Health Benefits Of Banana | Evidence Based


health benefits of banana

Bananas are one of the most common fruits which are available worldwide and are consumed by almost every group of people. Every country in the world is familiar with bananas and knows how to consume them. This fruit is popular all along and for good reasons.

The nutritious value this fruit provides our body is immense and these are great snack food for gaining instant energy. This fruit is included in breakfast and in several dishes for its excellent nutritious values.

Today I am going to tell you exactly how beneficial this fruit can be for us in the aspect of nutrition and health. My favorite one is to overcome depression.

Who Can Eat Bananas and Who should not?

Fully and well-ripened bananas are sweeter than newly ripened bananas. People who have diabetes should think before eating such bananas in a huge amount. Consuming them in less amount is totally okay if the amount of carbohydrate being consumed is taken into account.

People with high potassium levels in their system should also avoid intaking Bananas.

When can we eat Bananas?

bananaWhen a banana can be eaten depends on the nutritional values you are aiming for. Ripening of bananas makes a difference in their nutritional values. A newly ripened banana will not be as sweet as a fully ripened banana because at this stage the starch has not fully broken down into simple sugars.

If you want to stay full for a long time, eating newly ripened bananas is a good idea. But if you want an instant energy boost for doing some rigorous work, fully ripened bananas are a good choice. They also get digested easily so will give you no digestive issues.

Health Benefits Of Banana And Reasons To Add Them To Your Daily Diet.

You may never think that a banana a day can have so many health benefits. You will never look at the humble banana the same way as you do now after knowing the health benefits of banana.

The banana is full of nutrition, filled with healthy carbohydrates and potassium. Today, bananas are grown in at least more than 107 countries.

1. Banana helps in boosting energy

You must have seen athletes and sportsmen having bananas before the game or even sometimes during their game. Banana works as an instant energy booster, packed with energy-giving carbohydrates.  It is known to be very good for the stomach and gives you instant strength and energy to kick-start your day.

2. Bananas have many important nutrients

  • Vitamin B6 (33% of the RDI {Reference Daily Intake}): B6 present in the bananas are easily absorbable and a medium-sized banana can provide a quarter of our daily vitamin B6 needs.

In addition to these, Vitamin B6 is important for a pregnant woman because it helps in the baby’s development.

Vitamin B6 is helpful in:

  1. Producing red blood cells
  2. Metabolizing carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy our body can utilize
  3. Metabolizing Amino acids
  4. Removal of unwanted chemicals from the liver and kidneys
  5. Maintaining a healthy nervous system.
  • Vitamin C (11% of the RDI): Even though usually we do not connect vitamin C with bananas, about 10% of our daily vitamin needs can be fulfilled by a medium-sized banana.
    Vitamin C is helpful in:
  1. Protecting our body against cell and tissue damage
  2. Making our body absorb iron better
  3. Making our body produce collagen– the protein which holds our skin, bones, and body together
  4. Producing serotonin, which in turn supports brain health because Serotonin is a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress and pain.
  • Potassium (9% of the RDI): Potassium is a very important part of our diet. A medium-sized banana contains 320- 400mg of potassium which helps to fulfill about 10% of our bodies’ daily potassium needs.
    Potassium plays an integral part in controlling and maintaining the health of our heart and blood pressure. Bananas contain low sodium and high potassium which makes them a very important food item to intake for people with high- blood pressure because potassium helps in maintaining stable blood pressure.

