11 Evidence-Based Benefits Of Bananas

Are bananas good for you? 

Well, there’s a recommendation to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, including bananas. 

This food is available worldwide, it is easy to eat and versatile to prepare different dishes. 

So, bananas are available and very cheap even if you don’t have a cookbook or follow a recipe.

In this article, we’re bringing up the topic of banana nutrition. 

After reading, you will know the health benefits of bananas and some important tips to learn if you’re planning to eat more of them. 

The nutritional value of bananas is very rich, as you will see. Thus, the benefits of eating bananas go beyond a fulfilling snack or dessert.

How healthy is a banana?

Eating bananas is very healthy for most people. They are nutritious and contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is also a source of fiber which we will talk about in detail further.

They are inexpensive, filling, tasty, and a portable source of micronutrients. It is a common fruit for babies and is considered a staple food in many countries.

Are bananas good for you?

Are bananas healthy? Yes, they are. The only individuals that should be careful around bananas are patients with diabetes. 

This food can raise their blood sugar, especially if not controlled. So, if you have diabetes or suspect this disease, ask your doctor if bananas are good for you.

But why are bananas good for you? In the following section, we will give attention to 11 scientific facts about bananas that you should know.

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11 evidence-based benefits of bananas

Most of these facts are based on the Cavendish variety of bananas, the most common in grocery stores. Bananas’ nutritional info and applications can have slight changes in other varieties. But in general, what are the benefits of eating bananas? 

Here’s a list with a few worth considering:

1) Bananas provide plenty of micronutrients

As expected from a fruit, one of the health facts of bananas has to do with nutrition. Bananas contain around 90 calories per 100 grams. 

These calories come almost exclusively from carbohydrates, but they have a minimum amount of protein. So, do bananas give you energy? Most definitely so.

The most valuable banana nutrients are vitamins and minerals. What vitamins are in bananas? We have vitamin C, riboflavin, and folate. You will get 12, 6, and 5% of your daily recommended intake of these vitamins after eating a medium-sized banana. 

Most people link bananas and potassium intake because one piece provides 10% of the daily recommended intake of this electrolyte. You also get 11% of the recommended intake of copper and 8% of the recommended magnesium intake.

An interesting fact about bananas is fiber. You will get more or less fiber depending on whether the banana is unripe or ripe. 

As bananas turn their color from green to yellow and then black, the fiber content is reduced every step of the way, becoming sweeter (1).

2) It prevents glycemic spikes after a meal

The type of fiber contained in bananas is soluble in water. After dissolving, it becomes a gel-like substance that improves bowel movements while delaying carbohydrate digestion. 

So, even if a single banana contains almost 30 grams of carbohydrates, they are not absorbed immediately. Slow absorption helps your body deal with sugar progressively.

The reason why people with diabetes should be careful around bananas is because of the total glycemic load. But they are an excellent option if you don’t have high blood sugar issues and want to prevent them. Moreover, they regulate appetite by slowing stomach emptying (2).

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3) Bananas support digestive health

The digestion process is complex and depends on the autonomic nervous system function. The nervous impulses depend on gut contents, nutrients, and other elements we cannot reach. But we can change them indirectly and modulate bowel movements by choosing what we eat.

The fiber content in bananas is around 3 grams per piece. They are not probiotics, but they are prebiotics

In other words, they feed healthy gut bacteria and help them thrive. Fiber also helps prevent constipation. It provides bulk and softens your stools while preventing colon cancer (3).

4) They can be useful to lose weight

Bananas can also be used for weight loss. As long as you don’t overeat bananas, they can be excellent snacks and regulate your appetite. 

Moreover, its sugar is not absorbed immediately, giving time to handle sugar without storing the excess in the fatty tissue.

Banana usage for weight loss depends on its ripeness. You can have fewer carbohydrates in unripe bananas. They are better if you want to reduce your calorie intake. 

They also reduce your appetite to a greater extent due to their high starch content. So, think about bananas for your next weight loss smoothies (4).

5) They can prevent cardiovascular disease

Are bananas good for your heart? The answer is yes because they contain plenty of magnesium and antioxidant properties. 

This mineral supports heart health and the circulatory system. You get 8% of the daily recommendation of magnesium intake for each medium-sized banana.

They also contain plenty of potassium, which has the opposite effect of sodium. By having more potassium in your bloodstream, your blood pressure levels tend to decrease. 

Thus, it can be a good idea to start eating bananas as a part of blood pressure management. Some studies suggest that heart disease risk reduces by up to 15% after eating a potassium-rich diet (5).

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6) Bananas contain plenty of antioxidants

This food is also a must-have if you are worried about free radicals and oxidative damage. B

ananas’ uses extend to the field of degenerative diseases because they contain amines and flavonoids that protect body tissues.

This is an additional reason why they are recommended for cardiovascular disease. Flavonoid content in bananas can reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of LDL particles. In other words, antioxidants prevent fat plaques from obstructing your blood vessels (6).

7) They promote satiety

If you tend to wake up several times in the night to eat a snack, you can try eating a banana. This food adds bulk to the digestive system, sending the signal that it is distended and already filled. So, you will naturally feel that you don’t need to eat anything else.

They are relatively low-calorie foods with a satiating potential. Thus, you could choose them over sugary snacks and other processed foods. 

If you have time, you can also make a smoothie blending a banana with Greek yogurt to promote satiety and weight loss (7).

