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Bananas are extremely healthy and delicious.
Aside from being very nutritious, they are a highly convenient snack food.
Here are 11 health benefits of bananas that are supported by scientific research.
1. Bananas Contain Many Important Nutrients
Bananas are among the most popular fruits on Earth.
Native to Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warmer parts of the world.
There are many types of bananas available, which vary in color, size and shape. The most common type is the yellow banana, which is green when unripe.
This is what ripe bananas typically look like:
- Potassium: 9 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin B6: 33 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 11 percent of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 8 percent of the RDI.
- Copper: 10 percent of the RDI.
- Manganese: 14 percent of the RDI.
- Net carbs: 24 grams.
- Fiber: 3.1 grams.
- Protein: 1.3 grams.
- Fat: 0.4 grams.
Bottom Line: Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients. A medium-sized banana contains about 105 calories.
2. Bananas Contain Nutrients That Moderate Blood Sugar Levels
Bananas are rich in a fiber called pectin, which gives the flesh its structural form (4).
Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber and escapes digestion.
Furthermore, bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index, which is a measure (from 0–100) of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels.
This means that bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.
However, this may not apply to diabetics, which should probably avoid eating lots of well-ripened bananas and monitor their blood sugars carefully when they do.
Bottom Line: Bananas contain nutrients that can help moderate blood sugar levels after meals. They may also reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying.
3. Bananas May Improve Digestive Health
Dietary fiber has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion.
A medium-sized banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, making bananas a fairly good fiber source (10).
Bananas contain mainly two types of fiber:
- Pectin: Decreases as the banana ripens.
- Resistant starch: Found in unripe bananas.
Bottom Line: Bananas are fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch, which may feed the friendly gut bacteria and help protect against colon cancer.
4. Bananas May Help With Weight Loss
For starters, bananas contain relatively few calories. An average banana contains just over 100 calories, yet it is also very nutritious and filling.
Bottom Line: Bananas may help with weight loss. They are low in calories, high in nutrients and fiber and may have appetite-reducing effects.
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