The benefits of bananas are endless. Delicious and generally cheap, bananas are full of calories and have great nutritional value due to their high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and other nutritional values.
As an antioxidant, the banana is said to prevent the onset of many diseases. In addition, the sugars it contains are said to help maintain good gastrointestinal health. From a culinary point of view, there are 2 types of bananas: the dessert bananas, the ones we eat for breakfast, and cooking bananas, known as plantains.
The protein and fat content of bananas is low, lower than the average for fresh fruit. Thus, the banana is one of the fruits that can be integrated as part of a balanced diet to meet current recommendations, even when monitoring your weight, in case of diabetes, or case of hyperlipidemia. however, be sure to choose medium-sized bananas.
Characteristics of bananas:
- Great source of soft fibers.
- Excellent source of potassium.
- Promotes satiety.
- Regulates transit.
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Banana Nutrition Facts
|Nutrients||Raw banana (sweet), 100 g||Raw plantain, 100 g|
|Protein||1,06 g||1,28 g|
|Carbohydrates||19,7 g||29,6 g|
|Lipids||< 0,5 g||0,39 g|
|Dietary fiber||2,7 g||2,3 g|
|Glycemic load: Moderate|
|Antioxidant power: High|
Micronutrients found in bananas
Bananas have a unique nutritional profile. Among other things, they contain various nutrients essential for good health.
With more calories than the average fruit (90 kcal / 100g), the banana owes its energy contribution mainly to carbohydrates, its protein, and fat content being low.
Bananas are also a great source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, selenium, vitamin B9, magnesium, and fiber.
They are particularly rich in magnesium and potassium.
Average nutritional intake
|Amount||% Recommended Daily Intake|
|Energy intake||381 KJ / 90 kcal||4,5 %|
|Protein||0,98 g||1,96 %|
|Fat||0,25 g||0,35 %|
|Of which saturates||0,099 g||–|
|Carbohydrates||19,6 g||7,5 %|
|with sugar||14,8 g||16,44%|
|Calcium||4,12 mg||0,5 %|
|Phosphorus||24,7 mg||3,5 %|
|Magnesium||34,9 mg||9,3 %|
|Copper||0,082 mg||8,2 %|
|Zinc||0,15 mg||1,5 %|
|Manganese||0,37 mg||18,5 %|
|Potassium||360 mg||18 %|
|Equivalent Vitamin A*||4,3 ug (As beta-carotene: 26 ug)||0,5 %|
|Vitamins E||0,33 mg||2,75 %|
|Vitamin C||2,07 mg||2,58 %|
|Vitamin B1||0,035 mg||3,18 %|
|Vitamin B6||0,38 mg||27,14 %|
|Vitamin B9||29 ug||14,5 %|
|Total polyphenols (mg)||2,55 mg|
|Phenolic acids||1 mg|
Bananas contain an average of 19.6% carbohydrates which are their main energy component. The nature of its carbohydrates varies according to its degree of maturity. Green, mainly contains starch composed of amylose and amylopectin. The concentration of amylose influences the taste and texture of bananas. During ripening, starch turns into sugar, changing color, flavor, aroma, and texture.
Changes in its carbohydrate composition modulate its glycemic index. It goes on average from 553 when it is unripe to 65 when fully ripe. The glycemic index reflects how quickly carbohydrates in a food are digested. This speed can be modulated according to the composition of the banana, its method of preparation, and also the composition of the dish or the meal in which it is consumed.
The glycemic load of unripe bananas is low (GC = 10.78) and that of ripe bananas moderate (GC = 12.74).
For good digestion, take the time to chew your banana well, even if its texture is tender. The digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth thanks to the action of enzymes present in saliva. Starch degradation continues as the bolus travels through pancreatic juice and intestinal enzymes.
Its protein and fat content is low, lower than the average for fresh fruit.
Thus, the banana is one of the fruits that can be integrated as part of a balanced diet to meet current recommendations, even when monitoring your weight, in case of diabetes, or case of hyperlipidemia. however, be sure to choose medium-sized bananas.
Thanks to its unique composition, the flesh of the banana turns out to be a real health ally daily. Satiating, rich in dietary fiber and micronutrients, it has its place in a varied and balanced healthy diet. Among the potentials benefits of bananas, we find the following:
1. Lowers the risk of certain cancers
A prospective study, carried out on 61,000 Swiss women, demonstrated a link between high consumption of fruit and the lower risk of suffering from kidney cancer. Of all the fruits studied, the researchers found the strongest relationship for bananas. Bananas are said to have the same beneficial effect on the risk of colorectal cancer, in both women and men.
2. May help against stomach ulcers
Some studies on animals tend to show that bananas in extract form (especially plantains, but also the dessert variety) may protect the lining of the stomach against ulcers. A study has shown that the extract of 2 varieties of bananas grown in Thailand (Palo and Gros Michel) has gastroprotective potential in rats. However, only the Gros Michel variety is believed to affect healing ulcers. This type of banana is said to be similar to Cavendish, the most common variety in the world. However, current research is insufficient to recommend the consumption of bananas for the prevention or treatment of gastric ulcers.
3. Alleviates depression
The banana is a great anti-depression food, which you should eat more frequently in case of depression. Indeed, bananas are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that allows the body to secrete serotonin… also known as a feel-good hormone!
4. Fights against anemia
Bananas are rich in iron and contribute to stimulating the production of hemoglobin. However, anemia is an anomaly of the hemogram characterized by a decrease in the hemoglobin level below its normal value. This lack leads to poor transport by the blood of oxygen. Filling up on iron by eating bananas will help the proper functioning of blood transport.
