One food many people with Type 2 diabetes find themselves avoiding is the banana as they are thought to be very high in sugar and calories and, as such, a fruit to avoid. This, however, is not necessarily the case. The fact of the matter is the banana can be a very healthy food to include in any diabetic diet for several reasons. The critical thing to remember is to pair it with a protein source or a fat source. Adding protein will slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, ensuring you are not going to get the sugar spike you otherwise would.
Here are why bananas are not food to fear …
1. Calorie Controlled. First, bananas are a relatively low-calorie food, contrary to popular belief. One medium banana contains about 90 to 100 calories, with a large banana coming in slightly above. Comparing this to other foods you could be eating – a few slices of bread or a bagel, and it is quite low in calories.
2. Rich in Dietary Fiber. Bananas are rich in dietary fiber. Fiber is the indigestible portion of food a person with Type 2 diabetes needs to help regulate their blood sugar level and help prevent spikes.
When you pair this fruit with a protein or fat, you get the fat / protein-fiber combo helpful for keeping your blood sugar in check.
Dietary fiber is also vital for keeping you feeling full during the day and for regulating your bowel movements.
3. Loaded With Potassium. The next interesting point about bananas? They are high in potassium: this is important because potassium will help to counteract any sodium you may be taking in with your diet, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure readings.
The more potassium you have in your diet, generally speaking, the less-at-risk you will be for heart health concerns. Most people need to be including more potassium in their diet plan and less sodium. Bananas help you do just that.
People who are taking beta-blockers …
- propranolol (Inderal LA, InnoPran XL),
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL),
are not advised to increase their take of bananas suddenly. Check with your medical practitioner beforehand as high potassium foods need to be consumed in moderation when beta-blockers have been prescribed.
4. Great For Pre-Exercise. Finally, bananas are an ideal pre-workout food. Eat them before you hit the gym and you will have a fast acting source of energy that will not fizzle out 20 minutes into your session. This is because they contain a nice blend of complex carbohydrates (starch) with simple sugars, which is precisely what your body needs.
Keep these points in mind and consider picking up a banana next time you are out grocery shopping. They really can be part of any Type 2 diabetic's diet.