Bananas are one of the most widely traded tropical fruits. It is a type of fruit from herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. There are two varieties of bananas, dessert bananas (yellow, ripe, slightly ripe) and green bananas (plantain). With an annual yield of 14.2 million tonnes, India leads the world in banana production.
Bananas, in general, are very nutritious. It is a plant of which every part is edible. The fruit has a sweet and creamy texture with several health benefits and forms a tasty addition to different recipes. You can make a salad, side dishes, and soups from banana stems. Eating on banana leaves is not only a tradition, but it is also healthy and cost-effective. The leaves contain a large number of polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants. You can use banana leaves to prepare several grilled and baked dishes, especially fish. Rich in fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, and more, banana flowers (banana blossoms) are a delicacy.
Bananas can help with both weight loss as well as weight gain. Bananas contain the right amount of carbohydrates and calories. Therefore, incorporating bananas into your diet depends on your goals. You can eat up to one banana a day as part of a healthy diet for weight loss. But eating 2 to 3 bananas will add up to 350 extra calories that can help you with weight gain. Before you eat bananas for weight loss or weight gain, you need to understand how the fruit helps you.
Nutritional Value of Banana
As per USDA, 100 grams of raw banana holds the following nutritional values.
- Energy: 89 kcal
- Protein: 0.74g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Dietary fibre: 4.62g
- Calcium: 5mg
- Magnesium: 28mg
- Potassium: 326mg
- Phosphorus: 22mg
- Ascorbic acid: 8.7mg
- Folate: 20µg
- Thiamine: 0.031mg
- Riboflavin: 0.073mg
- Niacin: 0.665mg
- Pantothenic acid: 0.334mg
- Pyridoxine: 0.367mg
Note: This is the nutritional value for 100 grams of banana. It is not the recommended amount for consumption. One to two medium-size bananas per day (each banana is approx. 30 grams) is considered a moderate intake for most healthy people.
Does Regularly Eating Banana Increase Weight?
One of the reasons people believe that eating bananas cause weight gain is because they contain sugar. The sugar in bananas is naturally occurring, meaning it won’t be readily absorbed. As a result, it does not cause blood sugar spikes or weight gain, unlike added sugars. This is keeping in mind a moderate intake of the fruit.
Bananas, on their own, are calorie-dense. You need to be concerned about weight gain if you consume many bananas daily. However, this goes for any food. If you consume food in large quantities, you’re more likely to consume more calories than you burn and possibly gain weight from that. Consuming one banana a day is an excellent addition to a healthy weight management plan.
Are Bananas Good for Weight Loss?
Bananas can help you lose weight, making them one of the best weight loss-friendly foods. Greener, less ripe bananas have a higher level of starch — particularly resistant starch. The gut-healthy prebiotic resistant starch is digested more slowly and helps you feel fuller. Therefore, it makes you eat less in your next meal, ultimately supporting your weight loss journey.
In addition, a study shows that fibre-like properties of resistant starch increase the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect of food refers to the energy required for the digestion of food. As a result, an increased thermic rate boosts total calorie or energy expenditure. Therefore, high-calorie use tends to promote weight loss. The resistant starch in bananas is promoted as a “weight loss wonder food” due to its ability to reduce fat storage. The resistant starch has a positive impact on insulin resistance. Meaning it improves insulin sensitivity, which helps the body process glucose more efficiently, reducing weight.
Bananas are sweet enough to be a healthy dessert. You can add them to your diet as a suitable replacement for fattening sweets and desserts. Eating a banana with a protein source like almonds and peanut butter keeps your sugar cravings satiated and prevents overeating. , Furthermore, bananas are a more nutrient-dense option than calorie-dense snacks.
The Fibre in Bananas and Weight Loss
A study shows that dietary fibre intake paired with a calorie-restricted diet promotes weight loss For example, a medium-sized banana contains about 3 grams of fibre. The healthy fibre dose keeps you full and stabilises blood sugar making banana an excellent food for weight loss. Moreover, eating a high fibre level may cut the risk of gaining weight by up to 30%.
