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Is Plantain Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Sugar Content
Diabetes

Is Plantain Good for Diabetes? Glycemic Index, Sugar Content

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 8
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4 min

Plantains have benefits for blood sugar control and have been used as a natural tool for diabetes management in some parts of the world for years. We take a deeper look at how plantains can impact diabetes in this article.

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Plantains, sometimes referred to as green bananas, are high-fiber fruit that look like bigger, greener bananas. They have been used as a natural method of diabetes management in Nigeria for years and have benefits for the condition.

In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at plantains, how they help people with diabetes, their health benefits, and their nutritional value. Keep reading to learn more.

Is Plantain Good for Diabetes?

Yes, plantains are good for diabetes and its management. Studies show that plantains, especially unripe ones, are useful in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. They are also high in fiber, which helps manage blood glucose.

The fiber content in plantains can also protect against heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing these conditions. Fiber lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protecting the heart.

Plantains are high in polyphenols and other plant compounds, which have benefits for blood sugar levels and could protect against diabetes complications. They also contain antioxidants that can further protect against complications in those with diabetes.

For diabetes, it is recommended to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables rather than refined and processed foods. Plantains can be eaten in many ways and are easy to add to your diet.

It is worth noting that certain cooking methods, like fried plantains, make them less healthy. It is better to stick to baking ripe plantains for a healthy addition to your diabetes-friendly diet.

Is Plantain Good for Type 2 Diabetes?

Plantain is a good choice for those with type 2 diabetes. They are relatively high in fiber, which can reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, and contain plant compounds that help manage blood sugar levels.

Green plantains are particularly good for the condition, and it is advised to eat unripe plantains for better control of blood sugar levels. Eating green plantains is a good way to support better diabetes management, but if you’re looking for further help, you could check out the Klinio app.

The Klinio app is designed to help users manage their diabetes more easily. It offers a personalized meal plan with more than 45,000 diabetes-friendly recipes. It provides a space to track your progress, creates grocery lists, and offers swaps for hard-to-find ingredients in every recipe.

You’ll also find accessible workouts for all fitness levels that help manage your diabetes, and you can even get a diabetes dessert book for tasty, diabetes-friendly desserts.

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3 Benefits of Green Plantains for Diabetes

Green plantains have many health benefits and are widely consumed around the world. They can be eaten in many ways, including fried green plantains and baked sliced plantains, and are sometimes eaten raw.

Below, we’ve summarized some of the health benefits of consuming green plantains.

#1 High in fiber

Green plantains are high in fiber, making them good for digestive health. Fiber is an incredibly important macronutrient in our digestive health. It supports healthy bowel movements, slows digestion, and may even reduce cholesterol levels.

Fiber is also a useful nutrient in weight loss. It improves satiety and promotes feelings of fullness, helping you consume fewer calories. Eating fewer calories and creating a caloric deficit is the best weight loss method.

Weight loss is good for people with diabetes and may even minimize some of the symptoms of diabetes. Other ways to lose weight include getting better sleep and increasing physical activity, perhaps by taking up running regularly.

#2 Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Plantains contain many plant compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Indeed, plantains contain around 18mg of vitamin C per 100g. The RDA of vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90g for men.

Vitamin C is good for blood glucose management and can prevent complications in diabetes patients.

Plantains are also high in potassium. Potassium has a positive effect on blood pressure. As people with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart conditions, reducing blood pressure is beneficial

#3 Good for heart health

As discussed, heart conditions are more likely in patients with diabetes. Plantains have a number of heart-healthy properties to support better heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Fiber-rich plantains are great for heart health. Plantains also contain vitamin B6, which reduces the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease.

Other methods of boosting heart health include eating a heart-healthy diet and doing more physical activity, like cardio exercise.

Nutritional Value of Green Plantain

The nutritional value of green plantains per 100g is as follows:

  • Energy: 152kcal
  • Protein: 1.52g
  • Fat: 0.07g
  • Carbohydrate: 36.7g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Sugars: 2.29g

Plantains also contain a wealth of other nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, sodium, manganese, vitamin C, and folate.

Plantain glycemic index

The glycemic index of plantains varies depending on their ripeness. For unripe plantains, the glycemic index is around 45, and for ripe plantains, 54. The glycemic index varies due to the sugar content of plantains at each stage of ripeness.

Though there is variation, both unripe and ripe plantains are classified as low-glycemic foods. Low-glycemic foods tend to have a GI between 1 and 55.

The glycemic index is a system of categorizing carbohydrate-based foods by how they impact blood sugar levels. Low-glycemic foods have minimal impact on blood glucose, whereas high-GI foods will cause a blood sugar spike.

Some nutritionists recommend that those on a diabetes diet stick with low-glycemic foods. However, the American Diabetes Association suggests looking at the carb content of food rather than the glycemic index to predict the impact on blood sugar levels.

Plantain glycemic load

The glycemic load of plantains is between 16.5 and 19.8, depending on ripeness. Unlike the glycemic index, the glycemic load value takes into account the number of carbs in food to predict its impact on blood sugar levels.

Plantains have a medium glycemic load.

Foods with low GI and GL include chia seeds and avocado.

FAQs

Does plantain raise blood sugar?

Green plantain contains carbohydrates, so it will impact blood sugar levels. However, it has a relatively high fiber content, preventing it from causing a huge blood sugar spike.

Does plantain have sugar?

Yes, plantain contains sugar. It contains around 2.29g of sugar per 100g. Very ripe plantains have more sugar than unripe plantains.

A Word From Our MD

Plantain is considered a good choice for people with diabetes to add to their diet. They contain lots of fiber, which supports blood sugar management, and contain compounds that promote healthier blood glucose levels.

If you choose to eat plantains as part of your diabetes management, it is important to choose healthy cooking methods. Opt for baked plantains, and if you choose to fry them, choose fried green plantains over yellow plantains.

Plantains can help you manage diabetes and may have other benefits for diabetes patients too. They are good for weight loss due to their fiber content, as they increase feelings of fullness, helping you consume fewer calories each day.

They also promote better heart health, can lower blood pressure, and may reduce cholesterol levels. As diabetes patients are at a higher risk of heart disease, these heart-healthy properties can be beneficial.

While plantains have benefits for blood sugar management, they cannot be the only measure you take to manage your diabetes. You should consume plantains as part of a diabetes-friendly diet and continue to follow your doctor’s advice.

You could also try to boost your physical activity each week to burn more calories and reduce weight. Walking each day can help you get your heart rate going and can be beneficial for your condition.

Plantains taste great in a variety of dishes and are a good choice for those with diabetes.

Conclusion

Plantains are a good fruit to add to a diabetes diet. They have a low glycemic index and medium glycemic load, which means they won’t cause a blood sugar spike. They also contain compounds that promote better blood glucose management.

Though plantains have benefits for those with diabetes, you should continue to follow your doctor’s advice and not rely solely on this fruit to manage your condition.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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