Health Benefits of Bananas: Bananas are healthy, it’s no secret. They contain many essential nutrients and have a positive effect on digestion and heart health. Bananas can even help you lose weight too! We tell you 7 reasons why the banana is so healthy and answer frequently asked questions!
Where does the Banana come from?
Bananas are among the most popular types of fruit in the world. No wonder, because they are not only delicious but also super practical as a healthy snack!
Bananas originally come from Asia but are now primarily imported from South and Central America and Africa.
Top 6 Health Benefits of Bananas
So here are the top 6 health benefits of Bananas.
1. Bananas contain good nutrients
Bananas can be of different colors, shapes, and sizes. The most common type of banana you can buy is the “Cavendish” dessert banana. This banana is green when unripe and yellow when ripe. In Africa, on the other hand, a lot of cooking is done with plantains.
Here you will find the nutritional values of 100 grams of bananas. An average banana weighs about 120 grams.
|Nutritional values of bananas per 100 grams|
|Vitamin A||0 µg|
|vitamin E||0.27 mg|
|vitamin C||11 mg|
A banana has around 100 kilocalories and consists primarily of water and carbohydrates, it contains little protein and almost no fat.
In green bananas, the carbohydrates are almost exclusively starches and resistant starches, but the ripening process then converts these starches into sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose).
The nutritional value table makes it clear how rich in vitamins and minerals bananas are. acid, iron, copper, and beta-carotene.
Bananas are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that are good for our bodies. The fruit is also almost fat-free, but very rich in carbohydrates.
2. Bananas can help you lose weight
It contains an average of 100 calories – but at the same time, the fruit is very filling and provides important nutrients. Eating fiber from fruits and vegetables has been shown time and again in studies to be a factor in maintaining a healthy weight and weight loss ( 2Trusted Source ).
Unripe, green bananas also contain a lot of resistant starch – so they are very filling and can reduce appetite. Bananas are resistant starch granules, one of three types of resistant starch. Due to the arrangement of its starch chains and grains, it cannot be broken down and, in addition to green bananas, it is also found in raw potatoes and raw corn, for example.
During digestion, only about ten percent of ingested starch makes it to the colon unchanged, which automatically causes the body to absorb fewer calories.
One study also showed that 24 grams of banana starch daily led to a weight loss of 1.2 kilograms after four weeks.
Bananas can help you lose weight because they are very nutritious. In addition, green bananas score with resistant starch.
3. Bananas can regulate blood sugar levels
What also makes bananas healthy is the pectins they contain: water-soluble dietary fiber that swells in the intestines and thus slows down digestion. In combination with the resistant starch, it regulates blood sugar levels and curbs appetite.
Bananas also have a low glycemic index (GI) – this ranks foods from 0 to 100 according to how much blood sugar levels rise after eating a food. Unripe bananas have a GI of 30, while ripe bananas have a GI of 60. The average GI of bananas is 52.
However, eating large amounts of ripe bananas is not recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. If you still eat bananas, you should pay attention to your blood sugar level afterward.
Low carb tip: The green bananas contain more starch than sugar and can therefore also be integrated into a low-carb diet.
Bananas can regulate blood sugar levels through pectins and resistant starch and have an appetite-suppressing effect.
4. Bananas ensure healthy digestion
Dietary fiber has many benefits and is also what makes bananas healthy. Although bananas are not among the most fiber-rich fruits, they still contain 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Bananas contain the fibers pectin and resistant starch in particular.
Resistant starch passes through the small intestine undigested and is broken down (fermented) in the large intestine by intestinal bacteria and in the absence of oxygen. The short-chain fatty acids propionate, acetate, and butyrate are formed. The latter is considered to be the main source of energy for the cells of the colonic mucosa.
As a healthy snack, bananas can also help with diarrhea because the pectins they contain delay bowel emptying. It is best to mash the banana with a fork before eating. Some studies have also shown that pectins can prevent colon cancer
The resistant starch and pectins contained in bananas are good for intestinal health and can protect against colon cancer. Bananas also help with diarrhea.
5. Bananas are good for your heart and kidneys
The minerals they contain also make bananas healthy: the mineral potassium is important for the heart and blood pressure. According to a study, however, many people do not get enough potassium through food. Bananas are a great source of potassium, with an average fruit providing about nine percent of your daily requirement.
A high-potassium diet can lower blood pressure, some studies have shown: that people who consumed a lot of potassium had a 27 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Magnesium also ensures a healthy heart. Bananas contain at least 30 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. A magnesium deficiency, on the other hand, can increase the risk of heart failure or stroke.
Potassium also ensures a healthy kidney. A long-term study showed that the risk of kidney disease in women who ate a banana two to three times a week was 33 percent lower than in the comparison group. Other studies even showed a 50 percent lower risk when eating bananas four to six times.
Bananas contain potassium and magnesium — these nutrients are important for a healthy heart and may protect against kidney disease.
