Dragon Fruit

The beautifully colored dragon fruit belongs to the American cactus species.  Dragon fruit is a delicious, low-calorie tropical fruit which is available in red, white, pink, and yellow colors. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and useful plant compounds.

Dragon fruit packs loads of nutritional benefits for overall health, and has been shown in some studies to have some promising treatment benefits for people living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. 

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, causing red blood cells to be glycated (stuck with sugar), causing elevated sugar levels in the bloodstream. Lifestyle changes, along with a nutritious meal plan, which includes moderate amounts of fruit, is essential in helping prevent full-blown type 2 diabetes in people living with prediabetes, and reduce and balance blood sugar levels, generally. Fruit of all kinds also helps protect against insulin resistance and fatty liver problems.  Adding the attractive dragon fruit to your meal plan can be a wonderfully tasty addition! 

Keep reading this article to learn all about the nutritional benefits of the delicious dragon fruit and how this beauty of a fruit may even have some specific positive benefits for people living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes! 

Nutritional Information of Dragon Fruit

Here are the major nutrients in 1 cup serving of dragon fruit:

  • Calories: 137
  • Carbs: 30 g
  • Fiber: 7-8 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 8% of the RDI
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI

Glycemic Index of Dragon Fruit

The GI value of dragon fruit is in the range of 48 to 52 similar to a banana. Hence, dragon fruit is considered a medium GI fruit.

People living with diabetes may eat this fruit in moderation due to its medium GI score, taking into consideration its carbohydrate content.  Pairing this fruit with a protein is a good tip to mitigate any blood sugar spikes that could occur. As always, it is best to consult with a Registered Diabetes Nutritionist to create a unique meal plan that can safely include dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit Benefits for Diabetic Patients


Dragon fruit packs a punch in vital vitamins and minerals, while containing few calories. The fruit especially contains a good amount of Vitamin C which ensures proper absorption of nutrients the body needs for optimum metabolism.


Dragon fruit is a rich source of dietary fiber. Fiber is a non-digestible carb that packs several health benefits associated with heart health, digestion, colon cancer and cholesterol. Fiber also works great in maintaining a healthy weight and managing type 2 diabetes. It is advisable to consume 25 g of fiber a day for females and 38 g for men.

Boosts Immunity

Dragon fruit provides useful plant compounds. These are betacyanins, polyphenols, and carotenoids. Your body’s ability to fight infection is determined by several different factors, including the quality of your meals. A high supply of carotenoids in dragon fruit may boost your immune system and prevent infection by protecting your white blood cells. 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,  carotenoids can neutralize free radicals and defend your white blood cells against harm.

Fights Chronic Disorders

Free radicals are unstable molecules responsible for not only attacking your immune system, but also cell damage. This cell damage might cause chronic ailments and inflammation. One approach to fight free radical damage is by consuming antioxidant-rich foods such as dragon fruit. Antioxidants counteract free radicals, preventing inflammation and cell damage. In studies, nutritional plans rich in antioxidants might aid in preventing chronic problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease and arthritis.


Dragon fruit consists of numerous types of effective antioxidants, such as Lycopene and beta-carotene. These are the plant compounds that offer dragon fruit its rich red and pink colors. Meal plans containing these antioxidants relate to a decreased risk of cancer and heart problems. Dragon fruit also boasts a good amount of 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. Finally, betalains have been found in many studies to possibly fight oxidative stress, and may have the capacity to suppress tumor cells.

Healthy Digestive System

The digestive tract is home to over 100 trillion different microbes and bacterial species. Researchers think that this microbial community might affect a person’s overall health. For example, many studies have found a link between imbalances in the gut and medical problems like heart problems or asthma. Dragon fruit has prebiotics, a particular form of fiber, that help support the growth of healthy bacteria in a person’s gut, promoting a healthy gastrointestinal tract. These prebiotics help support the growth of two families of healthy bacteria-bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria. Frequent intake of prebiotics decreases infection risk in a person’s gut and loose stools. One study found that people who had prebiotics prior to and during travel got fewer and less serious incidents of diarrhea.  Other studies propose that prebiotics might ease signs of colon cancer and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

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 g of Magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in more than 600 vital body processes. Some studies have even suggested that a greater consumption of Magnesium may lower the risk of heart problems and stroke. Magnesium has a role in reactions required for breaking down of food into:

  • Production of bones
  • Energy
  • Muscle contraction
  • Production of DNA

Improves Low Iron Levels

Iron helps to transport oxygen throughout a person’s body. Iron is also vital in breaking down food into energy. Many people, unfortunately, fail to receive a satisfactory amount of iron. In fact, it has been found that around 30% of the world’s population is short of iron.  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 great choice, since 1 serving of fruit comprises 8% of the RDI value. Also, since dragon fruit is a rich source of vitamin C, this vitamin can help a person’s body to absorb iron more effectively..

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

Dragon Fruit for Diabetes

Per a recent animal study, it was found that there was a considerable reduction in fasting plasma sugar in prediabetes. Dragon fruit also seemed to show powerful anti-diabetic action by restoring pancreatic beta cells. It also seemed to decrease the resistance of fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21). 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 pigment than the white or yellow varieties. But there is no strong supportive research for this on lowering blood sugar levels. Also, diabetes medications are found to interact favorably with dragon fruit with no side effects. The combination of the two in a diabetes management plan may simultaneously help reduce blood sugar levels. 

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 a dollop of greek yogurt to each and enjoy it as a mid-meal snack.
  • Add fresh dragon fruit to a salad.
  • Prepare smoothies using this fruit, using sugar alternatives, like Stevia.

It is clear from all the above points that people living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes may include fresh (not processed) dragon fruit to their meals plan. Due to its low GI and high nutritious value, it is useful in managing high blood sugars. Dragon fruit also helps to reduce cholesterol, blood glucose stability, as well as promotes kidney and bone function. As always, it is in your best interest to first consult with your healthcare team, or your CopilotIQ nurse, to see if dragon fruit can be safely added to your unique nutrition plan, to avoid any future issues. 

Enjoy some dragon fruit today!

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