What is the use and the benefits of bananas, if there is so much sugar in them – you ask. Yes, on the one hand, we know that there is a lot of fructose in bananas, and sugar in any form is not very good for health. On the other hand, we know that bananas are full of important nutrients that can help improve health. So what will be the verdict – is it worth to include bananas in your diet?
Bananas are indeed an excellent source of several essential nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, fiber, and more. They are also ideal food for athletes and those who exercise regularly due to the concentration of fast carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can help increase energy levels and support you throughout the day. In fact, bananas contain a convenient source of energy that is ideal right before your workout. They are also rich in vital nutrients after exercise, which can help restore muscle tissue and balance body water.
All of these benefits, contained in one 100-calorie fruit, sound pretty good. But bananas may not be the best choice for some people.
Since bananas contain a relatively large amount of sugar and carbohydrates, but they practically do not contain protein or healthy fats, they can quickly increase blood sugar levels. This is a problem for anyone who has insulin resistance, prediabetes or diabetes. Therefore, yes, bananas will be a great snack for most – but not for everyone.
If you are healthy and relatively active, bananas are a sensible and healthy food choice that you can add to your diet. However, if you want to lose weight or if you have difficulty regulating blood sugar, it is better to choose other fruits.
The nutritional value of bananas
So what’s the use of bananas? How many calories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates? Just look at the facts about the nutritional value of bananas to understand why this fruit is so nutritious. Bananas are not only beneficial, they are also rich in several key vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and potassium.
One medium banana (about 118 grams) contains approximately:
- Calories – 105 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 27 gr.
- Protein – 1.3 gr.
- Fat – 0.4 gr.
- Cellulose – 3.1 gr.
- Vitamin B6 – 0.4 mg (22%)
- Vitamin C – 10.3 mg (17%)
- Manganese – 0.3 mg (16%)
- Potassium – 422 mg (12%)
- Magnesium – 31.9 mg (8%)
- Folate – 23.6 mcg (6%)
- Riboflavin – 0.1 mg (5%)
- Copper – 0.1 mg (5%)
- Niacin – 0.8 mg (4%)
- Pantothenic acid – 0.4 mg (4%)
- Phosphorus – 26 mg (3%)
Bananas also contain a small amount of vitamins A, E, K and minerals – calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.
The benefits of bananas
What are the health benefits of a person eating bananas?
- boost energy
- potassium replenishment
- improved digestion
- mood improvement
- affordable, convenient and healthy snack
- good source of manganese
- weight loss
- improved kidney function
- heart health support
Consider each of these advantages in more detail, based on scientific facts and research.
1. Increase energy
Bananas are a great snack because they provide carbohydrates in the form of fast-release sugars that your body can use for instant energy. After an intense workout, your body uses these carbohydrates to refuel and repair muscles that have been destroyed.
Bananas contain sugar molecules that can reach muscle tissue precisely when they are most needed. This helps to quickly restore glucose reserves, which is vital for providing the body with the energy it needs to build muscle and strength. Bananas are helpful either before or immediately after exercise, providing your body with enough carbohydrates and nutrients to restore.
2. Loaded with potassium
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium in the world. Potassium is another nutrient that is crucial for those who play sports. But also for other people.
What is the use of bananas in sports? Potassium in bananas acts as an electrolyte, promotes healthy blood circulation, helps control the level of hydration in the body, and also allows oxygen to reach your cells. Potassium also helps in preventing muscle spasms after exercise and helps heal and build muscle more effectively. This makes it a particularly important nutrient for all who are physically active, as well as those who are recovering from injury.
Potassium is useful for preventing high blood pressure and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by regulating the circulation, retention of sodium and water in the body. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by counteracting sodium in the blood so that the heart works effectively. Fortunately, research has shown that the best way to optimize the potential benefits of potassium is to consume more of it from whole food sources, such as fruits and vegetables ( 1 ).
3. Improve digestion
Each banana contains about three grams of fiber. Fiber in a banana helps maintain regular stools, prevents constipation, bloating and other digestive disorders. Dietary fiber in bananas helps to restore the normal functions of the intestines, as they bind the waste and toxins in the digestive tract, facilitating their removal from the body.
