They’re popular and delicious, but are bananas good for you? Let’s take a look at the health benefits — and what can happen if you eat too many.
Bananas are an incredibly popular fruit, packed with nutrients and easy to eat in everything from smoothies to sandwiches. They make the perfect on-the-go snack and are an excellent topping for overnight oats.
Luckily, bananas are also very good for you. Eat them as part of a healthy, balanced diet to appreciate their many health benefits. One medium-sized banana gives you the following nutrients:
- Potassium to keep cells healthy
- Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system
- Vitamin B6 for brain development and to keep the nervous system functioning well
- Fiber for a healthy digestive system
- Magnesium to keep bones strong and regulate blood pressure
With all the vitamins and minerals they contain, bananas can easily be considered a superfood. Health benefits include:
- Improved feelings of overall well-being. Studies show that bananas contain dopamine, a neurotransmitter and hormone that gives us feelings of well-being and happiness.
- High fiber content. Bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber known to lower cholesterol and improve bowel function. They are rich in fiber and can keep you feeling full for longer. For this reason, they are an excellent fruit to eat if you are trying to lose weight or consume good calories. Due to their resistant starch content, certain varieties also have a prebiotic effect.
- Lots of magnesium. Magnesium reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, protecting us from diseases like heart disease and cancer.
- Potassium. Bananas contain high levels of potassium. Potassium has many health benefits, including regulating heart health and blood pressure.
- Big boosts of energy. This is also a great on-the-go food and provides an instant energy boost. They contain sugar in the form of sucrose, fructose and glucose, giving your body a slow-burning form of energy that doesn’t spike blood sugar. Try making our delicious banana chips for an easy snack to keep in your bag.
- Protection against cancer. A 2005 study found that lectin, a protein in bananas, can prevent the development of leukemia cells. Lectin has antioxidant properties that protect against free radicals. If free radicals build up in the body, they can damage cells and lead to cancer.
- Reduced Chance of Diabetes. According to one 2018 review, eating bananas as part of a high-fiber diet can reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes.
Side Effects of Bananas
As with most foods, eating too much of this fruit can cause unwanted side effects. The potential downsides include:
- Excessive levels of potassium. This is the most significant potential side effect of eating too many bananas. They contain high potassium levels, meaning they may not be suitable for people with kidney disease or related issues. People with kidney disease cannot adequately remove potassium from their blood, and high potassium levels can lead to heart attacks. When potassium levels are too high and cause heart problems, it is known as hyperkalemia.
- Migraines. Eating too many can trigger migraines.
- Allergies. They can also cause some people to have allergic reactions in some people, particularly if they are allergic to latex.
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