Bananas are incredibly healthy, convenient, delicious, and one of the cheapest fresh fruits you can buy. This makes them a great choice for those interested in healthy eating.
Although they are native to Southeast Asia, they are grown everywhere in many warm climates, making them available worldwide. The most common type found in grocery stores, the Cavendish variety, starts out firm and green, but turns yellow, soft, and sweet as it ripens.
Bananas contain many important nutrients and are beneficial for weight loss, digestion and heart health.
Here are 11 scientifically proven health benefits of bananas.
- Rich in nutrients
Bananas contain a sufficient amount of fiber and several antioxidants. One regular-sized banana (126 grams) also boasts (1 trusted source):
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
Folic Acid: 6% of the DV
Niacin: 5% of the DV
Copper: 11% of the DV
Potassium: 10% of the DV
Magnesium: 8% of the DV
One banana contains about 112 calories and consists almost exclusively of water and carbohydrates. They contain little protein and no fat.
Carbohydrates in green, unripe bananas are mostly in the form of starch, resistant starch, a type of indigestible fiber that we’ll soon learn about. As the fruit ripens, the taste becomes sweeter and the fiber content decreases (22. Improves blood sugar levels.
Bananas are rich in soluble fiber. During digestion, soluble fiber dissolves in liquid and forms a gel. This gives it a banana sponge-like texture ( 3Trusted Source ).
Unripe bananas contain resistant starch that your body doesn’t absorb ( 2Trusted Source ).
Both of these types of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels after a meal. Additionally, they help regulate appetite by slowing stomach emptying ( 4Trusted Source ).
This means that despite the high carbohydrate content, bananas will not significantly raise blood sugar levels in a healthy person. However, while diabetics can enjoy the flavor of bananas, it is not recommended to eat large amounts in one sitting.
- Supports digestive health
Dietary fiber is associated with many health benefits, including improved digestion. One medium-sized banana provides 3 grams of fiber (1Trusted Source).
Resistant starch from unripe banana fiber is a prebiotic. Prebiotics leave the digestive tract and enter the large intestine where they become food for beneficial bacteria in the gut (2).