Bananas have so many health benefits. It’s not surprising that it is the world’s most appealing fresh fruit.
The typical American consumes 11.4 pounds of bananas each year. That level of consumption makes a banana America’s favorite fresh fruit.
Bananas are so healthy I think the saying should change to ‘a banana a day keeps the doctor away’.
Now, let’s get down to it – what are these health benefits of bananas?
1. Bananas are nutrient-rich
One of the most important health benefits of banana is that it’s loaded with vital nutrients. One serving of banana, which is about 120 grams, contains:
- 110 calories
- 1 gram of protein
- 30 grams of carbohydrates
- Vitamin c
- Vitamin B6
Additionally, bananas contain antioxidants.
2. Eating bananas promote heart health
Fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and C are all nutrients in bananas that promote heart health.
Potassium helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because it helps to reduce the intake of sodium, according to this study.
The study found something fascinating. People who consume 4069 mg of potassium daily have a 49% lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease.
High potassium intake also reduces the risk of stroke. Additionally, bananas have magnesium, which also promotes heart health.
3. Bananas are rich in potassium
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. This mineral is essential to the body for the following reasons:
- Regulates movement of nutrients and waste products
- Maintains fluid balance
- Helps in the contraction of muscles and responsiveness of nerve cells
- Moderates blood pressure
- Reduces the risk of kidney stones
Despite its importance, very few people get enough potassium. The averaged size banana contains about 422 milligrams of potassium. That’s 9 percent of the recommended (RDI).
4. Eating bananas improve digestion
The average banana has around 3 grams of fiber. Therefore, it is safe to say that bananas are a good source of fiber.
One of the many benefits of dietary fiber includes improved digestion. Bananas have two main types of dietary fiber:
- Resistant starch
These two fiber types are abundant in unripe bananas.
Resistant starch ends up in the colon, where it becomes prebiotic (food for beneficial bacteria).
Pectin has a host of health benefits, including protection against colon cancer.
5. Eating bananas helps with weight loss
One of the many health benefits of bananas has to do with weight loss.
Bananas have several attributes that make them useful for weight loss:
- Fewer calories, about 110 per serving
- Easy to digest due to the high fiber content
- They are very filling, meaning you will not eat much
- The resistant starch reduces hunger by inhibiting the release of ghrelin (the hunger hormone)
Moreover, according to this study, bananas boost metabolism. Increased metabolism helps in weight loss.
6. Eating bananas can moderate blood sugar
The fiber in bananas helps moderate blood sugar levels. Unripe bananas especially are rich in both resistant starch and pectin.
Also, bananas have a medium-to-low glycemic index (GI). The GI represents how quickly food spikes the sugar levels.
The average GI score of all types of bananas is 51. So, usually, bananas do not cause blood sugar levels in individuals without type 2 diabetes.
7. Eating bananas can help prevent anemia
According to this research, bananas have high iron content. As such, they can help in treating anemia, as iron helps optimize the function of red blood cells.
Also, bananas have copper, a mineral that helps in the formation of red blood cells.
A high red blood cell count prevents anemia and increases oxygen circulation.
8. Bananas are a source of antioxidants
Like other fruits and vegetables, bananas have dietary antioxidants. They contain different types of antioxidants, including catechins and dopamine.
Catechins and other antioxidants have many health benefits.
This includes a decreased risk of neurodegenerative conditions, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The dopamine in bananas does not act as a feel-good chemical to the brain.
It does not affect the blood-brain barrier. Instead, it serves as a powerful antioxidant.
9. Eating bananas can help soothe ulcers
Traditionally, bananas were used as an antacid. They can soothe the pain of ulcers by suppressing the secretion of acid.
Contemporary medicine supports that bananas can soothe ulcers.
Health researchers found out that bananas increase mucus in the gut. This, in turn, can prevent and soothe stomach ulcers.
This research continues to support the anti-ulcerogenic properties in bananas.
According to the study, bananas have protease inhibitors. This helps to get rid of harmful bacteria that cause of stomach ulcers.
10. Eating bananas can help with type 2 diabetes management
Insulin resistance is a significant risk factor of type 2 diabetes and a huge concern for people with the condition.
One of the health benefits of eating bananas is that bananas can improve insulin resistance.
So, why do bananas improve insulin resistance? Because they are a great source of resistant starch, especially the unripe ones.
According to research, a daily intake of between 15 and 30 grams of resistant starch can improve insulin resistance by more than 30 percent in a period as short as a month.
Other studies suggest that fiber foods (such as bananas) improve blood sugar levels.
This is especially true in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Remember, the average banana has about 3 grams of fiber.
So, several bananas a day put you pretty close to the recommended daily intake of fiber, which is 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men.
11. Bananas are a great workout snack
Due to their easily digestible carbs and mineral content, bananas are an excellent food for people who regularly exercise.
According to this study, bananas can help reduce exercise-related problems.
For example muscle soreness and cramps. Besides, bananas do provide the nutrients needed during exercise.
12. Eating bananas helps improve bone health
Bananas are not the most excellent source of calcium. However, they do play a role in improving bone strength.
According to this study, bananas are a rich source of fructosaccharides. This is a group of carbohydrates that improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
13. Eating bananas can enhance vision
Like other fruits, bananas have vitamin A, carotenoids, and other antioxidants and minerals that enhance vision.
Fruits help prevent night blindness, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision problems.
According to the National Health Institute, vitamin A protects the protective membranes around your eyes. This plays a role in bringing light to your corneas.
While bananas are not the greatest source of vitamin A, they will contribute to your daily intake of this vision nutrient.