Bananasource

  • Potassium – They are known for their high potassium content. It has over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana
  • Vitamin B-6 – One banana supplies 33 % of your daily B-6 intake requirement. This vitamin helps in producing hemoglobin and the body uses this vitamin to grow new cells.
  • Magnesium: 8% of the daily requirement
  • Copper: 10% of the daily requirement
  • Manganese (14% of the RDI): Manganese is helpful in producing collagen and is great at protecting our skin and cells from damage. A medium-sized banana will fulfill at least 13% to 14% of our daily manganese needs.
  • Net carbs: 24 grams of the daily requirement. The amount of carbs in newly ripened bananas contains resistant starch but when it gets fully ripened it converts into three sugars mention earlier.
  • Fiber (3.1 grams): A medium-sized banana provides about 10% to 12% of our Fibre needs. On average, women need about 20gm and men need about 26gm of dietary fiber daily.
    There are two types of fibers, Soluble ones, and Insoluble ones and both of them are important for our bodies. Soluble fiber helps our body control our blood sugar levels and also helps in getting rid of fatty substances like cholesterol.
    Newly ripened bananas contain starch that cannot be digested (resistant starch) so these get passed to the large intestine. These bananas also help us to maintain weight because they keep the stomach full for a longer period of time.
    Bananas help with gastrointestinal issues like constipation, stomach ulcers, and heartburn. Pectin, another fiber present in banana may also help in protection against colon cancer.
  • Protein: 1.3 grams of the daily requirement
  • Fat (0.4gm): Bananas contain three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose, and glucose which in-turn gives you fat and cholesterol-free energy. Bananas contain an almost a negligible amount of fat in them. And that is the reason why bananas are best for children and athletes and are great snacks for before or after sports.

3. Banana can be a great Hangover Cure

Had a great party last night? Did you overdo the booze? Worry not for the hangover just keep banana around for the morning.

4. Helps to moderate blood sugar levels

Bananas have pectin, a type of fiber that gives the flesh of the fruit a spongy texture. It also contains resistant starch as discussed above, and the presence of both these helps control blood sugar levels.

Glycemic index (GI), is an index that helps sort foods out which increases blood sugar level. It measures from 0- 100, 0 for foods which contribute least to increasing blood sugar level. The GI value of unripe banana is 30 and ripe banana is 60 and the average GI value of all kinds of bananas is 51. So according to these numbers, if taken carefully, bananas should not cause any major spikes in the blood sugar level of an individual.

But keep in mind, if you have type-2 diabetes, then you should avoid eating ripe bananas.

5. Banana Make Mood  Better and Reduces Stress

stressBananas are enriched with amino acid which is converted into serotonin by our body. Serotonin has many benefits, among many,  it helps to lighten our mood, reduce stress level and enhance happiness levels and general outlook towards approaching things. It also helps in regulating our sleep.

6. May help in Weight loss:

There are no scientific tests that can prove this point. But bananas have some qualities which might help in weight loss. It has low calories and not- ripened bananas have resistant starch which makes them very filling and also takes time for them to get digested, which in- turn reduces the appetite. And hence, weight- loss.

7. Bananas help to improve digestive health

As you may know bananas are easy to digest, plus it provides our body the fiber.  A banana contains about 3 grams of fiber. Fiber helps to travel food smoothly through the digestive tract.

8. Good for Heart Health

As discussed above, bananas contain nutrients like potassium and magnesium which helps regulate and maintain heart health. People with heart conditions like high- blood pressure are often advised to include a high level of potassium in their diet.

Potassium helps lower the blood pressure and also decreases the risk of heart diseases by 27%. Also, salt hinders the heart health and as we all know, bananas do not contain salt at all.

9. Rich with powerful Antioxidants

Antioxidants are helpful in the prevention of many heart diseases and degenerative illnesses. These antioxidants are really important to be included in our daily diet and bananas are rich in them. They are filled with strong antioxidants like dopamine and catechins.

10. Helps Fight Anaemia

Anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin decreases in the blood. This leads to fatigue, paleness and breathing problems because the body becomes weak due to a lack of red blood cells. Bananas that are rich in iron helps in maintaining the consistency of red blood cells and preventing the occurrence of Anaemia.

11. Asthma

According to some studies, the health benefits of banana include reducing wheezing in children with Asthma. This can happen due to the presence of antioxidants and potassium in bananas. But this fact is not scientifically proven and more studies are required to prove this theory.

12. Cancer

In addition to prevention from colon cancer, bananas may also help prevent developing Leukemia. Bananas contain a protein named lectin, which may prevent leukemia cells to develop.

Lectin acts as an antioxidant which helps in removing molecules known as free radicals whose too much presence can lead to cell damage, further leading to cancer. Bananas also contain vitamin C which also has antioxidant properties.

A study shows that children who consume bananas and oranges regularly have a low risk of developing leukemia

13. Unripe bananas may be helpful in improving insulin sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a major cause of a lot of dangerous diseases which includes type- 2 diabetes as well. Increasing insulin sensitivity becomes important for the prevention of these diseases.

