You don’t need a great deal of knowledge about biochemistry, medicine, or chronic diseases to know that diabetes equals a restrictive diet.
Also, you probably understand that there is a strong connection between the foods you eat and your blood sugar levels.
This is, unfortunately, true.
No, you can’t eat whatever you want. Nor can you eat a ton of delicious treats too.
Sweets, logically, are the worse.
You don’t need a scientific explanation for this.
Your body cannot manage sugar properly.
So, it simply doesn’t make any sense to add sugar on top of (blood) sugar.
That’s the road you don’t want to walk down when you have diabetes.
If you do, chances are you will not return.
Nowadays, people are mostly aware that sweets are not the only problem.
All carbs are off the menu.
Food does not have to taste sweet to contain carbs.
Bread, rice, and potatoes, for example, are loaded with carbs.
But, what about fruits?
Fruits have a special place in the story about diabetes.
You’ve probably lived all your life thinking that fruits are healthy.
Maybe the healthiest part of any diet.
They are mostly low in calories, full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
They taste good too.
Everything about fruits is just perfect.
Well, from a diabetic’s point of view, the answer to this question is no.
Fruits are sweet.
They are sweet because of the high sugar content.
Diabetics can’t handle sugar.
End of story. No fruits.
It’s even depressing a bit.
But, don’t get yourself down.
We have some good news.
There are fruits that you can enjoy even with diabetes.
Wait, it gets even better!
There is a fruit that can potentially help you with diabetes.
A fruit that can have a positive effect on your overall health.
So, it seems that you can have your cake and eat it too!
This is just a figure of speech.
Still no cake for you!
However, you can find out everything you need to know about this “magical” fruit called rambutan if you continue reading this article.
What is Rambutan?
Rambutan is a weird-looking fruit, even for tropical standards.
You might think of sea urchins, the first time you lay your eyes on this peculiar produce.
The resemblance is undeniable.
However, instead of living at the bottom of the sea, rambutan grows on trees.
These trees are widely spread across the tropical parts of Asia.
In Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc., rambutan is a well-known species.
Once you peel off the skin, you will see that rambutan looks a lot like lychee.
It tastes good too.
The flavor is often described as grape-like.
Rambutan is very rich in antioxidants and important nutrients.
It is also a good source of dietary fiber, low in sugar (2 grams per average fruit), and low in calories.
Therefore, a good choice if you are looking to lose a few pounds.
Rambutan is a very good natural source of copper.
Other nutrients found in this fruit, include:
- Vitamin C
Recent studies about this fruit have shown that it contains some possibly useful phenolic compounds.
These phenolic compounds are attributed with antioxidative and antiglycation potential.
In simple words, this means that some components of rambutan could help to reduce the negative effects of aging and diabetes.
However, higher concentrations of these phenolic compounds are located in the skin and the seed of rambutan.
These two parts of rambutan are consumed by some but are generally considered to be inedible.
Whatever the case may be, rambutan is a promising prospect for any future scientific research about nutrition and diabetes.
Let’s explain why…
How Does Rambutan Affect Diabetes
As a diabetic, you will not experience any negative effects if you eat rambutan.
This is something we can say for sure.
As far as the benefits go, there were no systematic human studies yet to test the potential of rambutan in fighting diabetes.
However, the studies conducted on animals produced very positive and encouraging results.
The most promising findings involve the use of phenolic extract found either in the peel or in the seed of the fruit.
In one such study, performed on mice with type 2 diabetes, scientists used rambutan peel phenolic extract (RPE).
The mice were injected with RPP to observe its anti-diabetic activity.
Throughout the study, the mice were kept on a high-fat diet (such as keto), resembling the one typically recommended to diabetics.
Although it resulted in a slight weight gain, the study also produced a reduction in blood sugar, creatinine, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels.
The follow up showed that there was no damage to the liver, pancreas, or the kidneys.
The study concluded that rambutan peel extract (RPP) can successfully reduce blood sugar levels.
