Banana for Diabetes – Does It Help or Harm?
Bananas are curved and elongated fruits and the soft flesh of this fruit is rich in starch. The fruit is popular for its fibre and is an amazing fruit that will improve any dish.
This fruit is considered to be the most potent and one of the healthiest. An average banana has about 30 grams of carbohydrates, and most of these carbs are from sugars. Therefore, the larger the bananas, the more sugars it has. When you are suffering from diabetes, it is important to keep the blood sugar levels very stable. When there is a good blood sugar control, the progression of main medical complications of diabetes can be prevented or slowed. For this reason, minimising and avoiding foods that might cause big blood sugar spikes is necessary.
When the blood sugar rises in people without diabetes, the body will produce insulin, and this will help the body move the sugar out of the blood and store it into the cells. However, this process does not work for people with diabetes.
Are Bananas Safe for Diabetic Patients?
A banana is a food of medium glycemic index. Like other sweet foods, it does not cause blood sugar spikes. Therefore, the trick is to consume bananas along with foods of low glycemic index or foods that contain very little or no carbohydrates. Such foods are nuts, non-starchy vegetables, beans, eggs, fish, and meat. For instance, you could have a salad of bananas mixed with apples, cherries, and grapefruits since they have a low glycemic index. With each meal, you could also include fat and protein as these are good at keeping the blood glucose levels in control.
Serving sizes should also be considered. It is better to limit the portion sizes though they have a low glycemic index. Also, after two hours of eating the fruit, you could test your blood sugar. This will help you figure out the serving size that fits you.
A study has found that regular consumption or 250 grams per day of bananas is harmless for people with diabetes. It is important for them to have fruits that have low fructose levels in them and banana is one of them.
What Are the Advantages of Banana for Diabetes?
Can a sugar patient eat banana? In many ways, bananas can be very good at managing diabetes. Here are some benefits of banana for diabetes.
One of the reasons that bananas can be great for your diabetes is the fact that it contains fibre. An American study stated that you could slow down digestion and absorption of carbohydrate by the intake of fibre, and thereby improving your diabetic conditions.
Another study further stressed on the importance of dietary fibre for diabetic people. According to the study, the consumption of dietary fibre modulates the secretion of certain stomach hormones and improves insulin sensitivity.
It is also found that diets with low glycemic index are good for type-2 diabetic people.
2. Vitamin B6
Bananas are also rich in the vitamin B6 which is beneficial. Diabetic neuropathy was found to be linked with the deficiency of vitamin B6. It is a condition related to the nervous system that occurs due to the high blood sugar levels.
According to a study, people with diabetes should intake vitamin B6 because the disease might cause a deficiency of the vitamin. A Mexican study states that Vitamin B6 deficiency can negatively affect diabetic progression. Vitamin B6 can also help to prevent diabetes in depression.
3. The Resistant Starch
Bananas contain good amounts of resistant starch. This is true specifically for the green ones. Resistant starch is starch that is passed onto the large intestine as it cannot be broken down in the small intestine. According to a study, resistant starch can help individuals with type-2 diabetes by improving their glycemic status. Therefore, while eating bananas type 2 diabetes is improved.
Another study found out that resistant starch helps in improving insulin sensitivity. The blood sugar spikes due to meal consumption are managed and are particularly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
According to another study, resistant starch can treat chronic illness like diabetes. Higher levels of resistant starch are found in the unripe bananas and hence, including unripe bananas to the diet will have maximum benefits.
Another study states that foods having lower glycemic index have a high content of resistant starch and fibre, and both of these are beneficial for diabetes. Consumption of bananas and other such whole fruits are good at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Consuming whole fruits lowers the risk of diabetes by 7%. But in the case of fruit juices, consumption might increase the risk by 21%.
Ways to Incorporate Bananas in Your Diet
- You can always to choose to consume a ripe or an under-ripe banana, but it is better not to choose a banana that is over-ripe. Yellow or ripe bananas have less resistant starch when compared to the green bananas and it also has more sugar, this is quickly absorbed by starch. This means that ripe bananas will cause blood sugar to rise faster than unripe bananas.
- You could make a nutritious breakfast by adding sliced bananas to a bowl of nuts and oatmeal.
- Look out for the portion size because they matter. You can consume a smaller banana. This way you will be able to reduce the amount of sugar you intake in a single sitting.
- Consume it with other foods. You can have them mixed with full-fat yoghurt or nuts, but this slows down the process of digestion and sugar absorption.
- You can have a little bit of it many times during the day. You will be able to spread the glycemic load and be able to stabilise the blood sugar levels.
- Cinnamon helps to regulate the insulin response and is rich in antioxidants. It will keep your blood sugar levels stable. Therefore, if you want to have dessert, you can sprinkle some cinnamon on sliced bananas.
- If you happen to eat banana along with a sugary dessert, then try to compensate it by reducing the intake of carbs during dinner. You could also try banana ice cream. You will need 4 ripe bananas. Cut it into chunks. You will also need 3-4 tbsp of milk, 2 tbsp of ready-made chocolate sauce, and 2 tbsp of toasted almonds. Simply place the chunks on the flat surface of the tray and cover it properly. Freeze the tray for an hour. Add the milk and the frozen banana to the food processor and process it until you get a creamy mixture. Place scoops in bowls and garnish it with sauce and almonds.
Risks and Considerations
To control your diabetes, if you are strictly following a low-carb diet, then it is best to completely avoid bananas. Otherwise, to your diabetic diet, it is always a healthy addition. However, it is better to consult the doctor before planning on changing your diet.
Bananas are harmless for diabetic people and might even supplement your treatment. Therefore, include this fruit in your diet and live healthily. In addition, it is better to have whole bananas instead of consuming bananas in smoothies and juices.
1. How Many Bananas Should a Diabetic Patient Have Per Day?
The quantity of consumption depends on the individual, their activity level, and how the fruit affects their levels of blood sugar.
There is no particular number of bananas that can be eaten, but many people enjoy at least one banana per day.
2. Does Eating Smaller-sized Bananas Help in Diabetes?
Yes. A person choosing smaller bananas will eat fewer carbs. For instance, a banana that is 6-7 inches long will have only 23 g of carbohydrates per serving, but an extra-large one would have 35 g of carbohydrates.
Bananas are a very safe and healthy food that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes as long as the intake is in moderate levels. A diabetic person is encouraged to include fresh food options like these fruits and vegetables in their diets. Moreover, eating a banana provides the person with nutrition, and it has low calories. Based on how much sugar in a banana diabetes and blood sugar levels will increase and decrease. Therefore, monitor your blood sugar levels according to the bananas you eat and speak to your dietitian or doctor about the quantity of consumption.