Bananas: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bananas: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Bananas are among the most available fruits in the world.

In addition to wonderful sweetness and delicious taste, bananas also have a great influence on the human health.

It is believed that a number of essential nutrients are found in bananas.

They are especially good for digestion, weight loss and heart health.

Following are list of banana nutrition and top 10 health benefits of bananas which are supported by scientific evidence.

Nutrition Facts

Bananas - Nutrition Facts

It is said that bananas were first planted by farmers in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea.

Nowadays, more than 107 countries grow bananas for their fruits.

Although many types of bananas are available, the most common kind is yellow banana which is green when unripe.

Banana nutrition facts reveal reasons for its beneficial health effects.

Like most fruits, bananas are mainly occupied by carbohydrates – beneficial substances for better health.

Unripe bananas include decent amount of starch which functions as a fiber.

Starch can be responsible for colon health improvement as well as a healthy blood sugar level (1).

Also, bananas are valuable source of vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

Dopamine and catechin in bananas serve as important antioxidants which are linked to various health benefits (2) (3).

On the other hand, they are low in protein and fat.

Bottom line: Bananas are rich in several nutrients and low in fat, which explains for health benefits of bananas.

Health Benefits of Bananas

1. Blood Sugar Levels

The ability to lower blood sugar levels is among the most popular health benefits of bananas.

The richness in pectin is believed to give banana flesh structural form (4).

Moreover, resistant starch in unripe banana can serve as a soluble fiber and help digestion (5) (6).

In fact, both pectin and resistant starch can keep blood sugar levels moderate as well as reduce appetite (7) (8) (9).

Also, in terms of glycemic index – a measurement for the effect of food on blood sugar levels, banana scores low.

While glycemic rate of unripe banana is 30, that of ripe banana is 60. These index are quite low (10).

This fact indicates that banana is good for blood sugar levels, just like carrots or sweet potatoes.

However, this may not work in diabetic patients who should avoid consuming a lot of ripe bananas and take care of blood sugar level well.

Bottom line: Bananas are packed with substances which can help not only moderate blood sugar level but also reduce appetite.

2. Digestion

When refering to benefits of bananas, people usually mention its capability to improve digestive system.

Nutritionally, banana is a good source of fiber (a banana in medium size includes 3 grams of fiber).

Pectin and resistant starch are 2 good examples of fiber in bananas.

While pectin is associated with the prevention of colon cancer – one of the most common digestion-related problems (11) (12), resistant starch may be a good friend of gut bacteria which can lead to better digestive function (13) (14) (15).

Bottom line: Thanks to a good source of pectin and resistant starch, bananas can help with some digestive issues.

3. Weight Loss

Although there is a shortage of evidence for benefits of bananas for weight loss, their nutritional features may help lose weight naturally.

In fact, bananas are quite low in calories – enemy of obesity.

It is also necessary to mention an abundant source of fiber in banana. (Yes, another benefit of fiber! Do not miss a complete list of fiber health benefits).

Undeniably, fiber consumption can make a contribution to weight loss (16) (17) (18).

Moreover, resistant starch in green bananas turns out to increase fullness and reduce appetite well (19) (20).

In a study, it was found out that a 24- gram banana consumption during 4 weeks could lead to weight loss of 1.2kg (21).

Several other studies have suggested that fruits which are high in fiber may lower body weight (22) (23).

Bottom line: It is logical that the high fiber content of bananas can help weight loss by decreasing appetite and  increasing fullness.

4. Blood Pressure

Banana - Blood Pressure

Bananas are a major dietary source of potassium.

It is estimated that 0.4 grams of potassium is loaded in a medium-sized banana.

Playing a role as an important mineral, potassium can help with blood pressure and kidney function (24).

Also, a diet which is rich in potassium can support to lower blood pressure (25) (26).

Bottom line: When it comes to the treatment for hypertension, people can think about bananas because they may lower blood pressure.

5. Exercise

Thanks to high mineral content, bananas are among super food for athletes.