6. Bananas contain important antioxidants
Fruit and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, including bananas. It contains various antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins. These can lower the risk of heart disease or degenerative disease.
Dopamine is considered a feel-good agent – however, the dopamine from bananas does not get into the brain, it only acts as a powerful antioxidant. The high serotonin content, on the other hand, puts you in a good mood, and the high fructose content also stimulates the body’s own production of the “happiness hormone”.
Bananas are high in antioxidants that can fight free radicals and protect against various diseases.
7. Green Bananas lower insulin sensitivity
Green bananas are also healthy. Insulin sensitivity is one of the top risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that 15 to 30 grams of resistant starch daily can improve insulin sensitivity by 33 to 50 percent in just four weeks.
Eating green bananas can therefore be beneficial for insulin sensitivity. However, there are also studies that dispute this claim. More research needs to be done to make a clear statement.
Green bananas can help reduce insulin sensitivity due to the resistant starch. However, there are not enough study results available.
So these seven reasons clearly show that bananas are healthy and bring many benefits to the body in a balanced diet.
FAQ About Banana
Can bananas also be unhealthy?
In principle, bananas are healthy! However, anyone who is allergic to latex can also have an allergic reaction to bananas. For example, one study showed that 30 to 50 percent of people allergic to latex also had a banana allergy.
Some people are also sensitive to the substance tyramine, which is found in bananas. This is where symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, or even migraines occur.
Those who take certain antidepressants, so-called MAO inhibitors, should also avoid bananas, as this can cause too much tyramine to accumulate in the body.
Do Bananas Make you tired?
Enough sleep is important and healthy – bananas can help. Falling asleep and staying asleep is not always easy for children. If insomnia is a permanent condition, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician. In all other cases, food can help.
For example, bananas are one of the top bedtime foods. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted by the body into the happiness hormone serotonin and finally into melatonin. And it is precisely this hormone that promotes a good night’s sleep because it can have a relaxing and calming effect. The combination of fructose and serotonin is sure to make children tired too.
Milk with honey is also a great sleep aid: milk contains the sleep hormone melatonin. Milk also contains tryptophan – with the help of honey, the brain uses it to form the messenger substance serotonin, which regulates sleep. In addition to bananas, nuts, pumpkin seeds or dark chocolate are good sources of tryptophan.
Do bananas make you fat?
Too much fruit makes you fat, no matter which one – the devil usually hides in fructose, which is just as bad for your figure as table sugar. Bananas also contain quite a lot of it, an average of 27 grams of sugar per banana.
Enjoyed in moderation as a small snack, bananas are healthy, after all, the yellow fruits provide many B vitamins, a little vitamin C, potassium, and an important portion of magnesium. They are definitely healthier than any candy or granola bar.
Important: The sticky consistency and high sugar content are not good for your teeth. Therefore, children, in particular, should not eat too many bananas.
Do bananas help with cramps?
Bananas are also healthy for athletes! The trigger for cramps is not always clear, it is often a combination of water and magnesium deficiency. Heavy sweating, extreme physical exertion, constant stress, an unbalanced diet, and a lack of fluid intake can lead to such a deficiency.
Magnesium is considered an effective remedy for cramps – but bananas only contain around 35 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily requirement of around 350 milligrams of magnesium.
A banana cannot cover this daily requirement and therefore cannot prevent a deficiency. Athletes and stressed people should therefore include other magnesium-rich foods in their diets, such as whole grain products, oatmeal, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and peas.
A sufficient liquid is also important to prevent cramps since mineral water also contains magnesium.
Can you eat green bananas?
Green bananas are high in resistant starch but unripe. But the bananas are still easily digestible and healthy. The color of the skin initially only indicates the degree of ripeness and sugar content.
Bananas continue to ripen after harvest, as you probably know from green bananas from the supermarket. Of course, this also changes the taste and composition of the fruit.
Green bananas contain a relatively large amount of starch, so they keep you full for a long time and have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. During ripening, the starch is converted into simple sugars and the banana becomes sweeter. However, the calorie content remains the same.
Should you store bananas warm?
Bananas prefer it warm. Like all tropical fruits that are not used to cool temperatures, they are best stored at room temperature.
Otherwise, there is a risk of cold shock: the cell tissue of the fruit is damaged, the bananas get brown spots and spoil faster. The optimal storage temperature for tropical fruit is around 13 degrees.
If you want to let bananas ripen, put apples or tomatoes in the fruit bowl – they give off the ripening gas ethylene. And if the bananas are too ripe, they can still be saved. Read here how they use bananas.
Bananas are healthy fruit that should not be missing from a balanced diet. As a source of potassium and magnesium, it ensures good heart and kidney health.
Due to the resistant starch in green bananas, the yellow fruit is also good for the intestines and can help with weight loss. They also help to regulate blood sugar levels and can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity.
But as with everything, the same applies here: enjoy in moderation! Although bananas are healthy, they still contain a lot of fructose.