From better sleep to increased weight loss, bananas have got it going on! This post will share the 7 surprising benefits of bananas…and with recipe suggestions, too.
I think you guys have noticed by now, I go bananas over bananas. True story! It came to a point where my kids no longer wanted to eat them because I incorporated them into everything. A real life banana boycott. My bad!
But then again, this post has long been overdue. You’ve seen me blog about bananas literally all the time but I haven’t really dived into the actual benefits of bananas. Well, don’t worry because the time is now! I created this blog to shed light on why bananas are a staple in my healthy diet. If you read this post all the way to the end, I suspect they’ll be a staple in yours too…
Are Bananas Healthy?
Bananas are absolutely healthy! They’re packed with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and magnesium. You’ll find small amounts of copper, selenium and zinc too. And they’re a great source of fiber!
If you don’t believe me, here’s the nutritional profile of a medium sized banana (126g):
|Total Fat||0 grams|
|Total Carbohydrates||30 grams|
|Vitamin C||15% of the Daily Value|
|Vitamin A||2% of the DV|
|Potassium||13% of the DV|
|Iron||2% of the DV|
Are Bananas Good for Constipation?
Ripe bananas are good for constipation because they are high in soluble fiber (AKA pectin) which draws water from the intestines and creates movement in the bowels, keeping the gut healthy. Have one in the morning to get things going. But be careful! Unripe bananas can cause constipation because they still contain a high amount of resistant starch, which is difficult for the body to digest.
It’s important to note though, that resistant starch increases the short chain fatty acids in the gut, which is a good thing. So as long as you eat bananas that are ripe and ready to eat, you’re good to go.
How Many Bananas Can I Have In A Day?
One or two bananas per day qualifies as a balanced diet. As I always say, too much of anything ain’t good for you! An excess of bananas can lead to possible weight gain and nutrient deficiencies. So make sure you include all the other good stuff in your diet. I personally love putting bananas on top of a stack of protein pancakes for a balanced and high energy meal.
Can I Eat Bananas At Night?
Eating a banana before bed can help you sleep. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps your body produce melatonin, aka the “sleep hormone.” So the next time you’re craving a midnight snack but also plan to hit the sack, grab a medium-sized banana. Your body will surely thank you for this bedtime munchie.
Benefits of Bananas
Here’s where it really gets good. It’s the top 7 health benefits of bananas! Read along and join the banana fan club with me…
1. Bananas can aid in digestion
So I mentioned this earlier but I’ll say it again…bananas are loaded with fiber. Specifically 10-12% of your daily fiber requirement! This soluble fiber can help control your blood sugar level and also helps keep you full for longer periods.
And THIS is why I love adding bananas to my protein shake because it keeps me satiated until my next meal.
2. Bananas are a powerhouse of nutrients
Forget about apples. A banana a day keeps the doctor away! Bananas are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin and riboflavin, and B6. Talk about nutrition contributing to an overall healthy body.
3. Bananas contain powerful antioxidants
Instead of drinking all those expensive antioxidant green shots, have a banana instead. It contains several types of antioxidants such as dopamine and catechins. Both of which are said to reduce the risk of heart disease and even degenerative illness. Heart health, here we come!
4. Bananas are packed with potassium
But you knew that right? What you may not know is that potassium is known to have various health benefits, like regulating the heartbeat. Potassium can also lower blood pressure, and help to maintain healthy kidneys. Top your favorite whole wheat toast with a banana and nut butter. So good.
5. Bananas help prevent exercise-related soreness
Ever wonder why bananas are the recommended snack after working out? Well, wonder no more! Bananas help reduce exercise related cramps and soreness because of the mineral content and volume of easy-to-digest-carbs. Peel a banana to eat before you exercise and avoid sore muscles.
If you lose electrolytes after a heavy workout, both magnesium and potassium in bananas chase the stiffness away. Tasty bananas are also a good source of energy…which is perfect for your workout! Add a dab of peanut butter for protein and wow! Extra bonus.
6. Bananas keep you happy
So I know I mentioned that bananas have a small amount of tryptophan which helps with sleep. But what I haven’t told you is when combined with vitamin B6, it helps boost serotonin production. This is also known as the “feel good hormone.” Be in the best of moods when you eat bananas. With both tryptophan and serotonin, better sleep means less depression and more upbeat days.
7. Bananas may aid in weight loss
Now before you replace your entire diet with bananas, listen up. There isn’t any specific study that shows that bananas directly lead to weight loss. However, bananas contain several nutrients that do result in weight loss.
Bananas are a known source of fiber that has been linked to lower body weight and also weight loss. The soluble fiber in bananas can lower cholesterol and the insoluble fiber keeps the gut healthy and working as it should. Weight loss worthy!
How To Store Bananas?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen your bananas turn brown. Well, I for one am guilty of that too! I’ve left them directly under the sunlight and then BAM, I had to make some (really delicious) banana bread.
To avoid sad brown bananas, here are some tips on how you can correctly store them….
- Store them at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
- Do not pop them into the fridge (as this can prevent them from ripening, which nobody one wants).
- If you want to speed up the ripening process, store them in a brown paper bag. Or place them alongside your other fruits. It’ll emit more ethylene that way, which helps get you a perfectly ripe, high nutrient banana.
- If you want all your bananas to ripe at the same time, get a banana hanger! They help promote gradual ripening by preventing excess pressure and moisture from collecting at the bottom of the bunch.
- If you’ve accidentally allowed your bananas to overripen, don’t worry! You can freeze them and add them into your smoothies or baked goods!
More Healthy Banana Recipes
The bottom line is that bananas are awesome! Apart from the benefits mentioned above, bananas and their fiber are good for those with diabetes. And they curb cravings for people trying to lose weight as the natural sugars they contain (fructose, sucrose and glucose) boost energy without adding a ton of calories.
If you don’t like eating the fruit directly, try them mixed with high protein Greek yogurt. You can also incorporate bananas into various recipes. I’m including them below…
- Banana Protein Shake
- 1 Ingredient Banana Ice Cream Recipe
- Banana Chia Pudding
- Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Banana Oat Blender Pancakes
This post contains affiliate links to products I use regularly and highly recommend.