Bananas are extremely healthy and delicious. They contain several essential nutrients and provide benefits for digestion, heart health and weight loss. Aside from being very nutritious, they are also a highly convenient snack food.
Bananas Contain Many Important Nutrients
Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also boasts
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
- Copper: 10% of the RDI
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI
- Net carbs: 24 grams
- Fiber: 3.1 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
Each banana has only about 105 calories and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas hold very little protein and almost no fat.
The carbs in green, unripe bananas consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but as the banana ripens, the starch turns into sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose).
Here are some science-based health benefits of bananas.
Health benefits of bananas
1 : Bananas are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6
How Vitamin B6 helps your body
- Produce red blood cells,
- Metabolise carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy,
- Metabolise amino acids,
- Remove unwanted chemicals from your liver and kidneys, and
- Maintain a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is also good for pregnant women as it helps meet their baby’s development needs.
2 : Bananas are sources of vitamin C
A medium-sized banana will provide about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs.
How Vitamin C helps your body.
- Protect your body against cell and tissue damage,
- Your body absorb iron better,
- Your body produce collagen – the protein which holds your skin, bones and body together, and
- Support brain health by producing serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress and pain.
3 : Manganese in bananas is good for your skin
One medium-sized banana provides approximately 13% of your daily manganese needs. Manganese helps your body make collagen and protects your skin and other cells against free radical damage.
4 : Potassium in bananas is good for your heart health and blood pressure
A medium-sized banana will provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of your daily potassium needs.
Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination helps to control high blood pressure.
5 : Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues
A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of your daily fibre needs. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends a daily dietary fibre intake of 20g for women and 26g for men.
Soluble and insoluble fibres play an important role in your health. Soluble fibre helps your body control your blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol. Insoluble fibre adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier for you to have regular bowel movements. This helps to keep your gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in your small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help you manage your weight better as you stay full for longer.
Bananas can help you beat gastrointestinal issues such as:
- Stomach ulcers
6 : Bananas give you energy – minus the fats and cholesterol
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – giving you a fat and cholesterol-free source of energy. As such, bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, as a midday snack or before and after sports.
The Bottom Line
Bananas are a popular fruit that happens to provide numerous health benefits.
Among other things, they may boost digestive and heart health due to their fiber and antioxidant content.
They may even aid weight loss, as they’re relatively low-calorie and nutrient-dense.
Ripe bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s more, both yellow and green bananas can keep you healthy and feeling full.