There have been relentless warnings from the scientific community over the continuous increase in diabetes cases. Many people at risk of the condition depend on medical drugs to control their blood glucose, but some dietary sources offer comparable effects. According to one study, the addition of dragon fruit to the diet may significantly reduce blood pressure.
Several studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of dragon fruit in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
In animal studies, the fruit has been found to control diabetes by encouraging the growth of pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
The body needs insulin to take up glucose and convert it to energy, but sometimes the body fails to produce enough or becomes desensitised to it.
To probe the effects of dragon fruit, one meta-analysisB published in PLOS ONE assessed glucose control in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
READ MORE: Diabetes specialist on signs of high blood sugar ‘in its early stages’
Multiple clinical trials were included that compared the effects of dragon fruit with a placebo in people with both conditions.
In pre-diabetic patients, researchers observed that overall reductions in fasting plasma glucose (blood sugar) were significant.
What’s more, the results appeared to suggest that the more dragon fruit a person consumed, the greater the effects are on blood sugar.
Currently, an estimated seven million people in the UK are believed to have pre-diabetes.
The subjects were divided into four groups; the first received 400 grams of red dragon fruit daily, while the second received 600 grams per day.
Group four comprised diabetic patients who received a normal diet and group 4 included healthy patients receiving a normal diet.
The authors observed that the “mean of blood glucose level for group one differed significantly by percent of changes,” at 24.02 percent.
Dragonfruit, which produces white, yellow and pink flesh, contains a wide range of bioactive compounds including lycopene, b-carotene, and betacyanin.
The authors of the Borneo Science study explained that red dragon fruit has a high moisture content and is rich in fibre, phosphorous, vitamin C and calcium.
Writing in the journal of Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, researchers explain: “Many compounds present in [dragon fruit] are responsible for many pharmacological activities such as anti-tumour, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.”
The presence of carotenoids in dragon fruit may help prevent cancer by killing malignant cells in the body, explains the Cleveland Clinic.
Though the diffusion of treatment has boosted the survivability of diabetes, the condition still leads to amputation and death.
Many of the complications related to diabetes stem from poor blood sugar control, but a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can protect the body from life-threatening damage.