Should you eat a banana on an empty stomach? RDs share the pros and cons

Bpineapples and breakfast go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. But according to registered dietitians, this potassium-rich fruit might actually be no be the best to eat first thing in the morning.

Although an excellent source of many essential nutrients that promote overall well-being, bananas contain a considerable amount of sugar. For context, a medium-sized banana has about 15 grams of sugar; That’s nearly 50 percent of the recommended daily sugar intake for women, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Although consuming sugar in moderation is key, dietitians explain that eating a banana on an empty stomach can increase the effect of sugar on the body. Read fluctuating blood sugar levels. Although giving up bananas completely is, without a doubt no solution, nutritionists share some ways to reap the benefits of this nutritious fruit without causing a sugar imbalance right at dawn.

4 key health benefits of bananas

1. They are high in potassium which helps regulate almost all body functions

There’s no denying that bananas are a favorite among fruit growers. As New York-based dietitian Jennifer Maeng, MS, RD, points out, they’re a nutritious fruit that’s both delicious and affordable. When you start to peel (ha) the layers of this fruit, you will find that it is packed with tons of essential nutrients. Above all, the ships loaded with potassium; about 422 milligrams per medium-sized banana. “Bananas are rich in potassium, which is one of the essential electrolytes for bodily functions such as pH balance, our body’s water balance, blood pressure, digestion and even muscle contraction,” he says Maeng, which is why they are especially popular snack for health and fitness oriented people.

2. They contain gut-friendly fiber that supports digestive health

In addition to potassium, bananas also contain gut-healthy fiber. “The high fiber content improves digestive health and helps regulate blood sugar levels after meals,” says Charleston-based registered dietitian Lauren Manaker.
MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT. A medium-sized banana provides you with about three grams of the nutrient. Keep in mind that the gold standard is about six grams of fiber per meal.

3. They contain vitamins and antioxidants that support immune, brain and metabolic health

Bananas also contain a large amount of vitamins, especially vitamin C and B6. “Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, which supports immune function, and vitamin B6, which helps with metabolic and brain health,” says Manaker. Plus, bananas contain anti-inflammatory properties thanks to their antioxidants, which Manaker says can also help give you a midday energy boost. “Antioxidants and are known for their energy-boosting properties, making them a popular choice for a healthy snack,” she says.

4. They help maintain bone health

Bananas are linked to increased longevity thanks to their potassium content which helps maintain bone health, a key marker of healthy aging. “Eating more potassium is associated with higher bone mineral density, which declines as we age,” FRESH Communications dietitian Bianca Tamburello, RDN, of New York previously shared with Well+Good.

Should you eat a banana on an empty stomach?

So, is it okay to eat banana on an empty stomach? Well, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. In fact, there are several factors that can influence whether eating a banana on an empty stomach should be a yes or no for you. To start, Maeng says you should inspect the skin to see what state of ripeness it is in. For some people, green bananas can cause digestive problems. Maeng explains that this is because green and unripe bananas contain month resistant starch and dietary fiber than their yellow, ripe counterparts (and for some people, green bananas can cause constipation or make the problem worse, but for others it can be a great aid to digestive support). “Resistant starch and dietary fiber can be beneficial for gut health because they promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and can also help regulate blood sugar levels,” says Manaker.

On the other hand, yellow bananas (on an empty stomach) may not be the answer, as they contain higher amounts of sugar than green ones. “As they ripen, the fiber content decreases, making the banana mostly simple sugar that can spike blood sugar and potentially cause a sugar crash or mild fatigue,” says Maeng. When consumed on an empty stomach, Manaker says that yellow bananas can cause even. sharper fluctuations in sugar levels “Although bananas are nutritious and can provide a quick source of energy in the morning, their high sugar content can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels when eaten alone with “empty stomach”.

However, Manaker also argues that yellow bananas can also be much easier to digest than green ones, and yellow bananas with brown spots are at their peak ripeness and offer high levels of antioxidants that can protect the body from free radicals. . So Manaker says choosing between a green and a yellow banana ultimately depends on one’s health goals, such as whether the focus is on improving digestion or energy levels.

To err on the side of caution, Maeng suggests simply securing your stomach it is not empty before eating a banana. “Your body naturally raises your blood sugar in the morning, and if you’re not diabetic, your body will produce more insulin to balance your blood sugar,” if you eat bananas on an empty stomach, she explains. “For this reason, in the morning, or on an empty stomach, it is no the best time to eat foods high in simple carbohydrates and low in fiber, such as bananas,” says Maeng. Surprisingly, Maeng says this also applies to other popular breakfast foods, such as smoothies of fruit, açaí bowls or servings of oatmeal topped with bananas “All can have a negative impact on blood sugar and energy levels,” she explains.

What are the benefits of eating banana on an empty stomach?

But it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to eating bananas on an empty stomach. Manaker says that for some people it can be a good thing. “Eating bananas on an empty stomach can offer specific benefits, including providing an immediate energy boost. The simple sugars in bananas are easily digested, meaning you can get energy quickly, making them an ideal pre-workout snack. exercise or a means to start your day,” he says.

Manaker also notes that the potassium in bananas can help start your morning with a “heart-healthy mineral that supports nerve and muscle function.” However, he notes that it’s important to evaluate whether or not to consume bananas on a case-by-case basis. “It’s essential to consider individual health conditions and dietary needs, as this practice may not suit everyone,” says Manaker.

What is the best time to eat a banana?

According to Manaker, it’s not so much about the best time eat a banana than it is with what you are combining it with. “For people with sensitive digestive systems or managing blood sugar conditions, combining bananas with foods that contain healthy fats, proteins or other fibers can help moderate the effect. [on an empty stomach]and ensure a more balanced energy release,” he says.

So while it might seem like a great idea to reach for that bright yellow banana when you’re really hungry for a midday snack or 30 minutes before a workout, you might want to think again. After all, feeling tired while trying to work or Do exercise it’s never ideal. In short, making sure there is something to cushion the stomach to help balance the effects of bananas is key.

That said, Manaker it doesn’t think it’s the end of the world if a banana is all you have. “Most Americans don’t eat the recommended serving of fruit daily; we should focus on encouraging people to eat enough fruit before worrying about when you’re eating it At the end of the day, there’s no ‘bad time’ to eat fruit like bananas,” he says. One case, however, when time is of the essence (literally), is to consume bananas before going to sleep. In fact, some research suggests that a banana can help you fall asleep faster at night, which can be helpful for someone who struggles to sleep well.

What is the healthiest way to eat a banana?

To reiterate, that’s it no say you’ll never be able to enjoy bananas again. On the contrary; It is best to combine them with other foods and eat them at the right time to avoid an unwanted sugar spike or digestive problems. Echoing Manaker’s advice, Maeng suggests pairing bananas with sources of fiber, protein and fat, and says it’s the way to go if the goals are to slow sugar absorption and prevent blood sugar spikes (and accidents). As such, the next time you peel a banana in the morning, Maeng suggests pairing the fruit with nut butter for the perfect pre-workout banana snack or pairing them with protein shakes, like a breakfast smoothie banana or a coffee banana smoothie.

By the way, don’t throw away your banana peels! When you’re ready to wind down for the day, you might want to make a relaxing cup of banana tea. Surprisingly, banana peels contain high levels of magnesium, even more than the fruit itself, a powerful mineral that helps regulate neurotransmitters directly related to sleep, along with other key compounds needed to get a good night’s rest.

Got a few overripe bananas? You know what that means: it’s banana bread time:

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