Banana is the fruit of the Musa acuminata plant. The word “acuminata” means tapering or long-pointed and refers to the flowers, not the fruit itself. Before the banana was called the banana, around the 17th century, it was named “banema” in Guinea.
Bananas originally came from the Indo-Malaysian region, stretching down to northern Australia. Historians guess that people started spreading the wonder of edible bananas in the Mediterranean region in the 3rd century, B.C. It wasn’t until the 10th century, A.D., that bananas are presumed to have first arrived in Europe and began their spread around the globe.
And even though most of us are only familiar with “regular” yellow bananas we find at the grocery store, there are actually hundreds of varieties of this fruit.
The yellow bananas most of us have known and loved are actually a mutant strain of plantains. They were accidentally discovered by a Jamaican chef named Jean Francois Poujot in 1836, who began cultivating the sweet yellow bananas after discovering one of his plantain varieties had mutated.
Americans eat more bananas each year than any other fresh fruit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. No wonder. They’re easy to grab and go when you’re in a hurry – and even for your school children, they are easy to stash them in their lunch boxes or in their school bags.
Bananas are full of nutrients. They’re especially high in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Bananas also contain small amounts of vitamin A, E, and K.
Bananas are also rich in potassium, fiber, and natural sugars. They are also a good source of fiber, a nutrient that most people lack in their diet. Because the fruit’s sugar content is balanced with fiber, it helps maintain a healthy blood glucose level.
The precise nutritional content of a banana varies depending on its size. A medium banana, measuring 7–8 inches in length, contains:
- energy: 105 kcal
- protein: 1.29 g
- fiber: 3.07 g
- carbohydrates: 27 g
- fat: 0.39 g
- potassium: 422 mg
- magnesium: 31.90 mg
- phosphorus: 26 mg
- calcium: 5.90 mg
- vitamin C: 10.30 mg
- iron: 0.31 mg
- folate: 23.60 micrograms (µg)
An average banana also contains around 14 grams of sugar. However, it’s important to note that these are natural sugars, not added sugars like those found in baked goods and packaged snack foods.
Because fruit sugars are bound up in fibrous cell walls and contain water, so they don’t have the same blood glucose level impact that processed sugars do. And in addition to those 14 grams of natural sugars, that average banana’s three grams of fiber help prevent spikes in your blood sugar when you eat it.
16 Health Benefits of Bananas
1. No. 1 Superfood.
Banana health benefits far outweigh those of the apple. That’s because they have many more vitamins and nutrients than their round counterparts.
Bananas have twice as many carbohydrates, 5 times as much Vitamin A and iron, and 3 times as much phosphorus as apples. Bananas are also rich in potassium, fiber, and natural sugars. The vitamin C, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals bananas contain help to maintain overall good health.
Because the fruit’s sugar content is balanced with fiber, it helps maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Even people with diabetes can enjoy a banana, according to the American Diabetes Association.
This wealth of nutrients makes banana a “superfood” that should be an integral part of your healthy daily regimen.
2. May support mood balance and restful sleep.
Research suggests that a diet rich in potassium-containing foods (like bananas) may help you sleep better. A 2018 study published in Hypertension Research found that individuals who had less potassium in their blood experienced sleep patterns that were more disturbed and less restful.
Bananas also contain tryptophan, amino acid, and a natural sedative that converts to serotonin, a sleep-promoting neurotransmitter. Similarly, a 2013 study found that tropical fruits, including bananas, increased melatonin levels — a sleep-promoting hormone.
This fruit is also abundant in magnesium and vitamin B6, which can both aid in calming your mind and promoting restful sleep. Between the potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, melatonin, and B6 in bananas, there’s good reason to believe they can help you enjoy a good night’s sleep.
3. Energy booster.
Bananas are a better source of energy than expensive sports drinks, according to a 2012 study at Appalachian State University, published in PLUS ONE. Two bananas provide enough calories for a 1-1/2 hour workout or walk.
Bananas also are an ideal pick-me-up. When you feel tired and sluggish in the afternoon don’t go for coffee or a sugary snack. Grab a banana instead. Your energy level will last longer, and you won’t suffer the dramatic crash caused by caffeine or cake.
Eat bananas, and you might say goodbye to constipation. Well-ripened bananas have a type of fiber that helps to restore and maintain regular bowel functions. They are a natural source for improving the movement of waste through the bowels, according to a 2014 Chinese study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
So eat ripe bananas twice a day.
5. Puts you in a happy mood.
Bananas have a small amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that when combined with bananas’ natural vitamin B6, helps boost the production of serotonin, a “feel-good hormone.” This mood-regulating substance may help your mind and body relax so you feel happier.
Or it may just be the bright yellow color and the smile shape of a banana that does the trick, according to nutritionist Joannie Dobbs, Ph. D, CNS, at the University of Hawaii.
6. Maybe protective for heart health.
A large body of research tells us that low levels of potassium in your body have a strong correlation to the risk of higher blood pressure. But the good news is that getting enough potassium — by eating potassium-rich foods — can help maintain your blood pressure at healthy levels.
Because they are rich in potassium, bananas help the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps the body maintain a regular heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and a proper balance of water in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Potassium-rich foods are also known to reduce the risk of strokes in older women, according to a 2014 study in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke.
Potassium may also protect blood vessels from thickening and becoming damaged from atherosclerosis. And bananas are one of the most potassium-rich foods in the human diet.
They are also a good source of magnesium, a mineral known to play a role in heart health. Research indicates that magnesium deficiency correlates with high blood pressure and high levels of blood fats, for example.
