Bananas are one of the most nutritious fruits and an excellent addition to the diet. But are bananas good for diabetics, are they too high in sugar? Let’s find out from this detailed article.
Do you go bananas over Bananas? Well, you are not alone. Bananas are the most commonly consumed fruit worldwide. At times you might question ‘Is banana good for diabetes?’ or ‘Can diabetic patients eat bananas?’. The answer is ‘Yes’, sugar patients can eat bananas; however, the key is to consume in moderation and keep a check on your calorie intake. Let’s read along to understand nutrition in a banana, sugar content in bananas, the benefits of eating bananas for diabetics, and the risks of overconsumption.
Banana: Nutritional Profile
Banana (also known as Musa) is sweet, tasty, creamy, seedless, easy to peel, and convenient to eat fruit. Worldwide, bananas have more than a thousand varieties and you can find a few in your local market.
The Glycemic Index (GI) of bananas varies from 42 to 62. Unripe and ripe bananas have a low GI (i.e. <55) and overripe bananas have a medium GI.
GI of unripe banana: 42 (low)
GI of ripe banana: 51 (low)
GI of overripe banana: 62 (medium)
Nutrition in one medium (7-inch) banana or one serving is as follows:
28 g carbohydrate
15 g sugar
0 g fat
1 g protein
3 g fiber
450 mg potassium
Bananas are also a rich source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, and calcium. Additionally, they are packed with various micronutrients and vitamins such as copper, zinc, selenium, thiamine, folic acid, and niacin.
Advantages of Banana for Diabetes
Banana is a healthy fruit for people with diabetes. Unripe and ripe bananas are absorbed slowly and do not spike your blood glucose levels. Unripe (green) bananas are rich in resistant starch – a substance helpful in increasing insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetes. Resistant starch also helps to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics and is gut-friendly. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has promoted bananas as a “superfood” for diabetics.
Fiber present in bananas slows down digestion and absorption; hence, is useful in maintaining blood sugar levels.
Bananas are rich in micronutrients and antioxidants that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke – common complications of diabetes.
Ways To Consume a Banana
Bananas can be eaten raw during any time of the day. Preferably eat a green banana or a nearly ripe banana to avoid a spike in blood glucose levels. However, you can get creative and enjoy some delicious meals while managing your blood sugar levels:
- As fruit salad – by mixing it with low GI fruits.
- Replace sugar with bananas while baking cakes, muffins, or bread.
- As a topping for custards and protein shakes.
- Mix with nut butter or a handful of nuts.
- Add bananas as a part of smoothies.
How Much and How Frequently to be Consumed?
Bananas are rich in sugar content and various essential nutrients. Diabetics can eat them in moderation and should avoid daily consumption of bananas. You can eat bananas or banana-containing dishes once or twice a week while keeping a tab on your calorie intake and blood glucose levels. If you must daily, then go for a ladyfinger size banana or reduce the proportion.
Risks of Over Consumption of Banana
Overconsumption of bananas is not healthy, especially for diabetics. It can lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels as bananas are rich in carbs and sugar, albeit low GI. Eating bananas in excess can also cause diarrhea, gas, bloating, or indigestion. For some, it can cause high blood levels of potassium. It’s not recommended to eat bananas after dinner as it can trigger indigestion.
Other Health Benefits of Banana
- Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 – an important vitamin to prevent neuropathy and gestational diabetes.
- Bananas contain various nutrients and can help prevent cancer or kidney-related diseases.
- Potassium in bananas is helpful to prevent muscle cramps, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration.
- Antioxidants properties help in preventing various degenerative diseases.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Banana is a sweet and hard-to-resist fruit that has a low to medium GI. Banana is a healthy fruit for diabetics owing to the abundance of various micronutrients, vitamins, and fiber.
- Diabetics can enjoy bananas as they help regulate blood sugar levels and are gut-friendly. Bananas help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke as they are rich in micronutrients and antioxidants.
- Bananas can be eaten raw, as fruit salads, mixed with nuts, or as a part of smoothies or replaced for sugar in cakes and other bakery dishes.
- Overconsumption can cause blood sugar levels to spike and complicate diabetes.
- Bananas have various nutrients and antioxidants which are neuroprotective, nephroprotective, and have anti-cancer properties.
- Use Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate Accu-Chek instant and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
Banana is a powerhouse of energy, potassium, and micronutrients. Bananas help in regulating blood sugar levels and protect diabetics from various complications such as cardiac disorders, neuropathy, stroke, and kidney disorders. The key is to eat them in moderation which helps to meet the requirement of nutrients and keeps blood glucose under control.
Bananas are rich in carbs and sugars, hence, are not recommended for daily consumption for diabetics. You can eat a small or medium-sized banana once or twice a week to satisfy the craving while maintaining your blood sugar levels.
A banana’s effect on blood sugar depends on its ripeness and corresponding GI score. Unripe and ripe bananas have a low GI and are absorbed slowly and do not spike blood sugar levels. Overripe bananas have a medium GI scope and can raise your blood glucose levels so you should avoid eating overripe bananas.
Diabetics should avoid any fruit that has high GI and can significantly increase blood glucose levels. Watermelons, overripe bananas, dried dates, and pineapples are the worst fruits for diabetics.
Fruits with low GI, low sugar content and carbs, and richness of nutrients are good for diabetics as they do not cause sudden glucose increase. Apple, avocado, berries, bananas, citrus fruits, apricots, kiwis, and grapefruits are good for diabetics.