- Bananas have many benefits for your health because of their high potassium and fiber content.
- Potassium helps to balance sodium levels in your body, which regulates blood pressure and may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Eating bananas may also help with weight loss because they contain pectin and resistant starch, which can help you feel full for longer.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Bananas have long been a lunchbox and brown bag staple. And that’s not just because they’re an easily portable food item. They’re also nutritious and beneficial for your heart, blood sugar, digestion, and more.
Here are five health benefits of eating bananas.
Bananas are highly nutritious
A single medium banana offers 110 calories with zero fat. It also provides the following:
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 28 grams
- Sugars: 15 grams (naturally occurring)
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Potassium: 450 mg
- Magnesium: 32 mg
- Vitamin C: 10.3 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
“Bananas are well known for their potassium content, but there are other vitamins and minerals that deserve some attention as well. The banana provides a significant source of B6 and fiber, which play vital roles in important functions of the body like reducing cholesterol and balancing mood,” says Lisa Richards, a certified nutrition consultant.
In fact, just one banana can give you 9% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of potassium and 8% of magnesium. As for vitamin C, a banana might not be the first food to pop into your mind. But the fruit supplies around 11% of your RDI.
Bananas can help regulate blood sugar
The idea that people with prediabetes or diabetes should avoid eating sweet fruit is a myth, as long as you’re staying within your carbohydrate needs. This is about one-half of a Cavendish, which is the most ubiquitous banana type.
Indeed, bananas, which contain pectin and resistant starch, might actually help lower blood sugar. Richards says that these soluble fibers act in concert with each other by increasing the sensation of satiety, preventing overeating, and slowing the rate of digestion.
In addition, the glycemic index (GI) of a banana is 30 to 60, depending on ripeness. The glycemic index measures how carbohydrates in foods will alter blood sugar, from a scale of 0 to 100. “The lower the GI, the less likely the food will cause a rapid spike,” Richards says. For a lower GI, eat greener fruit.
“The key is to pair the carb source with protein and fat. Otherwise the blood sugar will spike and then go down,” says Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN, the lead dietitian at Miami’s Essence Nutrition. She suggests…