Bananas: Safe for Diabetic Patients to Consume?
The banana is a fruit that is lauded for its many health benefits, including protection against oxidative stress and chronic disease as a result of its high fiber and antioxidant content. Additionally, the banana is a delectable food that is simple to digest and offers a great deal of versatility and flavor.
Bananas are an excellent choice for most people because of their sweet flavor and soft texture.
This makes them an excellent choice for babies and older adults who may have difficulty chewing and swallowing tougher foods. They are also an excellent choice for athletes and other active people who require a quick source of energy while they are on the go.
However, is it safe for those who have diabetes to consume bananas? Continue reading to find out more. In addition, we will discuss the impact that bananas have on a person’s blood sugar levels as well as the advantages of eating bananas for diabetics.
What Influence Bananas Have on Your Blood Sugar Levels
Those who suffer from diabetes need to exercise caution while consuming meals high in carbohydrates.
This is due to the fact that carbohydrates increase your blood sugar more than any other food, which means that the kind of carbohydrates you consume may have a big influence on how well you regulate your blood sugar.
On top of that, meals that are heavy in carbohydrates often have a higher score on the glycemic index, which is a scale with 100 points that determines how quickly a particular item raises blood sugar levels.
When an individual does not have diabetes, their pancreas will secrete insulin into the circulation in response to a surge in blood sugar levels. The sugar is subsequently moved out of the circulation and into the cells, where it is either used for energy production or stored for later use by insulin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have diabetes either do not make enough insulin for their bodies to move sugar out of their blood or their systems are unable to utilize insulin as effectively as they should.
Since bananas contain sugar, eating them may produce a greater spike in blood sugar than eating other meals can. GoodData Central of the Department of Agriculture estimates that a single medium-sized banana has roughly 27 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of sugar in it.
Bananas, however, include fiber, much like the majority of other sources of sugar that come from complete foods (about 3 grams per medium banana). The powerhouse nutrient that has numerous positive effects on one’s health is fiber. In terms of diabetes, fiber prevents rises in blood sugar levels.
According to a study that was conducted in 2018 and published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, it makes your body better able to control its blood sugar levels by reducing the rate at which it digests and absorbs carbohydrates.
If you have diabetes, you don’t need to avoid eating bananas, says Kelsey Lorencz, RD, who works as a registered dietitian and nutrition counselor at Zenmaster Wellness. “When consumed, bananas cause the breakdown of their carbohydrate content into glucose, which then enters the circulation and travels to the cells to be used as a source of energy.
When you eat a banana, your blood sugar will rise, but depending on how much you consume, what you eat it with, and how ripe it is, this may not always be a negative thing “says Lorencz.
“A banana that is riper will have more sugar, while a banana that is still on the green side will have less sugar and more resistant starch, which does not affect blood sugar levels.”
Advantages Associated with Consuming Bananas
Even though diabetics are advised to limit their consumption of carbohydrates, they must nevertheless take in sufficient quantities of nutritious carbs in order to maintain adequate levels of energy.
According to Lorencz, “Eating good carbohydrates is particularly crucial for those with diabetes who are taking any drugs to decrease their blood sugar.”
Bananas are an excellent way to get your daily dose of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese.
Bananas are an excellent source of rapid energy, and research suggests that consuming them may have a number of health advantages for those who have diabetes.
The ability to improve insulin sensitivity
Green bananas, often known as unripe bananas, have a higher percentage of resistant starch and less sugar than their riper counterparts. According to a review that was published in 2019 in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that has many health benefits, including improved digestion, reduced cholesterol, and improved gut health.
This type of carbohydrate cannot be digested in your small intestine. Insulin sensitivity is improved in persons with metabolic syndrome, including diabetes, when resistant starch is consumed.
Can Assist in the Control of Blood Sugar
According to a review that was published in 2019 in the journal Nutrients, the resistant starch that can be found in green bananas has a similar effect to that of fiber in that it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and avoids a spike in blood sugar levels.
According to a study that was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2022, resistant starch may also aid your gut flora, which in turn may boost insulin function and assist those with diabetes in better managing their blood sugar levels. In addition, the glycemic index of bananas is rather low.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the score for ripe bananas is 51, while the score for greener, less ripe bananas might drop as low as 42.
Improve the Condition of Your Heart
When it comes to diabetes, it is essential to take care of your heart in a healthy way. People who have diabetes have an increased chance of developing heart disease and have risk factors that increase their likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke.
These risk factors include high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Bananas, because to the vitamins and minerals they contain, are an excellent source of heart-healthy nutrients.
For instance, bananas are a fantastic source of potassium, which is a vitamin that is critical for maintaining healthy heart function. Increasing your consumption of potassium may help lower your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium, which has been linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as a reduction in blood pressure. One banana that is medium-sized has 422 milligrams of potassium (which is equivalent to 9% of the Daily Value) and 32 milligrams of magnesium (which is equivalent to 8% of the DV).
Advice on How to Incorporate Bananas Into a Diabetes-Friendly Diet
The following are some suggestions that, if you have diabetes, will help you enjoy bananas while keeping your blood sugar under control:
If you eat bananas with meals that are rich in protein and fat, this will slow down the rate at which your body digests sugar and absorbs it. For instance, you might include a banana into a smoothie that already contains chia seeds or flaxseeds, or you may have a handful of almonds in addition to a banana.
Eat bananas that are less ripe and greener since they have a greater resistant starch content and less sugar.
Eat more bananas that are more bite-sized to cut down on the quantity of sugar that enters your bloodstream.
Lorencz adds, “Pick bananas that still have a little of their green color on them. Then, for a breakfast that is both nutritious and satiating, combine them with a source of protein and fat, such as peanut butter or eggs that have been hard-boiled. This will help to maintain stable blood sugar levels.”
What It All Comes Down To
Bananas are a fruit that everybody, even diabetics, may enjoy since they are not only tasty but also healthy and inexpensive. Consuming this nutritious fruit may help maintain stable blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and promote healthier heart function.
Bananas have a greater carbohydrate and sugar content compared to other meals; however, they also include fiber and resistant starch, which help to slow down the digestive process and the release of sugar into circulation.
Because of these characteristics, bananas are an excellent choice for diabetics seeking a wholesome snack to have on hand. If, on the other hand, you have diabetes, you should choose bananas that are younger and less ripe, and you should eat them with other nutritious meals that are heavy in protein and fat.