My favourite fruit and…honestly? It’s my favourite food!
I don’t think I could last a week without a banana, trust me. We’ve been in a state of deprivation without these for a few days and I was going loopy. There’s something so satisfying about a sweet startchy carb that can fill you up in less than 100 calories. Not to mention the multitude of recipes and creative ideas you have with this little gold bar of deliciousness.
What’s in a banana?
Not only are they super tasty and versatile they contain essential nutrients and have benefits for digestion! Aside from being very nutritious, they are also a highly convenient snack food. Here are 11 health benefits of bananas and a few ways to include more of them in your diet!
Bananas Contain Important Nutrients
Bananas are among the most popular fruits on earth – and they’re mine too! This fruit is native to Southeast Asia but soon became popular and cultivated in warmer parts of the world, most bananas are in fact grown in India and Uganda! Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also contains (1, 2, 3):
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
- Copper: 10% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
- Net carbs: 24 grams.
- Fiber: 3.1 grams.
- Protein: 1.3 grams.
- Fat: 0.4 grams.
Each banana contains only about 105 calories, and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas contain very little protein and almost no fat. The carbs in unripe (green) bananas consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but as the banana ripens, the starch turns into sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose).
Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories.
Bananas Contain Nutrients That Moderate Blood Sugar Levels
Bananas are rich in a specific fibre called pectin, which gives the flesh its structural form. Unripe bananas, bananas that have converted into sugars, contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fibre. Both pectin and resistant starch may moderate blood sugar levels after meals, and reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying. Keeping you fuller for longer.
Bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index, which is a measure (from 0–100) of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels. Which is amazing, considering most startchy foods rank highly on this list and contribute to sugar high’s and lows.
This means that bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.
Bananas contain nutrients that can help moderate blood sugar levels after meals. They may also reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying.
Bananas May Improve Digestive Health
Dietary fibre has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion. A medium-sized banana contains around 3 grams of fiber, making bananas a fairly good fibre source and a healthy one at that! Additionally, some cell studies propose that pectin may help protect against colon cancer. So edge your bets and protect your gut health from today.
Bananas May Help With Weight Loss
No study has directly tested the effects of bananas on weight loss – they bloody should. Most of my weight loss I would accurately attribute to the eating of a banana or more a day. Bananas have several features that should make them a weight loss friendly food and here’s why I think so.
- Bananas contain relatively few calories. An average banana contains just over 100 calories, yet it is also very nutritious and filling – not to mention extremely tasty!
- They’re fiber rich. Eating more fiber from fruit and vegetables has repeatedly been linked with lower body weight and weight loss.
Bananas Contain Powerful Antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants, and bananas are no exception. They contain several types of potent antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins. These antioxidants have been linked to many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases.
However, as with most foods that contain dopamine, you’d get a feel-good chemical reaction in the brain.In reality, dopamine from bananas does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It simply acts as a strong antioxidant instead of altering hormones or mood. They just taste really good so you feel good.
Bananas May Help You Feel More Full
Resistant starch is a type of indigestible carbohydrate found in unripe bananas, which functions sort of like soluble fiber in the body.As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the greener the banana is, the higher the amount of resistant starch it contains. On the other hand, ripe (yellow) bananas contain lower amounts of resistant starch and total fiber, but proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber.
Both pectin and resistant starch have been shown to have appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals.
Bananas May Have Benefits for Exercise
Bananas are often referred to as the perfect food for athletes and I would highly recommend it too. Largely due to their mineral content and easily digested carbs they’re an ideal food for fuel. Eating bananas may help reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness, which affect up to 95% of the general population.
Cramps are typical of post-exercise for dehydration and certain electrolyte imbalances. That being said, bananas have been shown to provide excellent nutrition before, during and after endurance exercise.
Bananas Are Easy to Add to Your Diet
Not only are bananas incredibly healthy — they’re also one of the most convenient snack foods around. Bananas make a great addition to your breakfast yogurt, cereal or smoothie. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking. Furthermore, bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants, due to their thick protective peel. Bananas are incredibly easy to eat and transport. They are usually well-tolerated and easily digested, and simply have to be peeled and eaten. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
- Banana custard – Try heating up and blending your banana into a custard.
- Use in baking – 1 banana and 1 teaspoon of honey per use of an egg.
- In a honey sandwhich or ontop of peanut butter on toast.
- Top your Breakfast, Oats, wheetabix, muesli, cornflakes, Toast.
- Eat as a snack for lunch or mid-day.
- Use as ice cream.
I hope all the information is valuable to you and you put it to best use. I will go further into why bananas are so important in your diet and for aiding weight loss.