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Is Dragon Fruit Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Benefits, and More
Diabetes

Is Dragon Fruit Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Benefits, and More

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 17
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6 min

Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit known for its white pulp and black seeds. It is thought to have some benefits for those with diabetes, so we have looked at how it could help. Check out our guide to dragon fruit as a method of diabetes management now.

Is dragon fruit good for diabetes

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Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit native to Central America. It is recognizable for its pink scaly skin, white pulp, and black seeds. There are many kinds of dragon fruit, but the most common is red dragon fruit.

The fruit has many health benefits and has been used for centuries to treat hypertension, but is dragon fruit good for diabetes?

In this article, we’ll look at dragon fruit, its nutritional value, and glycemic index, and we’ll answer the question: is dragon fruit good for diabetes? Take a look now to find out more.

Is Dragon Fruit Good for Diabetes?

Dragon fruit has been shown to have some benefits for those with diabetes. It has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in mice in several studies and may promote beneficial bacteria which could improve metabolic health.

Other evidence suggests that dragon fruit can help the body’s response to a rise in blood glucose levels, though these studies showed inconsistencies in liver enzyme markers.

Many of the health benefits of dragon fruit come from its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants may be able to protect the body from degenerative and chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Dragon fruit contains flavonoids, which can protect the body against heart disease. Heart conditions are more common in those with diabetes, so eating more dragon fruit may protect you against this.

You can also boost your heart health by consuming more healthy fats and increasing your activity level by taking up running or trying something new, like rowing for weight loss.

Dragon fruit also has a relatively low glycemic index, meaning that when it is consumed, it will not cause a spike in blood sugar. This means it can be consumed safely by those with diabetes.

Can People With Diabetes Eat Dragon Fruit Daily?

Dragon fruit has a relatively low carb content and glycemic load, which makes it safe to consume for those with diabetes. As with any food, it should not be consumed excessively, but it should not cause a blood sugar spike in people with diabetes.

Though dragon fruit has many benefits for people with diabetes, it cannot be relied upon to manage diabetes on its own. To properly manage diabetes, you must alter your diet, consume a low-carb diet, and increase your exercise level.

You may also be advised to lose weight, which you can do using dieting methods like intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is thought to be a good way to manage blood sugar levels. You could try the 12-hour fast to begin with before trying more challenging styles like the 5:2 method.

Always speak with a health professional about a new kind of diet when you have diabetes. They can help you understand any risks.

What Is Dragon Fruit?

Dragon fruit is a fruit native to Central America that grows on a cactus known as the Honolulu Queen. It is known for its distinctive white pulp and black seeds, but there are other varieties besides red flesh dragon fruit. 

Red dragon fruit has red skin that resembles scales. It usually has white pulp, but another kind of red flesh dragon fruit has red pulp and black seeds. You can also find dragon fruit with yellow flesh. This is called yellow dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit is said to resemble something between a kiwi and a pear when it comes to flavor and is now widely available worldwide. It has been used to treat hypertension and is now also known as a fruit good for diabetes.

Like many fruits, dragon fruit contains fiber which can help you keep fuller for longer. This makes it useful for weight management and can help you eat at a calorie deficit. Eating at a calorie deficit means burning more calories than you consume. You can burn more calories each day by exercising more and eating less.

Dragon fruit should not cause a spike in blood sugar as its carb content is quite low and is classified as a low glycemic index food.

Dragon Fruit Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of dragon fruit per 100g is as follows:

EnergyProteinFat
57kcal1.1g0.3g
CarbohydratesFiberSugars
8g3g8g

Dragon fruit also contains nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, and sodium. It has high levels of vitamin C, with 20mg per 100g, making it a healthy choice for those trying to increase their vitamin C consumption.

The RDA for vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men, so dragon fruit can help you to get the vitamin C you need daily. It also has high levels of magnesium. Dragon fruit can actually provide 18% of your RDA.

Glycemic Index of Dragon Fruit

The glycemic index of dragon fruit is between 48 and 52. This means it is classified as a low glycemic index food. 

Glycemic index, or glycemic load, refers to the rate at which the food is broken down and then absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods with more simple sugars are broken down quickly and result in a blood sugar spike.

