Medically reviewed by Dr. Shunmukha Priya, Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition
For most people, fruit equates to banana. However, if you are watching your weight, then you might have run miles away from this year-round, yellow fruit.
Table of Contents
- What is in a Banana?
- Banana Nutrition Facts
- Banana Nutrition Health Benefits
- Popular Banana Varieties in India
- How to Eat your Banana?
Do you know, you are missing out on a world of nutrients just because of a rumour that banana makes you fat! The stylish fruit (with its own speckled yellow jacket) can help you lose weight too.
Are you doubting that? Have a chat totally FREE with one of our Nutrition Coaches and believe it for yourself!
So What is in a Banana?
Ok back to banana nutrition benefits! You might have known that bananas being rich in potassium but they are a powerhouse of other nutrients.
1 Medium-sized banana contains
- 25% of the daily value of vitamin B6
- 16% of manganese required daily
- 12% of your fibre and potassium needs per day
- 10% of copper and biotin requirements.
Banana Nutrition Facts
1 medium-sized banana nutrition facts. It fulfils the following daily requirements of trace vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C – 11%
- Folate – 6%
- Choline – 2%
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 3%
- Biotin – 10%
- Manganese – 16%
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 7%
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) – 5%
- Biotin – 10%
- Manganese – 16%
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – 8%
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – 25%
- Potassium – 12%
- Copper – 10%
- Iron – 4%
- Zinc – 2%
- Selenium – 2%
In addition, 1 medium banana also gives you:
- Around 100 calories
- 0 gram of fat
- 1.1 grams of protein
- 3 grams of fibre
- 12 grams of sugar
Leave alone this nutrition fact, does banana really make you fat? Absolutely not!
The number of calories in a banana is about 100 calories (although Possible doesn’t believe in counting calories. We are still stating this fact for the calorie-obsessed people out there!). This also gets us to the question of whether one can have a banana while following a weight loss plan?
The following video will help clear the facts for you:
14 Banana Benefits On Health
Let’s face it, the regular banana is so much more affordable yet nutritious that they definitely give you more value for your money. But before you simply nod to that fact, let us understand the banana nutrition facts and health benefits.
1. Helps in weight loss
We have elaborated on the nutrition in 1 medium-sized banana enough. You know they are hardly the high-calorie monster that they are made out to be. Although they taste sweet when ripe, bananas are still categorised as low GI food. Surprised?
Additionally, taking into account their rich vitamin and mineral status, and high fibre status (even 3 grams helps you reach the per day fibre recommendations of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men); bananas are indeed an ideal snack that will help you with your weight loss goals.
However, if you think a banana split or banana chips will benefit your weight loss goals then you are mistaken. Just opt for a banana without the fancies!
Also Read: 42 Weight Loss food
2. Keeps Heart young
Yes, yes, and a big yes!! A part of the banana nutrition is that it helps keep that heart young! They do so in 3 ways:
One: Because of the potassium. Potassium is known to reduce blood pressure which means protection against atherosclerosis or plaque deposition in the arteries.
Two: Due to the Fibre. A medium sized banana gives 3 grams of fibre and this increases to almost 4 in a large one. 1/3rd of it is soluble fibre, the kind which prevents deposition of a waxy substance in the arteries that block blood flow!
Three: Due to the presence of a special fat. Although bananas have negligible fat content, the trace amounts are present in the form of sterols. Although a cousin of cholesterol, the ones in banana help block the absorption of the baddie cholesterol thus protecting the heart.
3. Assists Athlete
Banana is the nature provided the fuel! Where else will you find a mix of balanced micro-nutrient and low glycemic index profile, convenience (easy to carry), and affordability!
A study among distance cyclists found that having half a banana every 15 minutes of a 3-hour race is equivalent to the mineral and carb profile in a sports beverage. Let’s not forget how potassium helps prevent muscle cramps, a big positive for the athlete in an enduring event.
Next Read: Low carb foods for weight loss
Do you know?
The Cavendish banana may soon go extinct! Yes, you read that right. They are grown by the traditional vegetative cultivation and not by sexual reproduction stated a report. This means they lack diversity due to which a viral or bacterial infestation can wipe out this common banana variant from the market!
4. Digestive Health ahoy
By now you would have memorised the fibre content in bananas but there is a unique beauty to it. Bananas have a high content of pectin, a complicated kind of fibre which is partly water soluble (imagine the ones that form a gel in the stomach) and partly insoluble.
As bananas ripen, the water-soluble part of the fibre increases (hence the mushy touch of a ripe banana). Not just that, they are also rich in fructooligosaccharide, a unique fibre which remains undigested helping probiotic bacteria increase in number.
Thus the fibre content along with the probiotic bacteria make banana the natural gut doctor.
Do bananas have a lot of fibre?
