Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan can amplify health disorders prevalent in the GCC, 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.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reported that five of the 10 countries where diabetes is most prevalent are located in the GCC, Kuwait is third while Qatar is sixth, Saudi Arabia seventh, Bahrain eighth and the United Arab Emirates tenth. Recent research has found that consumption of kiwifruit can help diabetics control insulin levels and obese patients reduce cholesterol.
Stating the importance of having kiwifruit as a means of balancing nutrients in the body, Ben Hughes, Regional Market Manager for Zespri International Limited, said:
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…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.’
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 eating the fruit during non-fasting hours from sunset to dawn helps to control blood glucose levels and provides a healthy alternative to high fat or high sugar snacks.’
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 protein meal, 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.
Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Zespri is the world’s most successful kiwifruit marketing company, with annual sales revenues of US $1.5 billion. The Zespri brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit.