Well, forget the headline for a moment. But, as much as possible, eat banana on a regular basis. That’s the overall message here!
Bananas are popular fruit in many countries — perhaps more popular than strawberries, grapes and even apples. After all, bananas can be eaten out of the peel, tossed in a smoothie, baked into bread, blended into pancakes, etc.
But how good are bananas for you? According to the USDA, the average medium banana is about 105 calories and 0.389 grams of fat. It also contains 26.9 grams of carbohydrates, 1.18 milligrams of sodium, 14.4 grams of sugar, 3.07 grams of fiber and 1.29 grams of protein.
Nutrition Lead at Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Wellness and Preventive Medicine, Alexis Supan, says bananas are a healthy, convenient and affordable fruit. In addition to offering around three grams of fiber for just over 100 calories, they are abundant in potassium, “providing almost 9% of a person’s daily potassium needs, while containing very little fat and sodium, making it a heart-healthy food.”
Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, Board Certified Sports Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, American College of Sports Medicine, adds that in addition to being a great source of vitamins B6 and C, bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates.
“I recommend them all the time for athletes because the potassium is great for someone who loses a lot of sweat,” she says. “Also a quick energy source and easy to pack into a training bag.”
Banana gives almost 9% of a person’s daily potassium needs, while containing very little fat and sodium, making it a heart-healthy food
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, plant-forward culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook adds that bananas are an easy and popular way to get prebiotics and potassium, making them good for gut bacteria and microbiome.
“They contain significant amounts of bioactive compounds that offer health-protective benefits, including potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties,” she explains, citing a 2021 review of studies. “Plus, green bananas can be helpful in the treatment of diarrhoea,” she says.
green bananas can be helpful in the treatment of diarrhoea
Are there any cons to eating bananas?
Unless you have specific health conditions or allergies to be cautious of (yes, some people are allergic to bananas!), bananas should not come with any risk, says Supan. However, people with diabetes should be aware that a medium banana does have a higher carbohydrate and sugar content, “so it will impact their blood glucose more than most other fruits,” she says.
Diabetics should be aware that a medium banana has a higher carbohydrate and sugar content, and it will impact their blood glucose more than most other fruits
Newgent notes that the total sugar content increases and fiber content decreases as bananas go from unripe to overripe. “So, consider enjoying your bananas while they’ve got a bit of green on them,” she suggests.
How many bananas should you eat per day?
If you like bananas, including a small or medium banana as a snack or part of your meal, is completely safe, says Supan.
“I do recommend that if having a banana as a snack, you should have it with a healthy protein such as Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts, to make sure you get in your protein too,” she says.
However, Newgent recommends balancing your diet with a variety of fruit, “so, it’s ideal if you have a banana every other day rather than every day.”