8) Bananas can boost prostate health

It’s worth discussing the benefits of bananas for prostate health. One of the causes of prostate problems is oxidative damage. 

In other words, the prostate gland is a common site of free radical damage. This triggers prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia in the long term.

As noted in this article, bananas contain plenty of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids. These substances are expected to reduce the incidence of prostate disease by regulating the cell cycle and interfering in cancer signaling (10).

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9) Bananas may support kidney health

Potassium is not only helpful for cardiovascular health. It also supports kidney health

By lowering blood pressure levels, the potassium in bananas can slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. 

However, this is true in early-stage diseases. Patients with chronic conditions and those who need dialysis may have different requirements. Some may need to restrict their potassium intake (9).

10) Bananas can aid with pre-diabetes and insulin sensitivity

Before type 2 diabetes ensues, people usually have insulin resistance. Their insulin is not well-received by the cell, and more insulin is required to do the work. This leads to an overload of pancreas work, which ultimately causes this organ to fail.

According to studies, eating foods with resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity. 

Bananas contain this type of fiber and can be ideal for overweight and obese people who do not yet have type 2 diabetes. It can even be useful for patients with diabetes under supervision (8).

11) Bananas can also be of help in erectile dysfunction

Many people have also found that bananas improve erectile dysfunction. Bananas contain antioxidants. These potentially reduce atherosclerosis in penile blood vessels and the incidence of vasculogenic erectile dysfunction.

Also, the amino acid tryptophan in bananas is helpful to get your dopamine. During sexual function, dopamine is essential to trigger erections. 

It is also important to prevent depression, which also causes sexual problems. Combined with potassium and blood pressure regulation, bananas are an excellent idea to include in the diet if you’re worried about erectile issues.

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What is the right time to eat a banana?

Are bananas good in the morning, afternoon, or before sleep? No matter when you eat them, the benefits are there for you. 

However, there are a few moments in which eating bananas feel much better:

  • Post-workout or before exercising to increase your energy stores.
  • A dessert banana or in the evening to avoid eating late at night.
  • In the morning, with breakfast to increase your energy level.

How many bananas do you need to eat to experience the benefits?

As you can see, there are many benefits of a banana a day. But do you need more than one? 

As the portion size increases, you get more nutrients. But we usually recommend one or two every day. 

More than that can give you a sugar crash because it has zero fat and only a tiny portion of protein.

As mentioned above, the glycemic load after eating a banana can rise dramatically in people with diabetes. Thus, if you suffer from this ailment, ask your doctor if bananas are good for you.

Conclusion

We gave you in this article 11 examples of how healthy are bananas, starting from the nutritional content of a banana to their applications in different fields, including men’s health. 

How do bananas help your body? It depends on whether or not you have a problem in the first place. In most cases, bananas are useful to prevent future diseases (diabetes, overweight, cardiovascular disease). In some cases, they can be helpful to counter some ailments (hypertension, constipation).

Regardless of how you use them, remember to include bananas as a part of a healthy and balanced diet, with many other fruits and vegetables.

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Sources

  1. Patterson, M. A., Maiya, M., & Stewart, M. L. (2020). Resistant starch content in foods commonly consumed in the United States: A narrative review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120(2), 230-244. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32040399/
  2. Lin, Y., Huybrechts, I., Vereecken, C., Mouratidou, T., Valtuena, J., Kersting, M., … & De Henauw, S. (2015). Dietary fiber intake and its association with indicators of adiposity and serum biomarkers in European adolescents: the HELENA study. European journal of nutrition, 54(5), 771-782. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25129656/
  3. Amini Khoozani, A., Birch, J., & Bekhit, A. E. D. A. (2019). Production, application and health effects of banana pulp and peel flour in the food industry. Journal of food science and technology, 56(2), 548-559. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30906012/
  4. Higgins, J. A. (2014). Resistant starch and energy balance: impact on weight loss and maintenance. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 54(9), 1158-1166. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24499148/
  5. Houston, M. C. (2011). The importance of potassium in managing hypertension. Current hypertension reports, 13(4), 309-317. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21403995/
  6. Wang, X., Ouyang, Y. Y., Liu, J., & Zhao, G. (2014). Flavonoid intake and risk of CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(1), 1-11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23953879/
  7. Rebello, C., Greenway, F. L., & Dhurandhar, N. V. (2014). Functional foods to promote weight loss and satiety. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 17(6), 596-604. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25159561/
  8. Gao, C., Rao, M., Huang, W., Wan, Q., Yan, P., Long, Y., … & Xu, Y. (2019). Resistant starch ameliorated insulin resistant in patients of type 2 diabetes with obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lipids in health and disease, 18(1), 1-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31760943/
  9. Mun, K. H., Im Yu, G., Choi, B. Y., Kim, M. K., Shin, M. H., & Shin, D. H. (2019). Association of dietary potassium intake with the development of chronic kidney disease and renal function in patients with mildly decreased kidney function: The Korean Multi-Rural Communities cohort study. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 25, 1061. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30733429/
  10. Mondal, A., Banerjee, S., Bose, S., Das, P. P., Sandberg, E. N., Atanasov, A. G., & Bishayee, A. (2021). Cancer preventive and therapeutic potential of banana and its bioactive constituents: a systematic, comprehensive, and mechanistic review. Frontiers in Oncology, 2214. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34307163/

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