5. Fights against chronic diarrhea
A few studies in Bangladesh have shown that eating bananas can decrease symptoms of chronic diarrhea in children. In some cases, a mixture of rice and cooked plantains or a mixture of rice and pectin could decrease the number and weight of stools, as well as the duration of diarrhea in babies. In other cases, consuming unripe bananas (½ to 3 bananas per day, depending on the age of the children) hastened recovery from both acute and chronic diarrhea. Another study carried out in Venezuela demonstrated that a diet comprising a cooked plantain-based preparation reduced the number and weight of stools, the duration of diarrhea, and promoted weight gain, compared to a traditional preparation based on yogurt.
Also, unripe bananas contain resistant starch, a type of sugar that resists the action of digestive enzymes (similar to dietary fiber) and leaves the colon intact. Under the action of the intestinal flora, the undigested starch then undergoes fermentation, which transforms it into short-chain fatty acids (e.g., butyric acid). These stimulate the absorption of fluids and salt in the colon, thus decreasing the loss of water in the stool. Short-chain fatty acids are also believed to indirectly improve the permeability of the small intestine, a phenomenon that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea.
6. Prevents cardiovascular illnesses
One study found that consuming bananas with a meal (400g, or more than 3 bananas) reduced free radicals in the body 2 hours after a meal. This diet reduced the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), a process implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. However, more studies are needed to target the effects of bananas in the longer term and with more moderate doses.
7. Good ally against type 2 diabetes
The resistant starch (a type of sugar) in unripe bananas is believed to aid weight loss in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as improve the sensitivity of cells to insulin. A resistant starch extract from unripe bananas is also believed to decrease insulin secretion and lower blood sugar in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers have also found that resistant starch decreases the absorption of sugars consumed at the same time, which leads to a decrease in blood sugar levels. In addition, regular consumption of resistant starch is thought to lead to a greater increase in ghrelin during meals, a hormone that has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
8. Strengthens the bones
Thanks to their high potassium content, bananas help preserve and strengthen bones. In fact, the potassium found naturally in fruits and vegetables or provided in the form of supplements could prevent osteoporosis according to a study from the University of Surrey.
9. Provides energy for high intensity sports
For starters, bananas are nutritious. This contributes to the many energy needs and of an athlete and a quarter of the daily needs of the athlete in vitamin B6.
The banana is indeed the most energetic fruit. When it is well matured, a banana has the same effects as a simple sugar because its fructose and glucose content increases. It brings a significant gain of energy to athletes thanks to the carbohydrates it contains. The athlete, therefore, feels less fatigue.
Due to its high fiber content, banana also provides a feeling of satiety. In other words, the banana acts as a “hunger cut” for the individual who eats it. In small quantities, the banana can be recommended during a diet.
10. Rich in antioxidants and carotenoids
Although bananas are not among the fruits that contain the most antioxidants, they still have a high antioxidant capacity, possibly helping to prevent the onset of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and various chronic diseases. The very popular Cavendish banana is said to contain dopamine, a molecule from the catecholamine family. Dopamine has been shown to have antioxidant activity similar to that of vitamin C, the most potent water-soluble antioxidant. Since bananas contain both dopamine and vitamin C, this could explain their high antioxidant capacity. Plantain would also be an important source of several phenolic compounds which would be well absorbed by the body, thus optimizing their antioxidant potential.
An antioxidant from the flavonoid family, leucocyanidin, has been extracted from unripe plantains. This active compound has been shown to protect against erosion of the stomach lining after taking aspirin.
Plantains contain beta and alpha-carotene, 2 carotenoids that can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Of all the carotenoids, beta-carotene is the most efficient converting to vitamin A. The latter promotes the growth of bones and teeth, maintains the skin healthy, and protects against infections.
According to a survey of people prone to depression, many respondents say they feel better after eating a banana. The dopamine in bananas is undoubtedly no stranger to this phenomenon, which is however also explained by the presence of tryptophan, a substance that the body converts into serotonin, the chemical messenger in the brain known for its relaxing effect and which causes general well-being.
This good mood effect is enhanced by the presence of good amounts of vitamin B6 (0.5 mg per 100 g, or a quarter of the recommended daily intake). Also called pyridoxine, this vitamin is, among other things, useful for the production of various neurotransmitters associated with mood, including serotonin and dopamine. Some studies have shown that, when consumed in high doses, it alleviates depression associated with premenstrual syndrome.
A study also showed that a diet rich in tryptophan, together with an adequate intake of vitamin B6, promoted the production of serotonin and reduced the symptoms of depression.
12. Lowers blood pressure
Bananas are a fruit rich in potassium with a content of approximately 360 mg per 100 g. Knowing that a banana weighs around 150 g, eating one is like consuming around 540 mg of potassium.
Many studies have linked low potassium intake to increased blood pressure. And conversely, a sufficient potassium intake (between 4 and 5 g / day), prevents and fights against hypertension. This helps limit the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke.
A meta-analysis carried out by researchers from the WHO has also confirmed previous studies: high consumption of potassium lowers blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension, which makes it possible to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Bananas are among the fruits that can be incriminated in the context of an allergy. It is one of the 8 main foods responsible for allergies in adults. A banana allergy can vary in severity, ranging from simple itching to anaphylactic shock. It most often concerns people allergic to latex: referred to as a latex-fruit syndrome. It can also affect people allergic to ragweed pollen.
In the event of any reaction, it is essential to consult an allergist to perform the necessary tests and implement the appropriate therapeutic strategy.
Franck Saebring is a family man first and a writer second. Born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, only cars eclipse his love of gadgets. His very passionate about anything tech and science related.