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10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Bananas

10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Bananas

Health and Nutrition
26.06.2019

Banana, based on the origin and temperature of the area where it grows is described as tropical fruit. Since found abundantly in the tropical rain forest areas (1). Bananas are the fourth most important cultivated crop in developing countries.

Bananas belong to the genus Musa and family Musaceae. It is a versatile fruit, it can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted and brewed also (2). Banana, when it is cooked as a vegetable, is called a plantain (1), While banana benefits health in more than a hundred ways, here are the top 10.

 10 evidence-based health benefits of bananas:

  1. Energy giving fruit

The major component of bananas is water, almost 75 %. The energy given by 100 grams of banana is 89 kcals (3). One medium-sized banana that weighs about 118 grams provides about 105 kcals (4).

Banana has about 23 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams. Out of the carbohydrate present in banana half of it is in the form of sugars, that is about 14 grams (4). Because of the energy value, banana benefits athletes (5).

  1. Dietary fiber

A medium sized banana has about 3 % fiber. Dietary fiber is the carbohydrate that resists digestion. Banana is known to regulate bowel movement whether it is constipation or diarrhea (5).

  1. Good source of potassium

Banana is a good source of potassium 100 grams provide 358 mg (3). Potassium is an essential mineral and it performs several important functions in the body. Potassium has a protective effect on heart health because potassium lowers blood pressure (6). Banana benefits blood pressure as well since they are also low in sodium.

  1. Vitamin C source

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and banana is a good source of vitamin C. 8.7 mg vitamin C in 100 grams of banana (3). A medium-sized banana will give you about 10 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C has a role to play in immune system function and it also enhances dietary iron absorption.

  1. Antioxidant activity

Banana benefits your skin and overall health since they also contain phytochemicals such as phenolic compounds and carotenoids which have antioxidant activity (1). Phytonutrients or bioactive compounds as they are also called have several health-promoting properties.

Banana is also a good source of vitamin C a potent antioxidant. The antioxidants can reduce the risk of several degenerative chronic diseases.

  1. Prebiotic effect

Resistant starch and dietary fiber of banana act as prebiotics and because of bacterial fermentation in the large intestine short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are formed (7).

Banana starch is a good source of resistant starch, with banana flour having 17. 5 % resistant starch. SCFA exhibit several health benefits (8). Certain SCFA may reduce the risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders, cancer and cardiovascular diseases (9).

  1. Cardioprotective

Hypertension is a major risk factor of heart disease. Banana benefits your nerves since it is a rich source of potassium and has very little sodium. Both of these factors reduce blood pressure. Banana has an antioxidant activity which is also cardioprotective.

  1. Good for athletes

Banana is a cheap source of energy and along with calories it also provides antioxidants (4). After a prolonged and intensive work out, banana acts as an effective source of energy.

Also banana benefits the body the avoiding oxidative stress while performing the physical activity.

  1. Can be moderately consumed by diabetics

If a medium-sized banana has 14.4 grams of sugars, the individual sugar content was glucose 5.9 grams, fructose 5.7 grams and sucrose 2.8 grams (4). The Glycaemic Index (GI) of banana is 51, it falls between low to moderate GI value.

The unripe banana carbohydrate contains about 73 % starch and by the time the banana ripens starch became less than 1 %. Unripe banana starch contains about 17 % resistant starch (10).  Resistant starch increases insulin sensitivity (11). Green bananas can be consumed as a vegetable by diabetics.

Diabetics should take care not to eat a very large and very ripe banana. Do not overdo it because it contains sugar but can be consumed as one of the fruits in the diet. Variety and moderation are the keys to reaping all the banana benefits. Diabetics monitor your blood sugar levels.

  1. Popular fruit

Banana is a very popular fruit as it is one of the most consumed fruits. According to WHO a person should eat 400 grams of fruits and vegetables a day to reduce the risk of chronic diseases (12).

A medium banana is about 118 grams and it can easily be incorporated into our diet. Banana can be eaten as such, made into milkshakes, incorporated into baked products and green banana can be cooked as a vegetable.

 

Final word:

Banana is a fruit packed with energy, nutrients and health benefits. It is one of the most-liked foods by children and adults alike. It can be used in several recipes and can be eaten as such. It is a good energy provider for athletes too. Diabetics can consume banana but in moderation and keep an eye on your blood sugar levels.

Add it to your balanced diet and witness the banana benefits on your overall health.

 

References:

  1. Sidhu, J. S. and Zafar, T. A. (2018) Bioactive compounds in banana fruits and their health benefits, Food Quality and Safety. Vol. 2 (4).
    https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/2(sidhu)/4/183/5164297
  1. Perrier, X., De Langhe, E., Donohue, M., Lentfer, C., Vrydaghs, L., Bakry, F., Carreel,  F., Hippolyte, I., Horry, J., Jenny, Ch., Lebot, V.,Risterucci, A.,Tomekpe, K., Doutrelepont, H., Ball, T., Manwaring, J., de Maret, P. and Denham, T. (2011) Multidisciplinary perspectives on banana (Musa) domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Vol. 108(28).
    https://www.pnas.org/content/108/28/11311
  1. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, United States, Department of Agriculture.
    https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
  1. Nieman, D. C., Gillitt, N. D., Henson, D. A., Sha, W., Shanely, R. A., Knab, A. M., Cialdella-Kam, L. and Jin, F. (2012). Bananas as an energy source during exercise: a metabolomics approach. PloS one. Vol. 7 (5).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/
  1. Singh, R., Kaushik, R. and Gosewade, S. (2018) Bananas as underutilized fruit having huge potential as raw materials for food and non-food processing industries: A brief review, The Pharma Innovation Journal. Vol.7(6).
    http://www.thepharmajournal.com/archives/2018/vol7issue6/PartI/7-6-103-451.pdf
  1. Lanham-New, S.A., Lambert, H. and Frassetto, L. (2012) Potassium, Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 3(6).
    https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/6/820/4644562
  1. Topping, D. L. and Clifton, P. M.(2001) Short-chain fatty acids and human colonic function: roles of resistant starch and nonstarch polysaccharides, Physiol Rev. 81 (3).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11427691
  1. Wong, F. S. (2017) Dietary short-chain fatty acids protect against type 1 diabetes, Nature Immunology. Vol.18.
    https://journals.lww.com/jcge/Abstract/2006/03000/Colonic_Health__Fermentation_and_Short_Chain_Fatty.15.aspx
  1. Hijova, E. and Chmelarova, A. (2007) Short-chain fatty acids and colonic health, Bratisl Lek Listy. Vol. 108(8).
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Emilia_Hijova/publication/5647158_Short_chain_fatty_acids_and_colonic_health/links/549290280cf2302e1d072e37.pdf
  1. G. and Manoj. S. (2014) A Review on Banana Starch, Inventi Rapid: Planta Activa. Vol. 2014 (3).
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263780282_A_Review_on_Banana_Starch
  1. Falcomer, A. L., Riquette, R., de Lima, B. R., Ginani, V. C. and Zandonadi, R. P. (2019) Health Benefits of Green Banana Consumption: A Systematic Review, Nutrients. Vol. 11(6).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627159/
  2. World Health Organization (2019). Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
    https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/fruit/en/

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