Bananas contain many essential nutrients and may benefit weight loss, digestion, and heart health.
Here are 11 science-based health benefits of bananas.
1. Rich in nutrients
Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber and several antioxidants. One regular-sized banana (126 grams) also boasts:
Fat: 0 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Carbs: 29 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin C: 12% of the Daily Value (DV)
Riboflavin: 7% of the DV
Folate: 6% of the DV
One banana provides about 112 calories and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. They hold little protein and no fat.
The carbs in green, unripe bananas are mostly in the form of starch and resistant starch — a type of indigestible fiber we’ll get to shortly. As the fruit ripens, its flavor becomes sweeter while its fiber content drops .
2. May improve blood sugar levels
Bananas are rich in soluble fiber. During digestion, soluble fiber dissolves in liquid to form a gel. It’s also what gives bananas their sponge-like texture.
Unripe bananas also contain resistant starch, which isn’t digested by your body .
Together, these two types of fiber may moderate your blood sugar levels after meals. Plus, they may help regulate your appetite by slowing the emptying of your stomach.
This means that despite their higher carb content, bananas won’t cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals. However, while people with diabetes can enjoy bananas, it’s not recommended to enjoy a large portion in one sitting.
3. May support digestive health
Dietary fiber has been linked to many health.
Some test-tube studies even propose that pectin may help protect against colon cancer, although research in humans is still needed to confirm this benefit .
4. May aid weight loss
No study has directly tested bananas’ effects on weight loss. However, this popular fruit does have several attributes that could make it a weight-loss-friendly food.
First, bananas have relatively few calories. The average banana has just over 100 calories, yet it’s nutritious and filling .
Eating more fiber from vegetables and fruits has repeatedly been linked to lower body weight and weight loss .
Furthermore, unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be filling and reduce your appetite. If you’d like to include unripe bananas in your diet, try using them as
5. May support heart health
Potassium is a mineral that’s vital for heart health, especially blood pressure management. Despite its importance, few people get enough potassium in their diet .
Conveniently, bananas are a great source of potassium, with a medium-sized banana (126 grams) providing 10% of the DV .
A potassium-rich diet can help lower your blood pressure. Plus, according to older research and animal studies, people who eat plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease .
What’smore, bananas contain 8% of the DV for magnesium, another mineral that’s important for heart health .
Magnesium deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and high levels of fats in the blood.
6. Full of antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants, and bananas are no exception.
They contain several types of potent antioxidants, including flavonoids and amines .
These antioxidants are linked to many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative illnesses .
They help prevent oxidative damage to your cells caused by free radicals. Without antioxidants, free radicals can build up over time and cause harm if their levels become high enough in your body .
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