Banana nutrition and its health benefits | Nutrition

Banana nutrition and its health benefits

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. Banana is not only a tasty snack, but the fruit also consists of many important nutrients that have a protective impact on our physical and mental health. In this article, we will explore what nutrition bananas have and their health benefits.

Banana nutrition

Nutritional value of banana

According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a medium-sized fresh banana consists of the following nutrients [1]:

  • Energy: 105 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Fiber: 3.1 grams
  • Protein: 1.3 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Magnesium: 31.9 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 26 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 10.3 milligrams
  • Potassium: 422 milligrams
  • Manganese: 31.9 milligrams
  • Choline: 11.6 milligrams
  • Selenium: 1.9 micrograms

Health Benefits of Bananas

Bananas are not one of the most sought-after superfoods for no reason. They provide a wide range of nutritional and health benefits. Here are a few science-based health benefits of bananas:

1. Maintains heart health

Did you know that bananas are a powerful source of potassium? A medium-sized banana gives you around 422 milligrams of potassium according to the nutritional information from the above source. This mineral is a big player in heart health. Potassium-rich foods relax the walls of your blood vessels and get rid of sodium when you urinate, all of which help lower blood pressure.

In addition, bananas are excellent sources of antioxidants such as flavonoids and amines. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and they protect our body against everyday toxins and stressors that may reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

2. Speeds workout recovery time

Banana is also sometimes referred to as the “perfect food” for athletes. During strenuous exercises, our body loses electrolytes through sweat. Banana consists of easily digested carbohydrates, which serve as replenishment for our body’s electrolytes.

Research suggests that male cyclists who had a banana before pedaling had more energy and had faster metabolic recovery than those who just drank water or a sugary beverage. [3] Furthermore, being rich in potassium and magnesium, banana consumption can help support muscle contraction and reduce the risk of soreness and cramps during workouts.

3. Supports gut health

This yellow fruit is known to be beneficial for our gut health too as they are an excellent source of fiber. Bananas consist of a high amount of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which has been linked to many health benefits including reduced inflammation and improved digestive health. [2]

Soluble fibre plays a role in controlling your blood sugar level and lowering cholesterol, while insoluble fibre adds softness to stools, and thus promoting bowel regularity. A medium-sized banana will provide about 10-12% of your total daily fibre needs. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends a daily dietary fibre intake of 20g for women and 26g for men.

4. Preserving memory and boosting mood

Bananas are not just beneficial for our physical health. It turns out that bananas are great for having a healthy mind. Banana consists of an amino acid called tryptophan which our body uses to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This brain chemical is known to boost our mood and lessen anxiety levels. A study conducted on a Chinese population has also shown that eating bananas are able to relieve depressive symptoms among patients suffering from depression. [4] In addition, tryptophan is also responsible for preserving our memory, as it helps our ability to learn and retain information.

How many calories are there in bananas?

The calorie count of a banana can range from 70 calories to 135 calories depending on the size of the banana. On average, it is safe to estimate the caloric content of a banana to be around 105 calories. Due to its relatively low caloric count as compared to other fruits, fiber intake from bananas is repeatedly associated with weight loss. [5]

How many bananas are recommended daily?

Although bananas provide a range of nutritional and health benefits, consuming too many a day could also be detrimental. Overconsumption of bananas can lead to health problems such as poor blood sugar control and other nutrient deficiencies.

There are no strict guidelines on the number of bananas an individual can take in a day, but one or two bananas a day is likely to be safe for most people. That said, people with higher blood glucose levels may be more sensitive to bananas than others. It is best to consult your doctor or registered dietitian about including bananas into your daily meal plan.

Are bananas safe for everyone?

While bananas are generally safe for most people, they may sometimes trigger migraines in people who are susceptible to them. Bananas may also initiate an allergic reaction in some people and this may come in the form of itching, hives, swelling or breathing difficulties. Allergy symptoms normally develop within minutes of consumption. You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of these reactions.

Summary

Bananas are an incredibly popular fruit that consists of many essential nutrients that keeps us physically and mentally healthy. It is worth noting that nutrients in bananas can boost our overall energy levels, support gut and heart health, and prevent diseases.

It is recommended to adhere to a wholesome diet that provides a range of nutrients that your body needs, instead of relying on a single source. While bananas are a tasty and safe snack for most, it is best to consult your GP prior to consumption if you have specific dietary restrictions or are prone to allergic reactions.

References

[1] https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/dietary-guidelines/previous-dietary-guidelines/2015

[2] Amini Khoozani, A., Birch, J., & Bekhit, 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://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-018-03562-z

[3] Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Sha, W., Esposito, D., & Ramamoorthy, S. (2018). Metabolic recovery from heavy exertion following banana compared to sugar beverage or water only ingestion: A randomized, crossover trial. PloS one, 13(3), e0194843. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194843

[4] Ji, T., Li, X., Meng, G., Gu, Y., Zhang, Q., Liu, L., Wu, H., Yao, Z., Zhang, S., Wang, Y., Zhang, T., Wang, X., Cao, X., Li, H., Liu, Y., Wang, X., Wang, X., Sun, S., Zhou, M., Jia, Q., … Niu, K. (2020). The association between banana consumption and the depressive symptoms in Chinese general adult population: A cross-sectional study. Journal of affective disorders, 264, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.12.008

[5] Miketinas, D. C., Bray, G. A., Beyl, R. A., Ryan, D. H., Sacks, F. M., & Champagne, C. M. (2019). Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. The Journal of nutrition, 149(10), 1742–1748. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz117

2 COMMENTS

    • Hi Abba. Thank you for your question. There are many health benefits associated with bananas. However, with regards to kidney health and uric acid, we strongly advise you to speak to a nutritionist or a doctor.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Tools Designed for Healthier Eyes

Explore our specifically designed products and services backed by eye health professionals to help keep your children safe online and their eyes healthy.

blank