Glycemic Index of Banana and its Impact On Diabetes

Glycemic Index of Banana and its Impact On Diabetes

Glycemic Index of Banana are everyone’s delight. They are sweet-smelling, tasty, and considered nutritious. But about eating it during diabetes?

As a diabetic, you must have pondered over the sweetness of the banana. What is the glycemic of banana? Any guesses?

This article deals with a glycemic index score of banana and it impacts on diabetes. Let’s see if this nutritious fruit bestows the same health benefits upon diabetics or not.

What is the glycemic index?

Calculations and measurements are a part of the day to day life. We measure, compare, analyze certain numeric values every day. Be it a person on diet measuring his/her weight loss or doctor measuring the temperature of a patient suffering from fever.

How does the doctor confirm if the patient is suffering from a fever? And if the fever is moderate or critically high?

Because we already have standards set for measuring temperature using a thermometer. When the mercury levels cross 100 degree Celsius, an individual is supposed to be suffering from fever.

Similarly, the glycemic index is the measurement standard or formula made for calculating how quickly or slowly will the given food releases sugars in the bloodstream after it is eaten.

Ever seen a pH scale? The neutral elements are assigned a value of 7. Substances ranging in value less than 7 are considered acidic and those more than 7 are considered basic.

Following the same fashion, in the case of the glycemic index score, the reference value is chosen as 59-69. Foods having a score lesser than 59 are considered lower GI foods whereas those having a score of more than 69 are considered high GI foods.

The foods whose GI scores fall in the range of 59-69 are considered moderate GI foods. These can either harm you or can be harmless, depending upon your blood sugar levels and the number of calories permissible for you.

Low GI foods are good for diabetes. They slow down the rate of release of sugars from the food into your body. When this is done, blood sugar levels don’t rise after meals.

Health Benefits of Banana

Health Benefits of Banana

Bananas provide you with plenty of health benefits.

Generally, bananas favor healthy well-being as they packed with a lot of nutritional elements. Fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all are present in adequate amounts.

If you are eating bananas as a part of your breakfast then:

  • You face a lower risk of cancer as lectins present in the banana will abolish all harmful free radicals from your body
  • Your blood pressure is controlled well due to potassium which has relaxing effects on the cardiovascular system
  • You can maintain better health because of ample amounts of potassium, fibers, folates, antioxidants, and vitamin C
  • Asthma can be kept at bay as a result of powerful antioxidants and potassium
  • You will boost your memory. The acclimation for this is held by tryptophan, an amino acid which triggers stronger memory
  • Your digestive system performs better. Bananas are even considered by doctors during diarrhea
  • You have fewer chances of developing kidney stone because potassium enhances kidney functions and help in removing toxins
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Glycemic Index Of Banana – Can Diabetics Eat Banana?

To be clear and concise, the glycemic index score assigned to banana is 51. By looking at the value, one can identify that banana falls under low GI foods.

Being loaded with fibers, they decelerate the release of sugars into the bloodstream, hence, preventing blood sugar levels to lift.

All this seems like a green signal to eat bananas without any worries, isn’t it? But wait, there are some obstacles in the path.

Diabetics can eat a banana – only if the right portion size is considered.

What’s there with the portion size? Well, your portion size is going to matter.

This is because some people can be tolerant towards high carbohydrates levels while others may face problems even in carbohydrate count goes up by slightly smaller amounts.

Bananas come in different weights and sizes. Their size varies from small to medium to big. The most suited size for diabetics is the medium one.

One medium-sized banana is 7.5 inches and weighs about 27 grams. Moreover, it contains 14 grams of sugars and 6 grams of starch.

On a general basis, anyone fighting diabetes should eat no more than two medium-sized bananas a day.

The second important thing to consider is your permitted calorie count. What’s the amount of calories you can eat per day?

If you don’t have the answer to this question, you must get one. Consult your doctor regarding this today. Get informed about the carbohydrates intake levels you can hit every day without any issues.

This will help you in deciding how many bananas you can include in your daily diet. Make sure you are not exceeding the recommended carb intake.

An excellent way is to eat a little lesser amount of carbohydrates than preferred by your doctor and eat bananas to cover up the void of your saved calories.

Bananas are super easy to include in meals in multiple ways.

Blend them with milk and enjoy a tasty milkshake or couple them with nuts, oatmeal, and cereals. Peanut butter and Greek yogurt also make a good alliance with bananas.

The best time to eat bananas is during the morning. A study finds that people who consume bananas during breakfast tend to reduce their fasting blood sugar levels.

Unripened Bananas: Healthier Counterparts

Green unripe bananas

Unripened bananas are not an alien thing. We have all seen it. They are green in color with no sweat smell and flavor.

They attain the sweet essence after they are riped, transforming to yellow color.

Unripened bananas are more healthy than ripened ones. Particularly from a diabetes perspective, they have a lot to offer.

First of all, they contain resistant starch. The word ‘resistant’ here means that these starch are not digested in the upper part of the stomach and escape as such towards the large intestine.

