Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients – researchers have investigated if dragon fruit is good for diabetics.
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are diagnosed using blood sugar levels. A fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures blood sugar levels after approximately eight hours without eating. The two hours post-prandial glucose (2HPP) test measures blood sugar levels two hours after ingestion of a standardized glucose sample. The results of these tests are measured against a standard to determine diagnosis and next steps in the treatment plan.
Prediabetes is a precursor of type 2 diabetes. A person with prediabetes has high blood sugar levels but does not meet the threshold for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Management of these medical conditions includes a healthy diet, physical activity, weight management, medications, and natural health products.
What is dragon fruit good for?
Dragon fruit is high in phytonutrients – high in betacyanin, vitamin C, and lycopene.1 Researchers have increasingly begun to study dragon fruit for its anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-diabetic abilities.
In particular, the red flesh dragon fruit has been found to have higher antioxidants than the white flesh dragon fruit.
Is dragon fruit good for diabetics?
A study published in PLoS,2 reviewed published research to assess the possible role of dragon fruit in diabetes – particularly prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Data from four randomized controlled clinical trials were analyzed. All four trials had a control group, and the outcomes measured were the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and two-hour post-prandial glucose (2HPP) levels. Patients with other diseases were excluded from the review.
The study reported that in the dragon fruit group, there was a significant decrease in fasting plasma glucose in prediabetic patients. For patients with type 2 diabetes, there was still an overall reduction,but it was not statistically significant. So far in studies of dragon fruit in diabetic patients the results are inconclusive. Although dragon fruit has shown potential benefit in rat studies, more clinical trials are needed to better understand whether dragon fruit can be used in the management of diabetes.
The sample sizes of the trials included in this analysis were small, the length of treatment in each trial was short and long-term safety was not measured.
- Joshi M, Prabhakar B. Phytoconstituents and pharmaco-therapeutic benefits of pitaya: A wonder fruit. J Food Biochem. 2020 Jul;44(7):e13260. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13260. Epub 2020 May 7. PMID: 32378233.
2. Poolsup N, Suksomboon N, Paw NJ. Effect of dragon fruit on glycemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184577
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