The fibre in bananas stays in your gastrointestinal tract for more extended periods because it’s difficult for your body to break them down. As a result, it reduces appetite and increases the feeling of fullness post eating bananas, leading to weight loss by curbing overeating.
Other Health Benefits of Banana
1. Memory Preservation and Mood Enhancement
According to research, bananas include tryptophan, an amino acid that enhances a person’s ability to memorise and remember things while also regulating mood.
2. Immunity Booster
Bananas contain several nutrients, including antioxidants that help in improving overall health. In addition, it includes a good amount of vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin A that benefit immune functions.
3. A Fibre-Rich Feast
It’s no secret that getting enough fibre in your diet is beneficial. Soluble fibre makes up most of a banana’s fibre. As a result, it can aid in the control of cholesterol and blood pressure.
4. Aids Digestive Health
Banana provides several health benefits, including improved digestion, because it contains a high level of dietary fibre. Prebiotic-resistant starch is a form of fibre found in unripe bananas. Research says prebiotics make it through your large intestine, where they feed and nourish the good bacteria in your gut. In addition, the fruit increases bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, and its high potassium content can help diminish the retention of fluids.
5. Perfect Food for Toddlers
Bananas are an excellent solid meal for newborns to start. mashed bananas can be a highly nutritious and esaily digestable infant food.
6. Restores Regular Bowel Activity
Bananas are high in non-digestible fibres like cellulose, hemicellulose, and alpha-glucans. It aids the restoration of normal bowel function and relieves from both constipation and diarrhoea. It generally depends on how ripe the banana is. Further, it restores colon function by allowing it to absorb a considerable amount of water, allowing for regular bowel movements. They have a bulk-producing potential because of their high pectin content and water-absorbent.
7. Bananas Help with Iron Deficiency
A study shows that green, raw bananas (plantain-0.75mg/100g according to USDA) contain more iron than ripe bananas. In addition, cooked bananas have a higher iron level (0.53mg/100g) than raw bananas (0.33mg/100g). The banana is a possible carrier for iron fortification because it is one of the most commonly produced fruits—iron and vitamin B6 aid in preventing anaemia by making enough red blood cells.
Healthy and Tasty Banana Recipes
- Flourless Banana Muffins
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- Banana: 9 (medium-sized)
- Nut butter: 1 cup (peanut butter/almond butter/cashew butter)
- Cocoa powder: ½ cup
- Blueberries: 1½ cup
- Peel and keep all the bananas in a bowl.
- Mash them with a fork and add a cup of nut butter.
- Mix well and divide it into two halves.
- Add cocoa powder in one half and blueberries in the other.
- Pour into muffin mould and bake them at 180°C (350°F) for 18-20 minutes.
- Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- Ripe bananas: 2 (medium size)
- Uncooked quick oats: 1 cup
- Crushed walnuts: ¼ cup
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine the mashed banana and oats in a bowl. Fold in the walnuts.
- Place a tablespoon of each on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
Note: You can freeze the leftover cookies. Let them cool, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw or heat in the microwave a few seconds before eating.
- Breakfast Banana Pops
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Bananas: 4(medium-sized)
- Yoghurt, nut butter, or melted dark chocolate
- Toppings of choice (crushed walnuts or pecans, shredded coconut, cheerios, chopped peanuts, pistachio, almonds, rolled oats, chia seeds, or hemp seeds)
- Popsicle sticks or spoons
- Tray lined with parchment paper.
- Peel bananas and cut them in half.
- Insert popsicle sticks or the thin side of a spoon.
- Dip in yoghurt softened nut butter or melted dark chocolate.
- Roll in desired toppings or stick more extensive toppings on by hand.
- Place on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper.
- Freeze it and enjoy.
Note: Regular unsweetened yoghurt is required for this recipe because Greek yoghurt is too thick. You can use the leftover yoghurt for eating or for smoothies.
