Are Bananas Good For You? - 10 Little Known Banana Facts

Are banana’s good for you? YES, they most certainly are, and below are 10 little known facts about the banana that will get you rushing to the fruit bowl in a jiffy.

Banana’s naturally come conveniently packaged, and are at their most nutrient dense when eaten raw and straight out of their skin. Bananas are wonderfully versatile and taste delicious fresh, dried, or cooked and made into different sweet and savory dishes.

 

The Ripeness Spectrum

As you’ve probably noticed, banana’s come in different degrees of ripeness. On one end of the spectrum you have an unripened, firm green banana, and on the other end they can be very ripe and yellow with brown spots. These two are poles apart both nutritionally and sugar content wise, and as they both have different pro’s and con’s it’s important to know the difference.

 

PRO’S AND CON’S OF A RIPE BANANA

  • Easier to digest due to the fact that the banana’s starches have turned into simple sugars.
  • The more they ripen, the higher they become in antioxidants (a good thing).
  • They are not suitable for diabetics, as the riper the banana the higher the GI. (GI is short for glycemic index and is a number associated with the amount of sugar in a food. The system rates on a scale of 1-100 and anything under 50 is considered low GI. Really ripe bananas come in at around 60, unripe around 30 and the average banana 51).
  • The ripe banana is not as good for weight loss due to its higher GI.

Read here a list of low gIycemic foods that are suitable for diabetics and those trying to lose belly fat specifically. It is recommended you eat these foods with every meal and snack for long term health and weight control.

 

PRO’S AND CON’S OF AN UNRIPE BANANA

  • Their low resistant starch content makes them low GI, which is good for diabetics or anyone on a low sugar diet.
  • Probiotic bacteria – unripe banana’s contain a healthy bacterium that is very good for the colon.
  • Unripe banana’s help you to absorb other nutrients more effectively, especially calcium.
  • In conclusion to this, unless you have specific needs you should generally go for the medium ripened yellow banana as you will get some of the nutritional benefits of both.

ARE BANANA’S GOOD FOR YOU – 10 LITTLE KNOWN FACTS

 

1. INSTANT ENERGY  

woman jumping in sand

 

1 medium banana contains around 90 calories and will give you both a mental and physical boost. This is due to its low GI sustained energy release, making it a perfect pudding, between meal snack, or pre/post workout snack.

Eat them with a little protein, such as peanut butter, for more sustained energy.

 

2. HIGH FIBER

Banana’s are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which means they will give you a feeling of fullness very quickly. Great to have at breakfast as a nutritious start to the day; slice them onto your cereal, add to oatmeal, or mash onto toast with some sugar free peanut butter for added protein. This will sure keep you full up until lunch.

 

3. A NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE 

Banana’s are a nutritional powerhouse of vitamin B6, maganese, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate; they are also packed with fiber which helps keep your system ‘cleaned out‘.

 

4. GOOD FOR DIGESTION

Because of their pectin content banana’s are great for easing stomach problems such as diarrhea, and help to soothe an upset stomach and replace any potassium and electrolytes that may be lost due to a bout of sickness, or a bug.

Banana’s are perfect added to a healthy breakfast along with other fruits, nuts and seeds.

 

5. BRILLIANT SOURCE OF POTASSIUM 

Probably the thing banana’s are most famous for is their high potassium content, and for good reason as 1 banana contains at least 20% of your RDA. This nutrient is needed for heart health as it regulates both the heartbeat and blood pressure.

Potassium is also great for keeping the brain sharp and alert, so great for students!

 

6. HELPS ANEMIA 

tired and weary

Banana’s are high in iron and so are a good choice for those suffering from anemia. As with all food products, many of the nutrients have a higher availability in the body when they are in their natural whole form, which makes them more readily absorbed.

 

7. HELPS REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR 

This is more so the case in an unripe banana due to their fiber called pectin and their resistant starch content. Both of these help to moderate blood sugar levels, making them an excellent choice for diabetics and anybody with blood sugar issues.

 

8. GUT FRIENDLY 

The pectin and resistant starch in an unripe banana has a prebiotic effect, meaning it increases healthy gut bacteria, in turn reducing bloating and easing IBS and other digestive disorders.