According to a review by the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky, fiber can boast a long list of other digestive benefits ( 2 ). In fact, it can also be useful in treating gastro-esophageal reflux disease, intestinal ulcers, diverticulitis, constipation and hemorrhoids.
4. Improve mood
Bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is used to produce serotonin, one of our main “happy hormones”. Healthy serotonin levels improve your mood and prevent such anxiety and depression.
Bananas also have many antioxidants that help with the release of dopamine to the brain. This is another hormone that improves mood. Regular consumption of bananas can increase your energy, prevent fatigue and maintain a healthy level of these key neurotransmitters to boost your mood.
5. Affordable, convenient and healthy snack
Bananas have a low calorie content. Only about 105 calories in each average banana. Compared to many other processed or high-calorie snacks, bananas are an excellent healthy snack. Because you will have only one banana for a snack, it has a lot of nutrients and fiber. This makes bananas a good choice for those who watch calorie intake to lose weight. In addition, while it may be difficult to peel, cook and portion other fruits, with bananas, everything is very simple.
Their price is also another advantage of bananas. This is one of the least expensive fruits you can buy. And, as a rule, bananas are available throughout the year.
Try to keep them at work at the table, in your gym bag, or even in the car as an emergency snack to prevent starvation. Combine them with a healthy source of protein or fat, such as almond oil, Greek yogurt or oatmeal, to maximize health benefits and maintain a stable blood sugar level.
6. A good source of manganese
Adding one or two bananas to your daily diet is a great way to increase your manganese intake. Manganese is important for many bodily functions, including skin health, maintaining skeletal structure, proper brain function, and reducing free radical damage.
Studies have shown that manganese can help with healthy brain functions and can help prevent conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease ( 3 ). Some studies also show that manganese supplements can help increase bone mineral density and can even help prevent conditions such as osteoporosis ( 4 ).
In addition, manganese also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance. These are two of the most important properties that are useful for naturally slowing down aging, as they reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress. By the way, red bananas, unlike yellow ones, contain more antioxidants.
7. Promote weight loss
If you still doubt the benefits of bananas for weight loss, if they contain a lot of sugar, then read the following.
Bananas contain few calories, but are rich in fiber, an important nutrient that helps you feel full longer. Studies have shown that a higher intake of fruits rich in fiber may be associated with increased weight loss over time ( 5 ). For this reason, bananas are often recommended as the main ingredient in a healthy diet for those who want to lose a few extra pounds.
In addition, since bananas contain large amounts of fiber and contain a lot of water, it is better to use them for snacking instead of other processed foods. And the sweet taste of bananas will satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your weight loss efforts.
8. Improve kidney function
Bananas are loaded with potassium – a trace element that plays a central role in almost all aspects of health, especially when it comes to kidney function. Some studies show that eating more bananas can help maintain kidney function and may even protect against kidney disease. For example, one study published in the International Journal of Cancer showed that consuming more bananas per month was associated with a lower risk of developing renal cell carcinoma ( 6 ).
Note that many kidney sufferers may be recommended to use moderate potassium intake by limiting the intake of fruits, such as bananas. Since an excess of potassium can also be harmful in some cases. If you have kidney disease or high levels of potassium, consult your doctor or nutritionist before you increase your intake of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bananas.
9. Maintain heart health
To understand the benefits of bananas for the heart, you need to remember that the heart system needs potassium. And bananas – its richest source.
Bananas are full of several important nutrients that can help keep your heart healthy and strong. These minerals are potassium and magnesium. Potassium, in particular, helps regulate blood pressure to prevent excessive strain on the heart muscle. Not only does a higher intake of potassium are associated with a lower risk of stroke, but it can also help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack.
Bananas also contain a good dose of magnesium, about 8% of the recommended daily intake. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions and is also essential for heart health. In fact, magnesium deficiency can be correlated with serious chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Check out these 5 unusual banana recipes you could try.