A whopping 80 million bananas are produced every single year. Perhaps even more interestingly, 80 percent of those yellow fruits remain in the four main countries where they’re produced: Brazil, China, Ecuador and India. Of the remaining 20 percent, 75 percent of them end up in the United States. The fact that the U.S. only gets 15 percent of the world’s bananas is pretty shocking — you’d be hard-pressed to walk into a grocery store that doesn’t have an overflowing banana display. What we’re trying to say is, Americans love bananas, as does the rest of the world. And it’s not just because the fruit tastes good. There are so many benefits of eating bananas for your health, too.
Here are a dozen of them.
Benefits of Eating Bananas
Before we dive in, let’s consider a few of the merits of bananas that aren’t quite scientific.
Bananas are delicious. As you can tell from the theme of this blog, we love them here.
You can eat bananas in a slew of different ways. Reach for a plain, old banana, and you have the perfect snack.
But that’s not all — you can whip bananas into smoothies or chop them over your cereal. You can even transform them into cocktails that are dangerous for how tasty they are.
So, in conclusion, bananas are delicious and versatile. And they’re healthy, too — those are the benefits we’re going to explore more in-depth.
1. Bananas Contain a Spread of Important Nutrients
A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories. And that’s a small price to pay for all the goodness contained within the yellow peel.
You’ll also get a heaping helping of antioxidants when you eat a banana. Antioxidants ward off the free radicals roaming your body. If left unchecked, these can cause damage and illness, cancer, diabetes and heart disease included.
Bananas also come with a slew of vitamins and minerals. From a single serving, you’ll get:
- 33 percent of your reference daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B6
- 14 percent of your RDI of manganese
- 11 percent of your RDI of vitamin C
- 10 percent of your RDI of copper
- 9 percent of your RDI of potassium
- 8 percent of your RDI of magnesium
All of these vitamins and minerals play important roles in your health and bodily function — more on that to come.
2. Bananas Fine-Tune Digestion
Let’s switch gears for a minute and talk about the fiber content in a banana. The 105-calorie serving comes with 3.1 grams of fiber. That’s 10 percent of your recommended daily intake of 25 to 30 grams.
When you eat enough fiber, it slows down the digestive process. This may sound like a bad thing, but it is actually a huge benefit to you. You feel fuller for longer if your digestion takes longer.
At the same time, fiber can help keep bathroom visits more regular. It’s a key ingredient in fighting constipation. So, you can get things started by noshing on a banana — maybe that’s why everyone eats them for breakfast…
3. Bananas Level Your Blood Sugar
Why eat bananas? They’re good for your blood sugar levels, even though they’re sweet themselves.
Two elements in your banana will steady your blood pressure. First, there’s pectin, the fiber responsible for giving the fruit its spongy texture.
Bananas also contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber. The latter brings moisture into the gut, which helps soften waste and keeps you regular.
These fibrous substances help moderate blood sugar because they slow down digestion, as mentioned above. Your stomach won’t empty as quickly as it normally would, which keeps your levels regulated for longer.
Bananas rank low to medium on the glycemic index, too, which ranks foods based on how fast they can spike your blood sugar levels.
Therefore, most people can eat bananas without experiencing a major spike in their blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, though, you should skip very ripe bananas — they contain the most sugar.
4. Bananas Ward Off Anemia
When you think of foods that contain iron, a platter full of red meat is probably what comes to mind.
But bananas also contain this mineral, which stokes hemoglobin production and helps protect the body from anemia. This condition arises when hemoglobin is in short supply, and it leaves a person feeling fatigued, pale and short of breath.
5. Bananas Boost Your Heart Health
No matter which type of banana you eat, you’re doing good for your heart, too.
Again, this benefit has to do with bananas’ fiber content. Research has shown strong links between a high-fiber diet and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Plus, as previously mentioned, bananas have nearly 10 percent of your RDI of potassium. This mineral helps your body regulate your blood pressure. And those with low blood pressure have a lesser chance of developing heart disease.
Magnesium’s also important for heart health, and a banana has eight percent of the amount you need each day. Specifically, it works oppositely of calcium, which helps the heart contract. Magnesium works to relax the organ, so, together, these minerals make for a healthy heartbeat.
6. Bananas Build Healthy Cells
The benefits of eating a banana go all the way down to the cellular level.
This is all thanks to vitamin B6, which is vital in the production of three healthy-cell requirements: hemoglobin, insulin and nonessential amino acids.
On top of that, vitamin B6 bolsters cells as they ward off infection. That’s because it aids in the production process for your sickness-fighting antibodies.
7. Bananas Help You Lose Weight
If you’re trying to slim down, here’s why you should eat bananas — they’ll help you in your quest to shed pounds.
For one thing, a banana’s relatively low in calories. But it contains enough fiber to make it filling. And feeling full will help you avoid tempting snacks and meals that could otherwise throw you off-course.
High-fiber diets also have their links to weight loss and lower body weights, too. If you’re working bananas and other fresh produce into your daily diet, then you’ll put yourself on the same track.
As an added bonus, you can work bananas into your diet creatively and still achieve your goals. Dairy-free banana pudding, anyone?
8. Bananas Enhance Athletic Performance
Olympic sprinter Yohan Blake supposedly ate 16 bananas a day at the time of the 2012 Olympics. Why? Because this fruit can boost athletic performance in a slew of ways.
For one thing, bananas contain carbohydrates — that’s why they’re not keto-friendly. But athletes need carbs for energy during their workouts. So, noshing on the yellow fruit pre-exercise can help power you through.
Afterward, bananas help your muscles recover, too. It’s unclear why this is the case, but, with so many pro athletes swearing by bananas, it can’t be a coincidence.
9. Bananas Improve Kidney Health
The fruit’s all-natural potassium content comes into play once again — this time to boost kidney health.
One study found that women who consumed two to three bananas weekly were a third less likely to develop kidney disease. These results were no fluke, either — researchers gathered data on this for a whopping 13 years.
Another study corroborated these findings. People who eat four to six bananas every seven days are 50 percent less likely to suffer from kidney disease.
10. Bananas Can Boost Your Mood
It’s not just the happy color or the smile shape of a banana that makes you feel happy.
Bananas’ magnesium content can actually improve your mood and help you sleep, which, in turn, puts you in an even better headspace.
On the other hand, those who are low in magnesium suffer from some unhappy side effects. These include depression, anxiety and irritability.
So, skip out on the bad vibes and crack open a banana.
11. Bananas Strengthen Your Bones
Your daily banana comes with just over a tenth of your RDI of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a required element in the body’s production of collagen. And the latter helps build bone density.
Most people don’t get enough vitamin C because they don’t eat enough of it. Otherwise, it’s not a tough vitamin for your body to take in — it’s water-soluble, so it absorbs easily. So, add a banana in to help reach your threshold — and build strong bones from here on out.
12. Bananas Energize You
Finally, a banana mid-day can help you get over the post-lunch slump. Really, the fruit gives you an energy boost any time you eat it.
That’s because bananas contain all-natural fruit sugars, which release into your body thanks to the fiber content. So, you get a long-lasting spike in energy without eating an excess of calories, processed sugar or even caffeine.
Get Your Bananas In
We already know the benefits of eating bananas here at Went Bananas. Now, it’s your turn to unlock these 12 benefits. All you have to do is grab one, peel it open and take a bite!
And, if you want to mix things up, check out our banana-based recipes for more ways to eat this amazing fruit.