Banana: nutritional value, health benefits and risks

Food photo created by KamranAydinov – www.freepik.com

Banana is the most eaten in all parts of the world. It is grown in 107 countries and ranks fourth in terms of its monetary value among the food crops of the world.

There are several benefits of consuming bananas. It is a good source of potassium, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B6 etc. It is grown mostly in warmer regions and its color varies from yellow to green. Bananas are also available in multiple sizes, depending on their types.

Nutritional Value

One banana of medium size contains 105 calories. Detailed information on important nutrients present in bananas is given below:

  • Carbohydrates

Bananas are rich in carbohydrates. Unripe bananas contain starch and ripe bananas contain sugar. 70-80 % of starch is present in green bananas. This starch is replaced by sugar when the banana becomes ripe. So, carbohydrate composition in bananas alters drastically when they ripen. Basic types of sugar present in ripe bananas are fructose, sucrose an glucose.

  • Fibers

Majority of the starch present in unripe bananas is basically resistant starch. As this starch is resistant to our digestion, it can be considered as a kind of fiber. It takes care of the health of our intestine. There are also other fibers present in bananas. Example may be cited of pectin. Pectin controls increase in blood sugar levels after we consume a meal.  

  • Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium are the three essential minerals and vitamins present in bananas. They strengthen our immune system, increasing our ability to fight diseases.

  • Plant compounds

The two important plant compounds present in banana are dopamine and catechin, both of which are antioxidants.

Amazing health benefits of including bananas in your regular diet

Like other natural foods, banana is also good for our health for the following reasons:

  • Digestive health

Unripe and green bananas are loaded with resistant starch as well as pectin, both of which are dietary fibers. These prebiotic nutrients enhance the development of useful gut bacteria. This is how bananas promote gut health.

  • Heart health

Heart disease is the most common reason behind deaths all over the world. Bananas contain good amount of potassium. This mineral takes care of our heart and keeps our blood pressure in control. There is 0.4 grams of potassium in one banana of medium size. Antioxidant flavonoids present in bananas also reduce chances of heart attack. So, eating bananas on a regular basis lowers chances of heart diseases.

  • Good for kidneys

Potassium present in bananas lessens the chance of stones in kidneys. Healthy kidneys ensure that our bodies have sufficient amount of potassium.

Health risks

  1. People who are allergic to bananas experience symptoms such as swelling, itching and wheezing in the throat and mouth.
  2. Over-consumption of bananas can cause gas, stomach cramps and bloating.
  3. Eating too many bananas is not good for our kidneys.

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