7. Fight morning sickness.
Because of the calming properties associated with vitamin B6, bananas are often eaten by pregnant women to combat early-pregnancy morning sickness, says Richmond Hill, Canada, dietitian, Anar Allidina.
8. May promote healthy digestion.
A 2011 study conducted among 34 overweight but otherwise healthy women, found that incorporating bananas daily could improve gastrointestinal health. The women were divided into three groups in which they received either one banana, one banana-flavored drink, or one cup of water in the control group.
The participants assigned to the banana group experienced significantly less bloating and slightly increased levels of bifidobacteria — “good” bacteria in your gut that are often used in probiotics — in their stool.
Furthermore, bananas contain two main types of fiber: pectin and resistant starch. While starch is most concentrated in green and unripe bananas, pectin increases as bananas ripen. Some research indicates that pectin may be protective when it comes to colon cancer, and that resistant starch helps to feed the “good” bacteria in your gut.
9. Hangover remedy.
The natural ingredients in bananas and their ability to replenish the body’s vitamins make them an ideal way to reduce the effects of a hangover.
Put a couple of bananas in the blender with some plain yogurt and add some honey to sweeten the taste. The fruit tends to calm the stomach and the honey helps to restore the blood sugar levels to normal.
10. May support healthy bones.
Evidence shows that potassium-rich diets can have protective effects on bone health. Although the actual reason for this is still up for debate, many researchers think it’s because potassium prevents calcium resorption.
11. Banish PMS pain.
Don’t take pills to reduce your menstrual pains. Try bananas instead. Bananas have plenty of vitamin B6. Some studies suggest that B6 may reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
12. Itch relief.
Don’t throw banana peels away if you have an itchy mosquito bite. Rubbing the inside of a banana peel reduces itching and swelling of insect bites, people report. The research isn’t conclusive, but what do you have to lose by trying it?
You know, I tried this myself today. I have been attending to my plants and when my hands touched the leaves of my indoor plants, I do get the itchiness on my hands. For days my hands would itch a lot. I have used different creams but they just took a long time to heal.
Well, I should be using gloves, common sense, isn’t it? But then again, if I did, I would not have known if this really works. Now I know.
So, I used this banana peel and applied it to my hands. Wow! Right away the itchiness stopped and never came back. This is one amazing remedy.
13. Soothe ulcers.
Bananas help to increase mucus in the digestive tract, which can help heal or even prevent stomach ulcers, according to alternative health researcher and chiropractor David Williams, D.C. They help reduce the irritation of the digestive system by leaving a protective coating around the inner walls, making it a natural way to promote intestinal health as well.
Since they help to neutralize acidity, they’re also a great way to get rid of heartburn. They act as a natural antacid and quickly soothe the burn.
14. May have anticancer properties.
Bananas are a rich source of lectins, carbohydrate-binding proteins that have been studied for their potential ability to kill cancer cells. (There are a few authors today who warn against lectins, but such warnings are mostly misguided.)
One study published in the journal Molecules in 2014 specifically examined lectins in bananas. The authors reported that lectins have the potential for suppressing cancer cell proliferation.
15. May treat warts.
Banana peels also heal plantar, flat, or common warts. If you have a wart, tape a banana peel over it before going to bed, the University of Maryland Medical Center says.
16. May help support healthy weight loss and maintenance.
While bananas do not specifically affect weight loss, they do have properties that can help a person manage their body weight, such as high fiber content, reduce bloating, control their appetite, and replace processed sugars. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which can help make people feel fuller for longer periods.
While there aren’t a lot of studies on the relationship between banana consumption and weight loss, they do offer characteristics that are known to support a healthy weight.
Bananas are low in calories, coming in at around 100 calories on average. They’re high in fiber, a nutrient that helps you feel fuller longer between meals and may help prevent overeating. The resistant starch in bananas may especially help keep your appetite at bay.
And, as you’ll have discovered if you’ve ever blended or mashed banana and seen its volume decrease significantly, bananas actually contain a lot of air, which may also stimulate that “full” feeling.
Foods that have a glycemic index (GI) score of 55 or less are low GI foods. These foods will help keep blood sugar levels steady. The riper a fruit, however, the higher its GI score. A ripe banana weighing 120 g has a GI score of 51, and an under-ripe banana has a GI value of 30.
In a 2014 study, researchers recruited 45 people with high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes to see if a daily intake of 1–2 ripe bananas would improve their blood sugar and lipid profiles. Despite the sugar content of this fruit, the results indicated that eating it daily was harmless for people with diabetes.
Adding bananas to the diet also slightly improved blood sugar levels and lipid profiles in people with high cholesterol. If people have concerns about the sugar content of ripe bananas, eating a less ripe or smaller banana can lower the sugar intake.
Which type of banana is best?
In one of the polls conducted by the Times of India regarding the healthiest banana, a majority of people leaned towards the spotted bananas, calling them the healthiest choice of bananas, while in reality, it is the brown variety that packs the most antioxidants.
Bananas are one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. Bananas aren’t just for monkeys. In fact, among humans, they’re one of the most popular fruits in the world
Bananas are, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and widely consumed fruits around the world. Not only are they nutritious, but eating them appears to be good for your heart, your digestive system, your waistline, and even your sleep patterns.
While bananas do not specifically affect weight loss, they do have properties that can help a person manage their body weight, such as high fiber content.
Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which can help make people feel fuller for longer periods. This satiety may aid weight loss by reducing the tendency to overeat.
Bananas are healthful and nutritious to eat in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
You can also purchase Potassium supplements online by clicking here.
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Please let us know in the comments below:
- Do you eat bananas? Why or why not?
- What’s your favorite way to eat bananas
- Do you or anyone in your family have a history of physical illness who might be helped by these recommendations?
Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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