Result from a study revealed that the habit of eating bananas may limit muscle cramps and soreness – common things which happen to 95% of the population (27).

Basically, the exact cause of cramps has not been confirmed by scientific-based evidence.

However, dehydration as well as electrolyte imbalance are responsible for this issue (28) (29) (30).

On the other hand, the effects of bananas on muscle cramps are still controversial issue.

While it has great impacts on some people, others experience no effects (31).

Besides bananas, you can resort to many beneficial vegetables to promote muscle health, such as spinach.

Bottom line: Banana is likely to provide relief from muscle cramps which come from exercise.

6. Kidney Health

Banana - Kidney Health

Not only can potassium be good for blood pressure, but it may also improve kidney function.

It is believed that a good dietary source of potassium can maintain healthy kidneys.

An over 13-year study in women concluded that banana consumption with 2-3 times a week may contribute to 33-percent reduction in the risk of kidney disease (32).

Also, several studies have supported the positive effects of eating bananas 4-6 times weekly on controlling the development of kidney disease (33) (34).

Other rich sources of potassium are baking soda nutrition.

7. Insulin Sensitivity

The ability to regulate insulin sensitivity is among top benefits of bananas.

It is undeniable that insulin resistance is a main driver of many serious health diseases including type 2 diabetes.

In fact, unripe bananas are full of resistant starch – a factor which can improve insulin sensitivity.

Therefore, it is logical to understand that bananas may help with this problem.

A number of studies have proved that after 4 weeks, the daily intake of 15-30 grams of resistant  starch accompanies with 33-50% improvement in insulin sensitivity (35) (36).

However, more research is necessary because the origin of these effects is not well explained and not all studies are for this matter (37).

Bottom line: Unripe banana can improve insulin sensitivity. However, for more reliance, it is necessary that more studies should be done.

8. Pain Killer

Banana - Pain Killer

One of the most common benefits of bananas is anti-pain effect.

It is likely that almost girls, from young girls to women at menopause stage, have to face painful feeling during their monthly period.

Normally, the pain is so unbearable that it prevents them from working as well as studying well.

To reduce this problem, instead of getting tablets or tonics, you can go for eating some bananas.

You should have 2 bananas in order to heal your pain.

Even pregnant women can also eat bananas to overcome their morning sickness.

9. Heart Health

Potassium is of importance for heart health.

However, it seems that many people are not taking enough amount of potassium in their diet (38).

To address this problem, the recommendation is that you should increase the intake of bananas.

Facts have shown that bananas can provide people with a big dietary source of potassium.

According to a study, people who are associated with a potassium-rich diet suffer from 27-percent less danger of getting heart disease (39).

Also, a great amount of magnesium in bananas also plays a role in maintaining a healthy heart (40) (41).

Bottom line: Potassium and magnesium – 2 essential substances for healthy heart are both present in bananas, which explains for its effects of heart health.

10. Stress

It has been speculated that one of the mechanisms behind benefits of bananas is its ability to fight inflammation.

Containing the amino acid tryptophan which is converted into serotonin , bananas might help you feel better.

In fact, proper serotonin levels serve as  a tool to improve your mood, reduce stress effectively (42) (43) (44).

Also, this element can benefit your sleep quality.

You can also see stress prevention as one of many health benefits of cantaloupe.

Side Effects and Dosage

Beside a healthy fruit, banana can be one of the most available snacks for people.

There are many ways to process bananas. We can add it to yogurt, make smoothie or cereal.

Also, bananas are able to replace sugar in your cooking and baking.

However, it is imperative that diabetic patients pay attention to the amount of ripe bananas they consume.

Infographics

This section is designed to provide you with some infographics to grab a quick understanding of banana nutrition and health benefits.

Do you agree with all of these amazing health benefits of bananas? You can comment your ideas on the box below or simply share your own experience. 

And do not forget to LIKE, SHARE or PIN this article on social media.

(One Quick Tip: You can pin it onto Pinterest directly with the button on the left top of each picture).

Banana Nutrition Facts

Banana Health Benefits

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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