Kiwifruit consumption aids fasting patients
Dubai, July 7, 2013: Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan can amplify health disorders prevalent in the UAE, such as diabetes and obesity, because of the extreme alteration in eating habits. However, Kiwifruit consumption – which is rich in antioxidants, potassium, fiber and fructose - can balance changes in patients' conditions, allowing for a healthier observance.
With the UAE having the second highest rate of diabetes incidence in the world*and an alarming increase in obesity numbers, recent research has found that consumption of kiwifruit can help diabetics control insulin levels and obese patients reduce cholesterol.
“To those who observe fasting during the holy month, we recommend eating one kiwifruit during iftar and one more during suhour, preferably just before beginning to fast again upon sunrise,” said Ben Hughes, Regional Market Manager for Zespri International Limited, stating the importance of having kiwifruit as a means of balancing nutrients in the body. “Consuming two kiwifruits within a 24-hour period can help fill the body with a number of key nutrients essential for those having to deal with diabetes and obesity.”
More than 18 per cent of the UAE population suffer from diabetes* and around 39.9 per cent of UAE women are obese, the seventh highest proportion in the world. Among UAE men, 25.6 per cent were classified as obese, the ninth highest figure worldwide**. Studies show that during Ramadan, many of the borderline cases can easily be pushed over the line.
“The presence of inositol in kiwifruit makes it good for diabetics whose insulin levels fall low because of fasting. Inositol can enhance the sensitivity of insulin in the human body and eatingthe fruit during non-fasting hoursfrom sunset to dawn helps to control blood glucose levels and provides a healthy alternative to high fat or high sugar snacks,” explained Hughes.
It is important for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels, food that has a low glycaemic index (GI) helps diabetics to do this because it is low in simple sugars like sucrose. Due to the high fiber and fructose found in kiwifruit, the glycaemic index (GI) is extremely low (53), which enables diabetics to enjoy a sweet piece of kiwifruit without worrying about the impact on their blood sugar levels.
The high concentration of dietary fibre also slows down sugar absorption in the gut and stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, contributing to weight management. Actinidin, an enzyme found in kiwifruit, also aids in the digestion of high protein foods such as meat, dairy products and, legumes. This is especially helpful for people who have been fasting and then eat a high proteinmeal, having a piece of kiwifruit as part of the meal will improve their digestion of the food ensuring they get the most nutrition from their meal and reducing any discomfort that may come from eating on an empty stomach.
New Zealand kiwifruit has been in the Middle East market for over 20 years and is widely available across the GCC region. Apart from the green kiwifruit variety, the Zespri has introduced a gold kiwifruit variety which has a sweeter taste has proven very popular among consumers.