Although we have been harping about the fibre content in a banana, let us give you a perspective on how good a source they are! A medium sized apple with skin provides 4.4 grams of fibre and compared to apple nutrition, banana is not very far behind. At 3.1 grams in a medium-sized banana, it helps fulfil 12% of the daily recommended value!”
5. Acts as Anti-Aging Agent
It is no wonder that many beauty regimens include a banana mask! That is because bananas are a good source of vitamin C making it an ideal anti-wrinkle food.
6. Boosts up the Mood
Feeling down and low? Have a banana before you reach out to that tub of ice cream. Not only the sugar content but the presence of tryptophan helps in alleviating the worst of the moods. So, chop some bananas and add them to your cereal.
7. Natural Sleeping Pill
Having trouble falling asleep? Try a banana! The potassium and magnesium in bananas help relax muscles whereas the tryptophan gets converted to the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin! Try eating a banana 2 hours before you sleep if you have trouble sleeping!
8. Helps tackle Asthma:
Due to its antioxidant properties and the potassium content in bananas, it helps prevent wheezing in children with Asthma. The research on this fact is still in progress.
Rubbing in the inside part of a banana peel has many benefits on skin. It helps reduce itching and also reduces the swelling caused by insect bites.
9. Provides Instant Energy:
Banana is a natural energy booster. Having a banana before or even after a workout can bring back the energy and helps you feel fuller for a longer time. Not just like a raw banana, you can also relish it by adding in your breakfast smoothie or a protein shake.
10. Lowering of blood sugar levels:
A study at American Diabetes Association suggested that eating bananas in a controlled portion regularly can help lower blood sugar levels due to its high fibre content. They also stated that high fibre can help reduce the risks of type 2 Diabetes.
Also Read: Know About Type 2 Diabetes
11. It is a Natural Laxative:
We have commonly heard from our elders about the benefits of bananas in relaxing the constipation. Bananas that are well ripened have soluble fibers that maintain your bowel functions and relieves constipation.
12. To relax the PMS pain:
It is common to experience pain during the menstrual cycle. Most also prefer to take pills to overcome the pain. But why go for a medic when you have one at home right beside you. We are referring to the banana here.
Yes! The Vitamin B6 and potassium in bananas can help you deal with PMS (Premenstrual Pain) pain.
13. Helps overcome Hangovers:
For all the party lovers, this fruit here is your best friend. The natural elements in bananas and its richness in vitamins helps you reduce the effects of hangover.
You can even make a drink out of these bananas with honey and yogurt, and relish it in the morning after a late night party.
14. Regulates Hypertension:
Banana is loaded with potassium, which is known to help with lowering blood pressure. This mineral helps in balancing the effects of salt on the body, and helps the kidneys function properly. Studies have shown that daily consumption of bananas helps in lowering hypertension.
4 Popular Banana Varieties in India
You thought you knew enough about bananas to avoid them in the diet but hey there are 4 different types of banana!
1. Cavendish Banana:
With roots in Europe, this is the most common type of banana available throughout the world.
They can be eaten raw in subjis too (understand that kacche kele ki subji now?)
2. Saba Banana:
This banana is a Philippine speciality used extensively in cooking. It is characterised by a squarish shape.
3. Red Banana:
You must have spotted this banana in the supermarkets.
They are plumper than the regular cavendish but when ripe, they are sweeter with a slight mango flavour. An athlete’s favourite due to higher sugar content.
4. Nendran or Kerala Banana:
Our very banana from Kerala, this banana is reportedly grown organically thus providing the yellow colour to the fruit.
Calories in each type of bananas
- Cavendish banana: 90
- Saba banana: 81
- Red banana: 90
- Nendran or Kerala banana: 153
Bananas can help heal stomach ulcers and sometimes even prevent them. According to alternative health researcher and chiropractor, David Williams, D.C, bananas help increase the mucus in the digestive tract. This leads to its benefits in healing stomach ulcers.
How many bananas should you eat per day?
Bananas are most common and popular among all the other fruits. They are full of nutrients. But you cannot go overboard on consuming bananas. That might end up doing more harm than good.
If any foods are had in more than required quantity, that can lead to weight gain and also nutrient deficiency.
Bananas are not really high in calories. However, if you are having bananas that are more than required by your body, then it might cause weight gain that is unhealthy.
Hence consuming 1 to 2 bananas per day can be a right way to go about.
There are multiple dishes that can be made out of banana
Incorporate the banana in an omega-3 rich smoothie or eat them as it is. Or simply chop some up on your muesli.
Here is an interesting salad recipe using the banana stem.
Now, will you look at this little yellow fruit in a kinder way? and not just think about the calories in them! Especially after knowing about the nutritional facts and health benefits that it comes with.
So, let us just say Go Banana!