Another control group study was performed in 2013 in Indonesia.
The study researched the effects of rambutan seed infusion on blood glucose levels in diabetic mice (type 2 diabetes).
Scientists used several groups of mice.
Some groups were given a placebo, while others received either rambutan seed infusion or Glibenclamide, a medication commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes.
This study lasted 16 days.
The results showed that the mice treated with rambutan seed infusion were in almost the same condition as the mice treated with Glibenclamide.
Their blood sugar levels were low and even a slight weight loss was recorded.
The scientists also looked for signs of damage on the pancreas.
The findings were negative.
This study concluded that the effects of rambutan seed infusion treatment are not much different from the ones which include common anti-diabetic medications such as Glibenclamide.
These two studies are a good example of the potential that rambutan has in diabetes therapy.
Whether you consume it raw in its natural state, or you get to use it in another form in the future, rambutan looks bound to bring you its benefits in the fight against diabetes.
Other Health Benefits of Rambutan
Rambutan also has other health benefits.
These can improve the overall condition of healthy individuals as well as those suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
Let’s mention a few:
When you consume rambutan, around one half of the fruit passes through your digestive tract undigested.
It might sound bad but in reality, it is very good.
The reason for this is the dietary fiber found in rambutan.
The fiber helps you to form a bulkier stool and speeds up its excretion from the system.
This reduces the risk of constipation which is a common long-term complication of diabetes.
Other components of rambutan have a positive effect on the gastrointestinal flora, the “good bacteria” that live in our gut.
2.) Weight Loss
The fiber to calorie ratio is very good in rambutan.
That means that when you eat this fruit you get a lot of fiber in fewer calories.
The result is the feeling of fullness that can stop overeating.
When this feeling of fullness translates into reduced appetite, it will, over time, inevitably lead to weight loss.
This is great news especially for people suffering from type 2 diabetes as they very often struggle with weight.
3.) Heart Health
Some early studies, performed on diabetic mice, show that extracts made from parts of this fruit can cause a significant reduction of cholesterol.
It is well-known that the drop in cholesterol levels is highly beneficial for cardiovascular health.
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The Final Word
Rambutan is a fruit whose delicious flavor you can enjoy even with diabetes.
This, of course, does not mean that you should eat it in abnormal quantities.
Still, it is great news.
It gets even better when you know that certain components of rambutan fruit can have a positive effect on your health.
The relationship between rambutan and diabetes is certainly a candidate for future scientific research, and some promising ones too.
- Ma Q, Guo Y, Sun L, Zhuang Y. Anti-Diabetic Effects of Phenolic Extract from Rambutan Peels (Nephelium lappaceum) in High-Fat Diet and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mice. Nutrients. 2017 Jul 26;9(8):801. doi: 10.3390/nu9080801. PubMed PMID: 28933738; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5579595.
- LESTARI RAHAYU* , LATIF ZAKIR, SESILIA ANDRIANI KEBAN The Effect of Rambutan Seed (Nephelium lappaceum L.) Infusion on Blood Glucose and Pancreas Histology of Mice Induced with Alloxan. JURNAL ILMU KEFARMASIAN INDONESIA, April 2013, hlm. 28-35 Vol. 11, No. 1 ISSN 1693-1831.
- Is Inayati Rachmat, Euis Reni Yusilanti, Githa F. Permatasari and Teja Koswara, 2017. Antihyperglycemic Effect of Rambutan Honey in alloxan-induced Diabetic Wistar Rats. Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 12: 42-49. DOI:10.3923/jpt.2017.42.49
- Kim Y, Keogh JB, Clifton PM. Polyphenols and Glycemic Control. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 5;8(1):17. doi: 10.3390/nu8010017. PubMed PMID: 26742071; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4728631.
- Aryaeian N, Sedehi SK, Arablou T. Polyphenols and their effects on diabetes management: A review. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017 Dec 26;31:134. doi: 10.14196/mjiri.31.134. PubMed PMID: 29951434; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6014790.