Diabetic individuals need to be conscious about many high-sugar fruits and food items they consume as they may spike the glucose level in the body. Bananas are considered one of the nutritious fruits, which contain a great number of vitamins and minerals along with proteins and antioxidants. They are a good source of healthy carbs and makes up for a delicious and power-packed snack.
Ripe bananas are sweet to taste which often makes a diabetic think whether it is good for their health or not. To clear this doubt, let's delve into the health benefits of bananas.
Nutritional Value of Bananas
1 small banana (101 g) contains 89.9 kcal energy, 74.91 g water, 1.1 g protein, 23.1 g carbohydrate, 2.63 g dietary fibre, 5.05 mg calcium, 27.3 mg magnesium, 0.26 mg iron, 362 mg potassium, 22.2 mg phosphorus, 0.152 mg zinc, 1.01 mcg selenium, 20.2 mcg folate along with vitamin A, E, K, B1, B2, B3 and B6.
Link Between Bananas And Diabetes
According to a study, the fibre present in raw banana helps to reduce glycemia, which in turn prevents or treats diabetes (type 2). It also helps in the management of gastrointestinal diseases, helps in weight management, deals with kidney and liver complications, and prevents cardiovascular diseases and many other chronic diseases. Also, banana has a low GI index which prevents the sudden spike of blood sugar after its consumption.
When a person consumes carbohydrates, they get converted into glucose by the insulin produced by the pancreas, which is later, converted into energy. In a diabetic, due to insulin resistance, the glucose level spikes up due to inability of the body to convert it into an energy source. That's why diabetics should limit their carbohydrate intake to manage the condition.
The aforementioned point makes it clear that it's not the bananas that are the cause for increase or decrease of glucose in the body, but the total carbohydrate intake. If a diabetic takes a small banana in a day which contains 23.1 g carbohydrate, they can manage their calorie count by avoiding other carbohydrate-rich foods. In this way, a diabetic will also be able to get the nutritional benefits of banana. To mention, carbohydrate is vital to maintain the normal functioning of the body, so it cannot be totally restricted from the diet.
Bananas are regarded safe for diabetics as long as they take limited amounts considering their health condition.
How Are Bananas Beneficial For Diabetics?
Bananas are safe for diabetes because of the following reasons:
- Fibre: Dietary fibre in banana slows down the absorption of carbohydrate by the body, which in turn, slows down the digestion process. This prevents the sudden rise of glucose in the blood, thereby managing the diabetic conditions.
- The resistant starch: The good amount of resistant starch in raw banana helps to improve insulin sensitivity and manage glucose rise after the meal. It is a type of starch which improves the glycemic status in the body and doesn't break down easily, thus prevent the sudden spike of blood glucose.
- Vitamin B6: Diabetic neuropathy is a condition in which the nerves get damaged due to high blood sugar. Such type of diabetes may lead to the deficiency of vitamin B6. As banana contains vitamin B6, it is effective for diabetic neuropathy.
How To Eat Banana If You Are A Diabetic
- Prefer eating an unripe banana compared to ripe one as the former one has a low glycemic index.
- Choose a small banana to limit the carbohydrate content.
- Even if you eat a medium-sized banana, opt for a diet with a low glycemic index like cherries and grapefruit and no or little carbohydrate foods like eggs and fish.
- If you love bananas, eat a few slices several times a day. One can even sprinkle cinnamon on banana slices and have them.
- In case you had a banana with a dessert, manage the calories by eating very less in the next meal.
- Avoid market-based banana products like banana chips.