Sometimes it can be challenging to find the right balance between healthy food that tastes good. One of my favorite healthy foods is bananas.
These nutrient-packed fruits are delicious and nutritious.
They’re easy to prepare, can be eaten as a snack, and come with a range of health benefits.
In this article, you will find 11 health benefits of bananas based on scientific evidence.
1. Bananas Contain Many Important Nutrients
Although they are native to Southeast Asia, today, you can find bananas in all parts of the world.
They are beneficial because they provide many nutrients. In fact, a medium banana (118 grams) provides:
- Fat: 0.4 grams.
- Carbohydrates: 24 grams.
- Protein: 1.3 grams.
- Fiber: 3.1 grams.
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.
- Copper: 10% of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
2. Bananas Contain Nutrients That Moderate Blood Sugar Levels
Bananas provide a type of fiber called pectin, which gives their flesh its spongy structural shape.
In addition, unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber.
Both pectin and resistant starch are beneficial for moderating blood sugar levels and reducing appetite.
In addition, bananas have a shallow glycemic index (GI); they do not generate blood sugar peaks when consumed.
3. Bananas May Improve Digestive Health
Bananas are one of the primary sources of fiber as they contain pectin and resistant starch.
According to studies done on test tubes, pectin reduces the risk of colon cancer.
4. Bananas May Aid Weight Loss
Although there are still no studies that confirm the beneficial effects of bananas for weight loss, bananas have specific attributes that would make them allies when it comes to losing weight.
First, bananas have few calories but provide a feeling of fullness for a long time.
Second, the consumption of fiber present in fruits such as bananas has been constantly associated with weight loss.
Finally, the resistant starch content in unripe bananas helps reduce appetite after consuming them.
5. Bananas May Support Heart Health
Potassium is essential for the health of the body. However, most people do not get enough potassium in their diets.
Notably, bananas contain 9% of the RDI for potassium.
Potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, bananas also contain magnesium, a mineral that protects against heart disease.
6. Bananas Contain Powerful Antioxidants
These antioxidants are beneficial for health because they reduce the risk of degenerative disease and coronary heart disease.
However, keep in mind that the dopamine present in bananas only acts as an antioxidant and not as the brain chemical that makes you feel good.
7. Bananas May Help You Feel More Full
As it has a large amount of resistant starch and pectin, bananas help prolong the feeling of fullness.
Keep in mind that the greener the banana is, the more resistant starch it provides.
8. Unripe Bananas May Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin resistance is associated with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
According to studies, the consumption of 15 to 30 grams of resistant starch per day helps improve insulin sensitivity between 33% and 55%.
However, studies still do not agree on the reason why the banana helps improve insulin sensitivity.
9. Bananas May Improve Kidney Health
Another beneficial effect of potassium is that it helps the kidneys function healthily.
As bananas provide a lot of potassium, they are beneficial for kidney health.
According to a study carried out on women, the consumption of 2 or 3 bananas per week reduces the risk of kidney disease by 33%.
In addition, other studies have found that consuming 4 to 6 bananas per week reduces the risk of kidney disease by 50%.
10. Bananas May Have Benefits for Exercise
Bananas help reduce muscle cramps and soreness, which affect more than 95% of the population.
Although the cause of cramps is not yet known, it is assumed that they are produced by a mixture of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
In this sense, although there are studies that prove the positive effect of bananas on calming cramps, there are other studies that reject this information.
Beyond that, bananas are beneficial before, during, and after physical activity.
11. Bananas Are Easy to Add to Your Diet
Bananas are one of the most convenient snacks.
You can consume them raw or add them to yogurts and smoothies. You can also use it as a sweetener to replace sugar when you bake.
Another benefit is that bananas do not have pesticides due to the thickness of their skin.
The Bottom Line
Bananas are delicious fruits that provide a host of health benefits.
Among its benefits are improving the digestive process and the prevention of heart disease, among others.
In addition, they are great allies in weight-loss diets.