Banana Perks 101

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Bananas!!!! This fruit  is a staple around our house and while bananas typically get a negative reputation in the fruit family, the healthy perks and nutritional benefits far out way the dose of natural sugar from this delicious fruit. So lets dive a little deeper and look at what this yellow friend has to offer for our health.

Bananas are full of key vitamins and minerals that can fuel our body well not to mention a super cheap and easy nutrition source. Bananas are definitely main stream to most of us but have you ever felt hesitant to eat one because of the extra carbohydrate or calorie load? The extra carbohydrate or natural sugar,fructose, this fruit contains is the main reason many avoid bananas. While bananas do carry a little more natural carbohydrate and rank higher on the glycemic index verses other fruits, they also provide a rich source of potassium, vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Vitamen A, fiber, tryptophan, and magnesium.

Bananas can be beneficial in skin health, heart health, digestion, energy, mood, and sleep.  One small to medium size banana is considered a serving or half of a large banana. Although I am not a huge advocate of counting calories I do think it is wise to be aware of them, so a medium banana will provide approximately 105 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate, and 3.1 grams of dietary fiber. It should be noted that for those that are diabetic, managing blood sugars is extremely important. Although bananas do have a higher carbohydrate load they do not have to be avoided. The natural fiber in the banana can help slow down blood sugar response but I do suggest sticking to 1 small banana or half of a banana paired with a healthy fat or protein serving like 1 tablespoon of peanut butter paired with  half of a banana.

Bananas and Skin:

Bananas are a great beauty food! The vitamin C, and vitamin A content these nutrients  help booste collagen and fight free radicals. The vitamin B-6 and magnesium help fight insomnia promoting better sleep which will always help us feel and look more rested.

Bananas and Mood:

Bananas contain a good amount of tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that can help lift spirits, promoting better mood plus may help fight depression or anxiety.

Bananas and Digestion:

The fiber in bananas can aid in good digestion making this an easy fruit on the belly. This fiber keeps the digestive system moving fighting constipation and decreasing bloat. Unripe bananas actually are considered a prebiotic food source for the gut which feeds probiotics helping maintain a healthy belly. The fiber in unripe bananas are considered resistant starch which acts as the prebiotic source helping feed the good gut bacteria.

Bananas and Heart Health:

Bananas are rich in potassium which is essential for muscle and nerve cell responses for regular heart rhythm. Some research suggests that potassium may help reduce vascular calcification and aortic stiffness. Bananas are helpful in lowering blood pressure and keeping overall heart health in check.

Bananas and Energy:

Bananas are a fantastic quick acting energy source. The extra carbohydrate and caloric load is helpful in increasing that pep in the step plus a great food source for athletes or normal workouts. Bananas actually are a great fruit to eat pre or post workout since it fuels muscles with  quick energy needed before a workout and helps the body recover post workout. In fact, a recent study suggests that in bananas might be a better, all natural choice verses sports drinks that aid in anti-inflammatory response providing natural fuel and recovery for the body.

I love how versatile, healthy, quick, and cheap bananas can be. This fruit offers so many healthy perks for the body. Like any food, following good portion control and incorporating bananas in the diet provides an easy source of good nutrition. Stay tuned for an upcoming recipe using bananas that will make back to school a little more fun in the morning or even for an after school snack. Cheers to bananas!