It is not proven scientifically, but the resistant starch present in unripe bananas may be helpful in improving one’s insulin sensitivity. Studies reveal that 15- 30 grams of resistant starch might be helpful in increasing insulin sensitivity by 33- 55% in a matter of weeks.

14. Improve Kidney health

It seems like potassium is a gem for our bodies. In addition to the fact that potassium is very important for heart health, it is also as important for the health of our kidneys.

According to several studies over a long period of time, it has been concluded that people who had included bananas in their diet regularly had almost 33% to 50% fewer chances of getting affected by kidney disease. Bananas are rich with potassium which helps in regulating kidney functions.

Risks of consuming Bananas

Till now we have been discussing the positive aspects of consuming bananas. But the thing is everything has negative aspects and Bananas are no exceptions. There might be some people for whom consuming bananas can be dangerous.

1. Beta-Blockers

People with cardiovascular diseases are often prescribed Beta- Blockers which increase the amount of potassium in the bloodstream. Too much potassium in the bloodstream can be very harmful to those who have kidney diseases or whose kidney does not function properly because the kidney will not be able to fully remove the excess potassium from the bloodstream which can lead to being fatal.

So people with underlying kidney conditions or who consume beta-blockers should either avoid eating bananas or should consume them moderately because they are rich in potassium and can lead to an increase in potassium levels in the blood.

2. Allergy

Some people might be allergic to bananas. They can experience itching, hives, swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing after eating bananas and all these might conclude to being allergic to bananas. If the reactions are severe, people should immediately seek medical attention because this might lead to anaphylaxis which can be fatal and life-threatening.

3. Migraine

Bananas are known to have triggered Migraine in some people as well.

In addition, you should not consume bananas in odd times like in the late evening or night because this might cause cold and cough to people who easily get sick. It is better to consume them during breakfast hours or lunch hours.

What to look for while buying Bananas?

When we go to the market for buying bananas, it is important for us to look for some things so that it becomes easier for us to use them and so that we get the best product available in the market.

  • If you are buying a lot of them, make sure to buy them a little firm so that you can use them at least 4- 5 days without them getting worse.
  • If you do not want your bananas to ripe quickly before you get to consume them, it would be better to buy them in small quantities.
  • Look for fruits without any black spots and which are not squishy.
  • Do not store them in a refrigerator.

How to Add banana in your daily diet?

There are several very easy ways in which we can add bananas to our daily diet:

  • For your breakfast, add a sliced banana to your cereals or oatmeal.
  • Mash ripe bananas and use them as a replacement to oil and butter for baked goods.
  • You can use bananas as a replacement to sugar and add them mashed to muffins, cookies, and cakes for a natural sweet flavor.
  • Smoothies can also be mixed with bananas for bringing out the sweet flavor.
  • If nothing can be done, just take them with you and peel them off to eat them. That is the easiest way to consume them.
  • Several commercial food products that contain bananas are available in the market for you to consume like banana chips and banana powder.

A few tasty recipes including bananas for you to try at home

If you love cooking and are always up for creative cooking where you always keep trying something new, interesting and delicious for you, your family and your friends, this section is just for you. I have mentioned a few dishes which require a little creativity but will make consuming bananas a whole lot more interesting.

  • Jowar Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce: A small, delicious and nutritious dessert for children who do not usually want to eat nutritious food. Jowar cake made with banana, topped with delicious caramel sauce. You can also add chocolate sauce because most people love chocolate, you can never go wrong with it.
  • Banana Walnut Muffins: A very healthy and nutritious evening snack. The crunchiness of the walnuts and the sweetness of the bananas are going to make these muffins very tasty. If you have got bored of consuming simple bananas every- day, eating them this way will keep it interesting and healthy as well.

Eating fruits and vegetables have always been told to be a good thing for our health and prevention from diseases. Now we know that eating bananas can help us be healthy and can also prevent us from developing several life-threatening diseases. So keep eating healthy and stay healthy.

Do you like eating Bananas? I personally was never too much fan of banana in my early childhood. how do you like to eat bananas? Tell us in the comment section I am very much keen to read various ways to enjoy this beneficial fruit.

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