Bananas are some of the most popular fruit consumed all over the world. These curious yellow growths are sweet and juicy when ripe and are one of the most convenient fruits to peel and eat. Many people enjoy them on the go as well as at work, simply because it’s easy to be able to unpeel them and enjoy them without washing or eating them with utensils.
Bananas, too, are amazingly healthy for you. As with all fruit, it’s recommended that you try and introduce more than a few into your diet each day. However, as always, it’s good to try and vary this with different types of fruit and veg. That said, there is much worse you can be snacking on than bananas!
But just how good are bananas for you? What are some of the crucial banana facts you should know about before you change your diet up for good? Let’s take a look.
1. Bananas are low in calories.
The average banana will contain around 89 calories, making them a fantastic low-calorie snack that’s well worth tucking into for a lengthy energy release.
2. They are low in fat, but high in natural sugars.
Of course, they are also famously low in fat – the same with most fruit. It’s the sugar you will have to look out for, however, with around 12g expected per banana.
However, again with most fruit, bananas are crammed full of naturally occurring sugars. These spring forth through the ripening process. The average banana will be starchy and green until it ripens, by which time it has changed yellow and will be much sweeter and tastier to eat.
3. There are more than a few types of sugar!
There are around three different types of sugars in bananas – mainly glucose, sucrose, and fructose. These are naturally occurring sugars and are therefore healthier for you than the added sugars you’ll find in chocolate and treats elsewhere. However, it remains to be said that you should always keep an eye on your sugar levels!
4. Bananas might just be superfood.
Bananas are absolutely crammed full of important nutrients. Most famously, bananas are amazing sources of potassium, from which you will generally get around 9% of your recommended intake each day from a single fruit.
5. Bananas keep your ticker ticking.
A diet rich in bananas is said to be great for your heart. That’s because the sheer potassium levels will help to ensure that your body is packed with electrolytes. What’s more, as bananas are very low on sodium, it’s likely that you’ll protect your heart even further by swapping out salty snacks for the yellow fruit.
6. Bananas can keep you regular, too.
It’s also thought that bananas are great for digestion. That’s largely thanks to the high levels of fibre found in the fruit. Bananas are full of resistant starch, which will eventually ripen into sugar, as well as pectin. Therefore, the riper the banana, the less fibre it will contain. Green bananas might not be too tasty, but they are thought to be better for you in this regard!
7. Could bananas help you beat cancer?
Starch and pectin are important for your body to digest simply because they can help to cultivate the healthy bacteria in your gut. Beyond this, studies suggest that certain types of starch might help to stave off digestive cancers.
As with many other fruit, bananas are also full of amazing antioxidant properties. As stated above, they may already have properties which can help to fight cancer. Beyond the starch, however, you will also find that bananas are full of catechins, which might help to reduce your chances of developing cancer.
8. Bananas are favoured by gym nuts.
Bananas are thought to be fantastic aids for exercise. That, again, is thanks to the electrolytes, such as potassium. While many people may rely on sports and energy drinks, some studies show that the fruit may actually help to improve your energy levels far beyond that of artificial drinks and supplements. Why not give them a go?
9. Bananas really do keep you going.
What’s more, it’s thought that the dopamine in bananas may even help with energy levels, particularly as this can help to increase the amount of antioxidants your body can take on.
10. Green bananas are best.
As mentioned, a banana is a great snack to have to hand if you’re trying to feel fuller sooner. This, again, is largely thanks to the incredible starch content in bananas. Greener bananas, again, are likely to be more beneficial to you in this regard, even though they might not taste quite as nice. Give them a go and see if you get used to them!
11. They are good for blood pressure on the whole.
Bananas may be high in sugar on the whole – which does not make them a diabetes-friendly foodstuff – however, it’s thought that they are less likely to raise blood pressure than many other types of fruit. Therefore, on balance, a diet rich in different types of fruit, again, is likely to breed the best results. Don’t just stick to bananas alone!
12. They’ll also help your kidneys.
Bananas are also thought to be hugely beneficial to your kidneys. That – yes, again – is thanks to the potassium levels. Studies over the years have shown that people who eat bananas regularly are less likely to develop disease in their kidneys. Some of the figures are fairly staggering – as it shows that eating a banana every day could halve your chances of developing kidney problems.
13. Bananas could help with breathing concerns.
Research is ongoing, but minor studies suggest that bananas may help people who have breathing problems. It is thought that the antioxidant nature of the fruit may be the cause of such relief for children with asthma, for example. However, studies are ongoing.
14. There’s some conflict on the banana-diabetes debate.
As mentioned, bananas might not be the best fruit for a diabetic friendly diet. However, reviews into the fruit and their effect on developing type 2 diabetes show positive results. It appears that more fibre in your diet could help to stave off the condition, meaning that, again, it might be time to start tucking into that green fruit!
15. They could enhance your vision.
Believe it or not, if you want to improve your vision, it’s bananas you should be eating, not carrots! Ok – so there are benefits to eye health in all kinds of fruits and vegetables. However, bananas are well-known for being crammed full of vitamin A. This is a nutrient you’ll need to make sure your eyes and vision stay healthy for years to come. It also means that you continue to build healthy proteins around your eyes, too.