When starch is not digested, they won’t release any sugar as well. This makes them ideal to be eaten during diabetes.

What comes as a surprise is that unripened bananas are known to improve insulin sensitivity of the body and help a person to gain better control over the disease.

Green unripe bananas can be cooked and eaten as vegetable dishes. They taste awesome when prepared using appropriate spices.

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Harmful Side-Effects Of Eating Banana

Developing side-effects and allergies towards certain food items is quite a common thing. We all are allergic to some kind of substance.

Not all but some people might negatively respond to bananas. It depends on your body’s genetic makeup and hormonal function to some extent.

Few side-effects that are observed in people consuming bananas are:

  • People who use Beta-blocker drugs must not consume bananas. These drugs cause potassium amounts of body to increase and accumulate, making it difficult for kidneys to remove them. This may lead to various disorders linked to the kidney.
  • Fibers present in bananas may invoke bloating symptoms in some individuals.
  • A bunch of people can develop allergies against bananas that can be coughing, sneezing, wheezing and, swelling, and so on.
  • Eating a banana is also associated with the risk of migraines.

10 Low-Glycemic Index fruits For Diabetes

Missing the sweetness in your life? You can switch on to some Low-Glycemic index fruits that are totally in agreement with a healthy diabetes diet.

1.   Grapefruits

Grapefruits

Don’t confuse then with grapes! Grapefruits are a wonderful choice for diabetes management. With the GI score of 25, they are a storehouse of vitamin C.

If you are taking any medications, other than diabetes. You must consult a physician before consuming this fruit.

2.   Grapes

Grapes

Grapes satiate the body’s hunger for vitamin C. They also provide fibers and vitamin B6. All these nutrients are desirable for diabetes.

The glycemic index score of grapes corresponds to 53, which is low enough to prove friendly for high sugar levels of blood.

3.   Cherries

Cherries

With a glycemic index value of 20, cherries can be eaten guilt-free even during diabetes. The potassium and antioxidants keep your blood sugar levels under check.

Further, cherries are also found to promote immunity. Due to a limited growing period, it can be tough to get cherries all year round but don’t miss out on the pleasure when the season arrives.

4.   Apples

Apples

As you might have heard, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Eating apple keeps you active all day long giving you sufficient fiber dose. Fibers keep you full and limit blood sugar spikes.

The GI score of apples is 39. They keep the digestion going good by enhancing the activity of gut bacteria.

5.   Dried Apricots

Dried Apricots

Apricots are great for health when eaten in small amounts. Dried apricots have a relatively high amount of carbohydrates but they also come enfolded with copper and vitamins that are worth eating for the sake of health.

The glycemic index score is 32 and they can be a decent fruit choice for diabetes if consumed in limited quantities. 

6.   Oranges

Oranges

Oranges have a glycemic index score of 40. They are also a storehouse of vitamin C and contain adequate fiber count.

These are again a wonderful choice with tonnes of goodness. Some other health favoring nutrients are also found in their pulpy juice.

7.   Pears

Pears

Eat them along with the peel as it provides you a good amount of fibers much needed to maintain well-governed blood sugar levels.

Pears are sweet yet their glycemic index value is 38. You can count on this fruit.

 8.   Strawberries

Strawberries

The glycemic index score of strawberries is 41 and considerable amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibers reside in them.

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All types of berries are rich in vitamin C and low in terms of GI score. These great options for those who miss toss of flavors in their life.

9.   Plums

Plums

Plums can be hard to find in the market but once you find them, they are an excellent option.

Though they have GI score is 40, still, be careful about the number of plums you consume. As they are often available in dried forms (prunes), their carbohydrates amounts are high. 

10.  Peach

Peach

Being packed with large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A, peaches also make it place in the list of low glycemic index fruits.

Peaches are assigned a glycemic index value of 42 and can be eaten undoubtedly during diabetes.

 The best way to determine the extent of the friendliness of any fruit or food for diabetes is to measure blood sugar readings after eating it and tracking the influence.

Concluding words

Making the right food choice during the time of ongoing diabetes can be challenging. This was our take on clearing the doubt cloud regarding the glycemic index of banana and how safe it is to be consumed by diabetics.

The bottom line is, bananas carry the same legacy of being healthy and full of nutrition to diabetic folks also. They don’t do any harm to you till you are eating them in the right quantity.

You need to know the exact permissible calorie range and daily carb intake for your body. Their glycemic index score is not much to worry about. It’s in a safer range – 51.

Exceptions do exist everywhere. Likewise, some people show an unpredictable response to banana consumption. Certain side-effects come into play. But those are rarely witnessed cases.

On the other hand, unripened bananas come as a wonderful option. They have the potential to eradicate blood sugar spikes as starch in them isn’t digested in the upper part of the stomach.

Altogether, bananas favor healthy well-being and can curb the number of diseases successfully. They are an excellent breakfast menu item.

References:-

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22655461/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21250902/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27872791/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18835944/

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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