Possible Side Effects
When consumed in moderation, bananas have no negative consequences. However, bananas need to be consumed under limit for people with diabetes because regularly consuming too many might cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or are attempting to lose weight, you should avoid eating overripe bananas because their glycemic index is 62.
Bananas are high in potassium, but too much of it can be harmful. For example, hyperkalemia, a disorder that inhibits neuron and muscle cell function, can be caused by overeating bananas.
Eating bananas in moderation does not increase weight. However, you can gain weight from eating too many bananas or if you combine them with other high-calorie foods. Bananas have fibre that helps in slowing digestion and increasing satiety and these properties that can help a person manage their body weight.
Eating bananas has many health benefits, whether you’re trying to lose weight or improve overall well being. Eating more fibre-rich foods like bananas can be a good start toward a healthy weight-loss plan. However, you should also get more exercise and sleep enough to see long term results. Also, since every individual is different, eating bananas may not have the same impact on everyone.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it OK to eat bananas every day?
A. Yes, one to two bananas each day is good for your health. They are very nutritious and provide numerous benefits for our health and wellbeing. Still, it’s advisable to include a variety of fruits in general, and not only eat bananas. Also, a person with diabetes should not consume bananas daily.
Q. Who should not eat bananas?
A. Diabetic patients should consume bananas in moderation, preferably ones smaller in size. The patient must avoid very overripe bananas.
Q. Do bananas make you fat?
A. No, bananas are not fattening. However, since it has many carbohydrates and calories, it has a bad reputation. In addition, overeating any food creates problems in the body.
Q. What is the best time to eat bananas?
A. The best time to eat bananas is in the mid-morning and before a workout since it gives a good amount of energy. It can also be included in the morning breakfast but do not eat bananas on an empty stomach. Instead, pair it up with oatmeal, which will help get good energy.
Q. What happens if you eat two bananas a day?
A. It is alright to eat two bananas each day for a healthy person. The daily recommendation is 1-2, not more than that. Eating two bananas a day provides you with a healthy dose of fibre and resistant starch.
Q. What do bananas do to the brain?
A. Banana contains vitamin B6, which promotes the neurotransmitter serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine production, which helps us cope with depression, supports concentration, and improves memory. In addition, it has potassium and calcium, which help sharpen the brain.
Q. What happens if you eat a banana every morning?
A. Consuming bananas every morning helps us in getting many essential nutrients. It is loaded with antioxidants, helps us feel fuller, and gives us energy. However, make sure not to consume bananas on an empty stomach as it might cause an imbalance of magnesium and potassium in the blood.
Q. Do bananas make you poop?
A. Yes, ripe bananas help push stool through the bowels as it is very high in fibre. Pectin (dietary fibre) draws water from the intestine to the undigested food, making it easier to poop and eliminating constipation issues.
Q. Why are bananas unhealthy?
A. Bananas are not unhealthy. They are suitable for you and offer multiple nutrients. It depends on how much you are consuming. They have a significant amount of carbs that may make you avoid them. Patients with diabetes should have bananas in moderation, especially if its overripe.
Q. Do bananas burn belly fat?
A. No, bananas do not burn belly fat. However, bananas help grow good bacteria(prebiotics) that promote better metabolism due to healthy fibres and curb appetite. Therefore it may assist in weight loss.
Q. Are bananas good for you before bed?
A. There is no scientific proof that eating bananas at night can be harmful to health. Still, dieticians and health experts suggest that since bananas are a heavy fruit and our metabolism is lowest at night, eating them might lead to stomach issues. Hence, it is preferable to avoid eating bananas before going to bed.
Q. Why is it not reasonable to eat bananas at night?
A. Our body temperature tends to go 1-2° lower at night. Potassium in bananas produces mucus in the stomach lining, thus, lowering the pH levels in the body. Bananas tend to provide the body with a cooling sensation. Therefore, dieticians do not recommend eating bananas at night as it may cause cough, cold, or affect the tonsils.