 

9. ANTI AGING 

Like all other fruits and vegetables, banana’s contain antioxidants. In fact, a banana contains the potent antioxidants dopamine and catechins, both of which offer a reduced chance of heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

 

10. MOOD BOOSTER

girl with a heart shaped balloon

 

Due to their high levels of tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the body, banana’s can make you happy and alleviate depression. Serotonin is the ‘happy hormone‘ that we all need adequate levels of to feel good. 

Also, banana’s may work on another level because by keeping your gut healthy. There has been lots of research and new evidence come to light about how a healthy gut equates to a healthy mind. It has been found that those with a healthy gut microbiome are much less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than those who don’t. 

 

 

Share this article

Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

21 Comments

Valerie · 13/12/2017 at 9:13 pm

I didn’t know there were any pro’s to eating unripe bananas! My grandpa is a diabetic so it’s good to know that he can still benefit from eating them. My favorite banana meal is to put a banana in a piece of whole wheat bread and cover it with peanut butter and jelly – like a hot dog. It’s good if you’re in a hurry.

    admin · 13/12/2017 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Valerie, yes unripe bananas are great for diabetics so tell your Grandpa. Or maybe get him to double check with his doctor first if he has any concerns. You are a woman after my own heart as I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too, though we call jelly jam here in the UK haha

Vince · 13/12/2017 at 11:32 pm

Bananas are the perfect snack on the go. They come with their own of packaging, are easy to eat and a good energy hit.
They are a family favourite, and did you now that bananas are a natural beta blocker? Great to help with anxiety.

    admin · 14/12/2017 at 9:34 am

    Hi Vince, yes I’m a big banana fan too! I probably eat at least one a day, maybe more if I’m training. No I didn’t know about them being a beta blocker so that’s another thing to add to the list hey! Thanks for the information.

Helen Doyle · 14/12/2017 at 1:26 am

Stephanie, I love bananas and generally towards the unripe end of the scale. Here is a recipe for you that is so good.

When the bananas are getting to the unripe/ripe border chop them into pieces and freeze them. When you want ice-cream take out a bag and pop the banana into your food processor. Process until bananas have the texture of ice-cream.

A work colleague of mine had a severe heart attack when very young. His wife did a lot of research and found this recipe. So he could eat ‘ice-cream’ at no peril to himself.

I haven’t been to the UK for years but spent some time travelling around with an English friend. Mostly we visited the wonderful gardens, all with extensive herb sections. Such a great trip that was.

You have a very nice site and keep up the well informing articles.

Ciao
Helen

    admin · 14/12/2017 at 9:29 am

    Hi Helen, I am very glad you have traveled around the UK, it is especially lovely in the summertime so I hope that is when you went :-). Thank you for your comment on my post, I was shocked myself at the benefits of the humble banana whilst researching this post.

    Now as for the banana ice-cream, it’s funny you should mention that as I do already make a similar version of that, except I also throw in a handful of frozen blueberries and a dash of coconut milk. It really is delicious and I’m pretty addicted to it but I will now try out just the banana version as it will probably make it a whole new texture. There is definitely something about bananas that give it a wonderful gooey texture that you can’t get from anything else.

    Thank you and have a wonderful day.

Simon Thomas · 15/12/2017 at 7:10 am

In Chinese medicine bananas are used to clear heat from the stomach like in heartburn. And they say if you feel heat when you are eating them then you are getting the best effects all round.

    admin · 15/12/2017 at 11:57 am

    Hi Simon, thanks for commenting and yes, in my research I did come across this information about how they are used in Chinese me. It always amazes me how different foods and plants can heal every part of the body.

    I work for a medical herbalist and she uses a lot of Chinese herbs, as well as all the other herbs, and every day I hear people praising her for how she has helped them heal themselves from all sorts of things, and many times this has happened after the traditional doctors have told the patient they cannot help them anymore. I think when people get told this it gives them the impetus to seek alternative medicine and I love how much I learn about this every day.

bbyard · 23/12/2017 at 6:08 pm

I love them and they are a regular part of our diet, nice article. I grew up eating green bananas and your article is a reminder for me to get back to it. Thanks

    Stefanie Taylor · 24/12/2017 at 4:41 pm

    Great that you eat lots of bananas. I always have at least one a day as they are just a great little snack to have at any time. I know they say you shouldn’t eat fruit before bed time but I often have a banana and it sends me off to sleep nicely. Must be something to do with the nutrients, I don’t know but it’s definitely worth a try for those who may have difficulty sleeping.

sarah · 30/01/2018 at 10:45 pm

Great article, Bananas are no double very nutritious and healthy for people of every age group, from weaning babies to old people. It is really helpful to know all these facts of bananas, as always, your articles are so so informative and helpful. Thank you so much for sharing all these useful reads with us.

