exerts powerful anti-diabetic action. It does so by restoring pancreatic beta cells. It also decreases the resistance of fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21).
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.