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Bananas

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Bananas Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 74.9 g
Calories: 89 kcal
Protein: 1.1 g
Carbohydrate: 22.8 g
Dietary fiber: 2.6 g
Sugars: 12.2 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 8.7 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.7 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B9: 20 μg
Vitamin A: 3 μg
Vitamin E: 0.1 mg
Vitamin K: 0.5 μg
Calcium: 5 mg
Iron: 0.3 mg
Magnesium: 27 mg
Phosphorus: 22 mg
Potassium: 358 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

Whether you like eating them in cakes or straight from the fruit bowl, bananas are a regular staple in many households. They provide a delicious, naturally sweet treat and scientific evidence is able to show just how beneficial they are to overall health.

Here are some (of the many) benefits of eating bananas:

Lowers blood pressure. In 1999, a study found that bananas had a significant effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Healthy volunteers were subjected to the cold test – which is where one of their hands is put in very cold water for up to a minute – and the changes in their blood pressure and heart rate were monitored.

It was found that consuming a banana beforehand resulted in lower blood pressure for participants in the experiment group.

Helps prevent kidney cancer. Like many fruits and vegetables, bananas are strongly linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer; a study published in 2005 showed that they may be the most effective fruit when it comes to preventing cancer. The research focuses on kidney cancer and followed 61,000 Swedish women over 13 years.

Naturally, the women who ate at least 75 portions of fruit and veg a month had a lowered risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those who ate roughly 11 portions a month; and those women who consumed between 4 and 6 bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those who didn’t.

Management of diabetes. When treating diabetes, it is important to ensure that the condition is managed properly through diet and lifestyle, as well as any necessary medication.

Finding tasty, sweet and satisfying snacks can sometimes be difficult, but this study has looked at the glycemic responses of 4 banana varieties and has said that they are all suitable for diabetic patients to have as snacks. This is true especially if they are on specialised dietary plans or receiving treatment for managing blood glucose levels.

The banana varieties tested were the Latundan/Silk banana (which is one of the most common types available in the supermarket), the Myrose banana, Gros Michel banana and the Pisang Awak banana.

Treats diarrhea. The thought of eating an unripened, green banana may not seem entirely appealing; but if you are suffering from diarrhea, then you may wish to give it a go. According to this study, eating cooked green banana can greatly assist in the treatment of diarrhea.

Nearly 3000 children in rural Bangladesh were followed during a bout of diarrhea and some of them were given cooked green banana from their mothers, whilst others were not. The children who ate banana were markedly improved by days 3, compared to 7 days for those who did not.

Helps prevent age-related neurological disease. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the proliferation of free radicals and the body’s ability to deal with them; this leads to a number of problems, including age-related neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.

In 2008, a study was published that had looked at how the most commonly consumed fruits – bananas, apples and oranges – affected oxidative stress that causes neurological disease.

It was discovered that the phenolics found in bananas, apples and oranges played a huge part in protecting the neuron cells and preventing damage from oxidative stress, thus helping to reduce the risk of neurological diseases.