Bananas are good for weight loss because they have fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you full. Research has found that eating high levels of fiber can reduce the risk of weight gain by up to 30%. You can eat up to one banana a day as part of a healthy diet for weight loss. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of bananas and their potential side effects.
Banana Health Benefits
Supports gut health
Bananas have a soothing effect on the gut thanks to their high content of pectin, a soluble fiber that not only helps lower cholesterol but normalizes bowel function. The high fiber content of bananas helps to promote feelings of fullness and appears to reduce bloating.
The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to fuel the gut bacteria so they both increase in number and produce beneficial compounds called short-chain fatty acids.
May support heart health
Bananas are loaded with valuable micronutrients, especially potassium, which is one of the most important electrolytes in the body. Potassium helps to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance which is a key factor in managing blood pressure. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable scientific evidence.
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It may help in the management of heartburn
Unripe bananas help to neutralize stomach acid and a plant compound they contain, leucocyanidin, appears to promote the thickness of the mucous membrane of the stomach. This means bananas, as long as they are under-ripe, may be a useful dietary addition for those with heartburn.
Are an energy booster
Since they have a low water content, bananas typically have more calories as well as a higher sugar content compared to other fruits. They contain sugar in the form of sucrose, fructose, and glucose in combination with fiber, this allows them to supply an instant yet sustained boost of energy. Being rich in potassium they support muscle contraction during exercise and may reduce the risk of cramping. As such bananas make a valuable inclusion both before and during a prolonged form of intensive exercise.
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May support mood
Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. This brain chemical is known to help relaxation, improve mood, lessen anxiety, and generally make you feel happier. However, it is very difficult to raise blood levels of tryptophan through diet alone, and although animal studies suggest a possible link between the consumption of bananas and improvements in anxiety and depression it is likely to be more to do with the banana’s antioxidant content rather than their tryptophan contribution.
100 grams Banana Nutrition
- Calories: 89
- Water: 75%
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Carbs: 22.8 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.6 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
Bananas are a rich source of carbs, which occur mainly as starch in unripe bananas and sugars in ripe bananas. The carb composition of bananas changes drastically during ripening.
The main component of unripe bananas is starch. Green bananas contain up to 80% starch measured in dry weight. During ripening, the starch is converted into sugars and ends up being less than 1% when the banana is fully ripe.
The most common types of sugar in ripe bananas are sucrose, fructose, and glucose. In ripe bananas, the total sugar content can reach more than 16% of the fresh weight.
Bananas have a relatively low glycemic index (GI) of 42–58, depending on their ripeness. The GI is a measure of how quickly carbs in food enter your bloodstream and raise blood sugar. Bananas’ high content of resistant starch and fiber explains their low GI.
A high proportion of the starch in unripe bananas is resistant starch, which passes through your gut undigested. In your large intestine, this starch is fermented by bacteria to form butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that appears to have beneficial effects on gut health.
Bananas are also a good source of other types of fiber, such as pectin. Some of the pectin in bananas is water-soluble. When bananas ripen, the proportion of water-soluble pectin increases, which is one of the main reasons why bananas turn soft as they age. Both pectin and resistant starch moderate the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Vitamins and minerals
Bananas are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Potassium: Bananas are a good source of potassium. A diet high in potassium can lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels and benefit heart health.
Vitamin B6: Bananas are high in vitamin B6. One medium-sized banana can provide up to 33% of the Daily Value (DV) of this vitamin.
Vitamin C: Like most fruit, bananas are a good source of vitamin C.
Other plant compounds
Fruits and vegetables contain numerous types of bioactive plant compounds, and bananas are no exception.
Dopamine: Although it is an important neurotransmitter in your brain, dopamine from bananas doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier to affect mood. Rather, it acts as an antioxidant.
Catechin: Several antioxidant flavonoids are found in bananas, most notably catechins. They have been linked to various health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease.
Banana Side Effects
Side effects of bananas are rare but may include bloating, gas, cramping, softer stools, nausea, and vomiting. In very high doses, bananas might cause high blood levels of potassium. Some people are allergic to bananas.
It is one of the common adverse effects of these yellow fruits which most of us are not aware of. Bananas contain tyramine that can affect your health and cause severe headaches.
If you are allergic to avocado, kiwi, or chestnut, you may also be allergic to bananas.
Consuming more than two bananas in a short period of time can damage your nervous system.
Don’t eat bananas before going to bed, as it can lead to insomnia.
Bananas are high in both carbs and sugar. Eating too many of them can result in dental problems such as tooth decay and erosion of tooth enamel.
The lack of fat
In order to function properly, your body needs healthy fats. Bananas contain no fats, so you should balance your diet with salmon, olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
The lack of protein
If you love eating bananas, you should know that they cannot fill your body with protein. In order to avoid protein deficiency, you should eat high-protein products such as eggs, chicken, or cottage cheese.
It’s a condition caused by abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood. If you over-consume bananas, you can experience this disease.
These yellow fruits can affect your health and cause constipation.
These fruits contain a large amount of sugar. Overconsumption of bananas can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
If you do take medication, it’s crucial to consult your doctor before balancing your diet with bananas.
Eating too many bananas can lead to diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other digestive problems.
These yellow fruits contain starch that can also result in the previously mentioned digestive problems.