People with diabetes are usually recommended lower GI foods, making dragon fruit a good option.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit for Diabetes

Dragon fruit can be eaten in a few ways. It can be eaten on its own, scooped out, and chopped into chunks. It could also be paired with Greek yogurt, though you should make sure to find one with a low sugar content!

Dragon fruit can also be added to a salad. You should pair it with other low-carb fruits and veggies to ensure you stick to a low-carb diet.

You can eat this fruit at any time of the day. Add it to your oatmeal for breakfast or eat as a snack in the afternoon or in the evening.

6 Dragon Fruit Benefits for Diabetes

Dragon fruit has many benefits for those with diabetes and may aid in blood sugar management. Below, we have summarized some of the benefits of dragon fruit.

#1 Has anti-inflammatory benefits

Dragon fruit is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation has been linked to many chronic illnesses, and chronic inflammation can actually increase your risk of developing diabetes.

In addition, inflammation may cause complications in those with diabetes, so consuming anti-inflammatory foods like dragon fruit may help reduce the risk of complications.

#2 Helps digestion and boosts metabolism

Dragon fruit contains prebiotic fiber, so consuming dragon fruit may help balance gut bacteria and improve digestion. Dragon fruit may also promote the growth of healthy bacteria, which can enhance the health of the digestive system.

In addition, dragon fruit is thought to improve metabolic health and boost metabolism. A boost in your metabolism can help you burn more calories each day, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. 

#3 Lowers cholesterol

The antioxidant called betalain in dragon fruit helps keep cholesterol levels in check and protects against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Keeping cholesterol levels low can help keep your heart healthy. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing many heart conditions, and high levels of cholesterol can increase this further. Eating dragon fruit could help keep your heart healthy.

#4 Beneficial for the nervous system

Dragon fruit is rich in many B vitamins. These vitamins play an important role in the body’s nervous system. High blood sugar is known to damage nerves and can become a problem for those with diabetes. Eating dragon fruit encourages healthy nerves.

#5 Rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are great for the body. They protect against free radical damage and oxidative stress and may even help protect the body against chronic illnesses and aging. Dragon fruit is loaded with antioxidants that play different roles in the body.

#6 Improves low iron levels

Not many fruits contain iron, but dragon fruit does. Iron is an essential mineral in the body and plays a role in the oxygenation of cells. Iron deficiency anemia is actually very prevalent in people with diabetes. Consumption of dragon fruit could help you get your recommended daily mineral allowance.

FAQs

Is dragon fruit high in sugar?

Dragon fruit has around 8g of sugar per 100g. This makes it relatively low in sugar compared to other fruit. For this reason, it is also a low GI fruit good for diabetes.

Can dragon fruit cure diabetes?

Nothing can cure diabetes per se, but many dietary changes help manage it. As such, dragon fruit may help those with diabetes better control their condition.

Are there any disadvantages of eating dragon fruit?

Generally, dragon fruit is considered a safe fruit for consumption. There have been some instances of allergic reactions to the fruit, but these are rare.

A Word From Our MD

Dragon fruit is an exotic fruit with a low GI and many benefits for those with diabetes. It positively impacts people with diabetes and may help them better manage their condition. As with many “remedies” for diabetes, eating more dragon fruit cannot be the only step you take toward treating your condition.

People with diabetes generally benefit from consuming a low-carb diet. There are many low-carb diets to try, including the Atkins diet and the keto diet. The keto diet may even be considered a diabetes-friendly diet.

These diets tend to help you lose weight, and losing weight is also suggested for those with a new diabetes diagnosis. Losing just 5% of your body weight may help you have better control over your condition.

You can lose weight by eating at a caloric deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than you burn each day. There are a number of ways to burn more calories each day, too, including exercising more.

You could try intermittent fasting to induce a natural caloric deficit. This time-restricted form of eating allows you to eat what you want but restricts when you eat. There are many methods, including the 14:10 method and the 16:8 method. When it comes to exercise, you could try long-distance running, rowing, cycling, or even walking each day.

Though the consumption of dragon fruit shows some benefits for those with diabetes, it shouldn’t be used on its own. Instead, try incorporating it into new dietary changes and see how their benefit increases.

Conclusion

Dragon fruit has been shown to have benefits for those with diabetes. It can help to boost overall health and aid diabetes management. With a low GI, it is safe for consumption as part of a diabetes diet.

Though dragon fruit is good for diabetes, it should not be used as the only method of management of the condition.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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