    Stefanie Taylor · 01/02/2018 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Sarah, yes bananas are my definite go to healthy snack any time of day or night. They are great with breakfast, as a snack when you are feeling peckish, good to reglycogenate muscles after exercise, great as a pre-exercise energy snack, and also they are a great snack before bed to stop you from feeling peckish in the night. They are truly awesome!

Lawrence · 25/03/2018 at 9:35 pm

Hi Stefanie – thanks for this post. As a vegan I am constantly looking at different plant based foods and I eat at least 1 banana a day with my home made muesli.
I source the riper bananas and often pick them up dirt cheap at the veg shop as they are discounted for colouration – the very thing I am after.
Lawrence

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 10:45 am

    Hi Lawrence, yep, got to love a banana hey? I’m glad to hear you are a vegan, that’s fantastic and I salute you. I have been eating plant based for about a year now and it’s been the most amazing journey of my life, and has done so much for my health and vitality I cannot even begin to explain. Obviously, this was the catalyst for my whole website.

    I too eat bananas in abundance as they are SO cheap and easy to take anywhere, and if I pick up massive bunches dirt cheap then I either make banana bread or slice them up and freeze them. You can then add them into smoothies which gives them a fluffy ice cream texture, or you can make banana ice cream by just whizzing them up in a processor with a little coconut milk/cream. It tastes amazing and just like ice cream! You really should try it.

Matts Mom · 25/03/2018 at 11:13 pm

Oh I do love all of the benefits of bananas so I am glad because they are actually one of my favorite fruits. I also like to buy them slightly green as I don’t like eating ripe bananas at all. So the benefits are great as well? Works for me! Thanks for all the great information!

Kathleen · 26/03/2018 at 2:52 am

This is AMAZING!! I love bananas even more now! Anemia? And so much more! Seriously, you made my day! Is it ok to eat bananas every day?

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 10:23 am

    Hi Kathleen, I’m glad you enjoyed my post and learnt something new. Yes’ definitely ok to have a banana every day, I do and sometimes I may have a couple as they are just such a great snack. As I exercise a lot they are especially good as they are full of energy and the perfect pre and post workout snack. In fact, I think mother nature made them for that purpose!

    If your’e going to eat them a lot then think it’s best to have the medium ripe bananas so you don’t get too much sugar (even though it’s good sugar), but if you are about to exercise then the really ripe ones are great.

Agnes · 26/03/2018 at 3:54 pm

Great read. It just confirms what I’ve been telling my husband all along. Personally, I can’t and won’t eat a very ripe banana as it’s too slimy and tastes awful. I guess I like them just at the right time, a bit greenish just turning yellow. Lol
Love your posts, so much great insight!

    Stefanie Taylor · 26/03/2018 at 4:13 pm

    Yes I’m not a fan of an over ripe banana either as the texture is all wrong, however they are great to add to smoothies or banana cake when you really want the extra sweetness so that’s what I do with my over ripe ones now. You can also slice them and freeze them, then put in a processor with some coconut milk or cream and they make the perfect healthy ice cream. Or just chuck the frozen pieces straight into your smoothie and blend for a nice cold frothy texture.

sarah · 05/05/2018 at 7:20 am

Banana is a great and nutritious fruit full of nutritional goodness. My son is a fussy eater but loves eating bananas and since then he started gaining weight. What a useful post this is, I will share it for sure. I think banana is one of the super fruits which people of all ages can eat from weaning babies to elderly.

    Stefanie Taylor · 05/05/2018 at 10:02 am

    Hi Sarah, I know, bananas are greataren’t they? My 3 year old nephew lives on them, probably eats a couple a day but he has them instead of sweets so it doesn’t mean he gets too much sugar.

    They are indeed fantastic for kids if you want them to gain a little weight, and so full of nutrients. Also, they are so versatile and can be prepared in many ways, such as mashed in sandwitches, in smoothies, baked etc. I love them! I’m glad your son likes them too.

Leave a Reply to sarah Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
https://zestforever.com/are-bananas-good-for-you-10-little-known-banana-facts">
Pinterest
Pinterest
INSTAGRAM