The Health benefits of bananas are numerous. It is best for people with indigestion such as those with celiac disease, blood pressure, and heart diseases.
Bananas are the most popular, delicious, and inexpensive fruits. The Scientific name of Banana is Musa sapienta from the Musaceae family of tropical plants. From ripped to fully ripped bananas, each variety has different health benefits.
The Cavendish variety, which has a moderate flavor and is disease-resistant, is the most popular in the world. Despite some unfavorable remarks, that banana contributes to weight gain and constipation, bananas are nutritious and may even be the first “superfood,” having been recommended by the American Medical Association as a healthy food for children and therapy for celiac disease in the early 20th century.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and natural sugars.
Nutritional value of bananas:
The nutritional composition of 100 g raw bananas according to USDA is given below [Ref]:
Total lipid (fat)
Total dietary fiber
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
Antioxidants in Bananas
Bananas are a rich source of many health-promoting phytochemicals
- Phenolic compounds: These include gallic acid, tannins, catechin, epicatechin, and anthocyanins
- Flavonoids: Flavonols such as quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and cyanidin are found in bananas
- Carotenoids: The most important of these are lutein, iso-lutein, β-carotene, α-carotene, auroxanthin violaxanthin, neoxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-cryptoxanthin.
- Biogenic Amines: Biogenic amines are nitrogenous compounds formed by amino acids. Banana peel and pulp contain biogenic amines, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
- Phytosterols: These are plant-based sterols with many beneficial properties. Phytosterols in bananas are stigmasterol, campesterol, β-sitosterol, cycloartenol, cycloeucalenol, and 24-methylene cycloartenol.
Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas are loaded with phytochemicals that’s why their consumption is associated with numerous health benefits such as:
Health benefits of bananas: Effect on Digestion
- Fiber is abundant in bananas, which is necessary for a healthy digestive tract. Pectin and resistant starch, the two main forms of fiber present in bananas, are soluble fibers, that serve as prebiotics. Soluble fiber, which cannot be digested, goes through the gut and is fermented by bacteria.
- It produces butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that serves as an energy source for colonocytes, or colonic cells, and is involved in colonic mucosal health maintenance. In a recent study resistant starch has been shown to increase fecal volume, raise the molar ratio of butyrate to other short-chain fatty acids, and dilute fecal bile acids. [Ref]
- Bananas can help in the prevention of stomach ulcers, constipation, heartburn, and colorectal cancer.
- Bananas are also a component of the BRAT diet that is recommended in diarrhea.
Health benefits of bananas: Effect on Blood pressure
- Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potassium consumption has been inversely linked to hypertension. According to American Heart Association (AHA), people must reduce their sodium intake and increase their intake of potassium-rich foods. Potassium plays role in in the control of blood pressure and reduces stress on the cardiovascular system.
- A meta-analysis suggests that high potassium intake is associated with reduced blood pressure. [Ref]
- According to the nutritional information from the abovementioned sources, a medium banana offers over 9% of a person’s daily potassium needs.
Bananas Improve Brain Function:
- Bananas have 33 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, which helps with brain growth, nervous system regulation, and immune system health. Vitamin B6 aids in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that allow your brain to communicate with the rest of your body.
- According to some studies, a shortage of vitamin B6 is linked to cognitive decline, thus it’s critical to have enough vitamin B6 in your diet to keep your brain healthy.
- Vitamin B6 can also aid in the regulation of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B6 helps to keep homocysteine levels in check in the body, lowering your risk of getting certain diseases. [Ref]
Bananas use in Diabetes: Effect on Insulin Sensitivity
- Insulin sensitivity is the degree to which the cells react to the release of insulin. It’s crucial because if the cells stop responding, insulin levels and blood sugar levels will be high, which could develop into type 2 diabetes.
- Because of resistant starches found in bananas, they are good for insulin sensitivity. Research suggests that eating 15 to 30 g of resistant starch per day for four weeks can enhance insulin sensitivity by 33 to 50%. [Ref]
Bananas effect on the Heart:
- The fibers present in bananas exhibit cardioprotective roles. A high-fiber diet is very beneficial in boosting heart health. Fibers are responsible for the inhibition of LDL oxidation. LDL oxidation produces pro-inflammatory cytokines which are linked to atherosclerosis and vessel wall dysfunction. This mechanism lowers the incidence of cardiovascular disorders. [Ref]
Bananas are an excellent Workout Snack:
- Bananas are an excellent food choice after exercising. They are a rich source of potassium which is required for proper muscle function. Banana can be taken before or after 30-60 minutes of exercise.
- One study concluded that banana ingestion after workout relieved Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps by increasing extracellular potassium and glucose concentrations. [Ref]
Bananas have antidepressant properties:
- Banana is known to be a good source of biologically active substances with significant antioxidant qualities, such as dopamine, serotonin, and polyphenols. It contains, tryptophan, threonine, tryptamine flavonoids, and sterols.
- All these substances reduce oxidative stress. Serotonin is a key hormone that stabilizes mood and is known as the “Happy Hormone.”
- One study suggests that biogenic amine found in banana pulp help in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. [Ref]
Bananas role in patients with Celiac Disease:
- Celiac disease is the most problematic nutritional disruption of childhood. The general understanding is that it is a functioning disorder marked by an inability to utilize carbohydrates and fats.
- Bananas are an important component of diets used in Celiac disease.
Health risks associated with bananas:
Bananas are generally safe for everyone but they might be harmful in some clinical conditions such as:
- In kidney patients, hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood) is mostly observed due to muscle wasting. Due to this potassium levels need to be carefully monitored in the diet of such patients. Bananas must be avoided if someone has a kidney disorder.
- Some studies suggest that bananas might be causing allergies in patients with asthma and rhinitis. Due to this, some patients are advised to limit the intake of bananas. [Ref]
Healthy Ways of Eating Bananas:
The most nutritious banana recipes include:
- Banana, almonds, and dates milkshake
- Egg and Banana pancakes
- Kiwi and banana smoothie
- Banana porridge
- Banana and peanut butter bread
Bananas are cheap and easily available. They provide lots of calories and are especially best for malnourished young children. They can be easily digested, lower blood pressure and are good for the heart.
They, however, contain a lot of potassium and should be avoided in patients with kidney disease who can develop hyperkalemia.