Can People With Diabetes Eat Bananas?

01 Feb 2020

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If you conduct a poll for finding out the most popular fruit in the world, bananas will probably top the list. This easy-to-carry-around fruit is an instant energy booster with numerous nutritional benefits. However, bananas’ natural sweetness and impact on blood sugar may be a concern for those with diabetes. However, if you have high blood sugar, you can easily have this yellow fruit. We tell you its benefits:

Role of Bananas in Controlling Diabetes

  • Fiber in Banana For Healthy Range Blood Sugar

According to a study, a medium-sized banana contains 3.1 grams of dietary fiber, which is highly beneficial for people with diabetes [1]. It slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, keeping your blood sugar levels in a healthy range [2].

  • Bananas Are Rich in Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays a strong role in the prevention of diabetes-related complications, such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to uncontrolled diabetes  [4], gestational diabetes [5], and impaired glucose tolerance caused by birth control pills [6].

  • Resistant Starch Can Prevent Insulin Sensitivity

Green and unripe bananas contain sufficient amounts of resistant starch (a form of starch that doesn’t break down in the small intestine but reaches the large intestine). According to a study, resistant starch can help improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes [7].

Including Bananas in Daily Diet Of Diabetics

Bananas have low glycemic index  (a scale that measures how fast your body converts the carbs into glucose), however, the exact value can vary depending upon various factors such as ripeness, preparation, and portion size.

  • Try Having Unripe Bananas

Ripeness is an important factor when it comes to finding the sugar level in your banana. Always have unripe or ripe bananas, not the over-ripe ones. This is because the main source of carbs in these bananas comes from starch and as it ripens, the starch gets converted into free sugars [8]. Fully ripe bananas have a relatively high glycemic index and may contribute towards raising your blood sugar levels.

  • Check Portion Size

Always lookout for the portion size, it is better to consume a small banana. The larger the banana, the more carbs you will consume, leading to a greater rise in your blood sugar levels.

  • Consume With Protein and Healthy Fats

Eat bananas with unsaturated fats and protein sources such as nuts or Greek yogurt [9]. This helps slow down the digestion process and regulate blood sugar levels.

  • Spread Your Fruit Intake

If you are planning to eat two or three bananas a day, spread your fruit intake – instead of having them all at once. This helps reduce the glycemic load and stabilize the sugar levels.

  • Pair Bananas With Cinnamon

According to a study, adding cinnamon to the diet can lower the blood sugar level [10]. Therefore make sure to sprinkle some cinnamon in your banana smoothies or desserts.

Banana Forms to Avoid

Avoid having packaged banana fruit juices and milkshakes; tinned bananas and dried banana chips. All these may contain added sugars, salts or syrups for flavor enhancement which can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. It is better to stick with whole, raw bananas as they are more healthy.

How Many Bananas a Day?

This number depends on the individual, his or her activity level, and how bananas change the blood sugar levels. One to three bananas per day is considered to be an ideal intake for a healthy individual.

Bananas are a safe and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes as long as the consumption is in moderation. To avoid any confusion, speak to your doctor or dietician about the quantity of consumption.

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Comments

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