Dragon fruit (also called pitaya) is a brightly coloured, beautiful fuit that grows on cacti. Rich in antioxidants, dragon fruit contains vitamin C, essential fatty acids (found in the seeds), and B vitamins. Lycopene, responsible for the deep pink color in dragon fruit, has been linked with lower prostate cancer risk.
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Recent studies in individuals with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes suggest that dragon fruit may also have anti-diabetic properties, aiding in the reduction of blood sugar. About 22% of the Canadian population has prediabetes (higher than normal blood sugar). Prediabetes is an indication that you may develop diabetes, especially if you don't change your eating habits and lifestyle. If you have a diagnosis of prediabetes, it is important to work wtih a medical professional and a registered dietition to make a meal plan and lifestyle plan that you can stick to. It's also important to exercise, because the more you exercise, the more glucose your body uses (which can help lower your blood sugar levels). Book an appointment at a Medisys Preventive Health clinic hear you to discuss.
In a study involving 36 prediabetes subjects as well as 109 type 2 diabetes patients, it was found that the prediabetic subjects who consumed dragon fruit experienced a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose (blood sugar) relative to a non dragon fruit eating control group. In these prediabetic subjects, greater blood glucose reduction was observed with higher doses of dragon fruit. No relationship, however, was found in subjects who had type 2 diabetes, suggesting that the potential anti-diabetic properties of dragon fruit are not effective in individuals who are already diabetic. While the current data is limited and inconclusive, these initial findings are interesting. Looking for more ways to include dragon fruit in your diet? Try this dragon fruit smoothie bowl.
- The meat of 1 dragon fruit
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 banana
- 28 grams of raw unsalted nuts (chopped)
- 1/2 cup milk (dairy, almond, coconut milk)
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1-2 dates
- 3 tbsp. chia seeds
- Red or black currents
- Blend all ingredients together other than the nuts and chia seeds
- Stir chia seeds into blended mixture and let sit in the fridge for 2 hours
- Serve in hallowed out dragon fruit (optional)
- Top with chopped nuts and currents
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