Bananas are nutrient-dense and healthy, but you should avoid eating more than 2 a day. According to the USDA, the amount of fruit you should eat a day is as follows:
- 2 cups a day for men older than 19 years
- 2 cups a day for women between the ages of 19 and 30 years
- 1.5 cups a day for women older than 31 years
A single banana is equivalent to 1 cup of fruit.
What is the nutritional value of bananas?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
A medium-sized (about 118 grams) of fresh banana contains:
- 105 calories
- 27 grams of carbs
- 3 grams of fiber
- 0.3 grams of fat
- 1 gram of protein
- 17% of the daily value of vitamin C
- 22% of the daily value of vitamin B6
- 12% of the daily value of potassium
- 16% of the daily value of manganese
- 8% of the daily value of magnesium
These micronutrients reduce stress, inflammation and irritation, as well as the risk of chronic illnesses.
What are the health benefits of bananas?
- Blood pressure: Potassium in bananas regulates blood pressure, making it beneficial for people with hypertension.
- Heart rate: The high magnesium content of bananas is beneficial to heart health. Studies suggest that magnesium deficiency is associated with hypertension, type II diabetes, and high cholesterol.
- Mood: Vitamin B6 in bananas helps the body effectively produce and utilize serotonin. This can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and promote restful sleep.
- Sugar levels: A single banana contains about 14 grams of naturally occurring sugar. However, the fiber content slows sugar absorption, minimizing blood sugar spikes.
- Weight loss: Bananas are low in calories and fat but high in fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer. Furthermore, both resistant starch and pectin have appetite-suppressing properties, providing additional support in losing weight.
- Digestive health: Because of their high fiber content, bananas may help prevent constipation and diarrhea. They are also easy to digest, which makes them part of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast).
- Anemia: Consuming bananas are good for combating anemia because they are rich in iron and B vitamins.
- Eye health: Vitamin A in bananas is crucial for maintaining eye health.
- Bone health: Bananas are rich in calcium and great for bone health.
- Muscle function: Bananas can help improve muscle function, which in turn can improve stamina and endurance.
- Workouts: Bananas are a readily digested source of carbohydrates, which are the preferred fuel during exercise. They are light on your stomach and will not slow you down throughout your workouts. Eating bananas before or after exercise can also help prevent muscle cramps because of their high water and nutrient content.
- Oxidative stress: Bananas contain vitamin C, which is a vital antioxidant that protects the body from damaging free radicals.
- Convenience: Bananas are incredibly versatile, accessible all year, and are one of the least expensive fruits available. They are also convenient and easy to take on the go.
Are there side effects of eating too many bananas?
- Nausea: Although potassium is good for the body, ingesting too much of it increases the risk of side effects such as nausea.
- Headache: Bananas contain phenylethylamine and tyramine, which can result in an increased flow of blood to the brain and subsequent headaches. The riper the banana, the higher the tyramine content, so it may be best to avoid eating overripe bananas.
- Digestive issues: While bananas are a great way to add fiber to your diet and keep you regular, eating too much fiber can cause digestive problems, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and gas.
- Blood sugar spikes: People with diabetes should eat a well-balanced diet that includes all macronutrients: carbs, fat, and protein. Eating too many bananas might disturb this equilibrium, resulting in blood sugar fluctuations.
- Weight gain: Bananas are higher in calories and carbs than other fruits, so eating too many can lead to weight gain.
- Fatigue: Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, which helps with sleep. Magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant, adds to this feeling. Excessive consumption could therefore lead to drowsiness and fatigue.
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Harvard T.H. Chan. Bananas. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/
Raymond J. The Health Benefits of Bananas. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/health-benefits-bananas
Morton J. Banana. p. 29-46. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. 1987. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/banana.html
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Bananas. https://www.fao.org/markets-and-trade/commodities/bananas/en/
Yang N. Ripe vs. Unripe Bananas: Which Are Better for You? One Green Planet. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/ripe-vs-unripe-bananas-which-are-better-for-you/