16. Do bananas breed boys?
Believe it or not, some studies suggest that potassium seems to have a correlation with a male birth rate. Pregnant women who eat more bananas and more potassium than most during gestation are, according to some papers, more likely to give birth to boys. Of course, this is something which will need further research!
17. Too much of anything can be bad for you!
Bananas can be harmful to your health if you eat too many. That much should already be obvious, and will likely apply to most foods, fruit and vegetables included! Don’t panic, however, as you’d likely need to stuff down 40 or more bananas down in a meal to start feeling any ill effects.
Vitamin B6, present in bananas, is also thought to produce ill effects if you have too much. In particular, studies suggest that around 500mg is the upper limit you should be looking for in the nutrient. The symptoms of a diet too high in B6 can include muscle problems and even paralysis – be careful!
18. It’s a staple provider of vitamin C.
As always, a banana is full of healthy vitamin C. Vitamin C is a nutrient present in the vast majority of fruits and vegetables, and it’s essential in helping to maintain an immune system. Therefore, regular banana consumption is likely to help protect you against a variety of illnesses.
19. Bananas are super convenient.
It’s extremely easy to introduce bananas into most diets. They are convenient to eat on the go and are very easy to slice and mush down. They are the perfect food for babies and toddlers, too, as they require very little in the way of chewing!
20. They won’t keep the dentist away!
However, speaking of chewing, the sugars in bananas will, naturally, cause potential dental problems in the long run if you eat too many of them. Therefore, keep a balance – one a day, according to studies, is likely to be healthy enough!
21. If you’re careful, they can help you diet.
Of course – the fact you’re waiting for – is that bananas can help you to lose weight. As they are stacked full of sugar, eating too many, again, is a no no. However, as they are low in calorie and are naturally filling, it’s likely that many people will find them a useful and beneficial diet food. Add in the fact that they have tons of fibre when at their most green, and you have a brilliant diet support for weight loss and management.
22. They may also be brilliant for muscle building.
Some studies also suggest that bananas are great in helping you to regenerate and maintain healthy muscles. This, as science dictates, is thanks to the potassium. Potassium really is the biggest asset in a banana, isn’t it? It’s thought that as you exercise and exert yourself, you’ll sweat out essential potassium – which you can naturally start replacing with a banana snack.
23. Could bananas be the ideal hangover cure?
Believe it or not, some believe that bananas are fantastic at helping to cure hangovers. That’s because they are full of water, which will help to keep you hydrated. When you drink too much alcohol, you will generally have more of a propensity to pass water – and that’s likely to lose you a lot of electrolytes. Guess what? You’ll lose potassium, too! Therefore, don’t be too surprised if you start seeing people peeling a banana or two the next time they have a beer or two with you!
24. Banana peels – the slippery truth at last!
There’s something of a myth going around regarding banana peels. Are they toxic or not? The straight answer is – no. In fact, they are full of B6 and B12 vitamins. You’re also going to get plenty of magnesium from a banana peel, though it’s not that common that you’ll see them eaten.
Many people around the world, however, choose to eat the peels along with the fruit inside. Otherwise, the peel can be cooked and dried. As with all other fruit, make sure to wash down the skin if you are going to eat it along with the fruit inside.
25. Could you get headaches from banana munching?
Excess banana consumption might actually give you headaches. Studies suggest that this is related to amino acids. These tend to be more apparent in bananas the greener they are, which means you need to take the extra fibre and starch in hand with potential headaches!
26. Bananas could help you feel happier.
Bananas could even help to improve or stabilise your mood. It’s not a given fact, but bananas which are rich in tryptophan might help to stimulate the mood-boosting centre of your brain. Tryptophan, too, can also help with sleep quality, meaning it may be worth investing in a banana diet if you’re struggling with insomnia at any level.
27. They won’t help you maintain healthy teeth.
Bananas have negligible calcium, which means they are hardly the best snacks for your teeth. However, what they are packed with is complex carbohydrates. These might help you absorb more calcium into your body, which in turn is going to be hugely beneficial to your bones.
28. They’re massively popular with young and old.
Bananas are some of the most popular fruity snacks you’ll find in lunchboxes all over the world. And why not? There are a few misconceptions out there regarding the yellow wonders, but ultimately, they are packed full of brilliant vitamins and crucial nutrients. Beyond this, you will also find that a banana or two could help to cut your risk of developing illnesses and conditions later in life.
29. Bananas are great for potassium refills.
Of course, the main thing to take away from bananas is potassium. There are few foods so easy to eat which have so much potassium so readily packed in. Therefore, you have every reason to start snacking on some bananas if you want to boost your energy levels, recover from exercise, or recover from drinks the night before.
30. They could help you in all walks of life.
Bananas could help to improve your heart health, your mood, and even the way your digestive system operates. Therefore, it might well be time to start peeling back a few pieces of fruit and to see how you get on – there are plenty of studies backing the health benefits up.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bananas
Is it safe to eat a banana every day?
Yes - it’s unlikely healthy people will feel the ill effects of over-consuming bananas if you eat two per day..
Can bananas cause constipation?
Experts suggest that there’s more fibre in riper bananas, meaning you’ll want to try the yellower variety to stay regular.
Are there any reasons not to eat bananas?
In some cases, bananas can cause indigestion or acid reflux, so try to enjoy them sparingly with a glass of water.
Do you know any fun facts about bananas? Share them in the comments below!