If you’re like most people, bananas aren’t at the top of your list of favorite fruits.
But they should be!
Bananas are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are an excellent source of energy.
Thanks to their ability to stabilize blood sugar and replenish nutrients when you’re feeling depleted.
Eating more bananas can help promote your general health and wellness as well as support these 8 health benefits.
1. Digestive Upset Relief
Consuming food rich in fiber is known to help with various stomach issues like constipation, and heartburn.
A large number of potassium ions in bananas are absorbed in liquid form, making them even more helpful for relieving indigestion.
Regular consumption of bananas may help reduce pain and cramping caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The high fiber content of bananas has been shown to help with weight loss by helping users feel fuller quicker while also reducing cravings.
The high amount of vitamin B6 found in bananas helps regulate hormones that affect blood sugar levels, keeping those who suffer from diabetes under control.
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2. Blood Sugar Support
People with high blood sugar and insulin resistance may be able to keep their glucose levels under control by including bananas in their diet.
According to a study published in Diabetes Care, eating one-and-a-half to two bananas every day for 14 weeks lowered fasting glucose and other markers of diabetes risk by 8%.
Banana’s higher starch content helps keep blood sugar stable after a meal, according to The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Eating just three or four bananas can stabilize your blood sugar so it doesn’t spike as much after meals, improving how you feel on an everyday basis.
3. Heartburn Relief
When people have excess stomach acid, it can leak up into their esophagus and cause heartburn.
Eating bananas may help soothe that burning sensation.
Research suggests that bananas are effective for treating heartburn in part because of a compound called pectin, which is present in all plant foods and particularly high in bananas.
Pectin helps relieve symptoms by trapping excess gas in your intestines.
For best results, try incorporating 1–2 servings of banana per day into your diet.
4. Weight Loss Aid
According to a review of 31 studies, people who ate half a fresh banana with each meal lost an average of 2.5 pounds over 12 weeks—without changing anything else about their diet.
The peel (which contains fiber) may play a role, but it’s also possible that bananas are more filling than we think.
In one study where participants were fed sweetened yogurt that contained either corn flakes or whole wheat bread, both foods kept blood sugar levels stead.
But eating whole wheat bread helped keep hunger at bay better than corn flakes did.
A similar experiment found that when people had chocolate pudding, those who ate their pudding from bowls with sharp edges felt fuller than those who ate from round bowls.
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5. Exercise Performance Boost
For starters, bananas are high in potassium, which helps with muscle recovery and endurance.
Endurance athletes who ate potassium-rich bananas for three days prior to a 50K run were able to shave five minutes off their time (while eating normal meals).
Another study found that eating 1.5 bananas before cycling for 60 minutes enhanced performance by 6%.
These benefits come from natural sugars called polysaccharides—aka carbs—found in bananas.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly how they work yet, but they think it has something to do with a reduction in fatigue while increasing fat burning.
Fun fact: The banana industry actually calls these carbs vitamin B6 natural energizers, which suggests you should try pairing your favorite snack with Vitamin B6 supplements!
6. Blood Pressure Lowering Effect
Research suggests that bananas may help people maintain healthy blood pressure.
One study found that eating one banana daily for eight weeks was associated with a decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 1–3 mm Hg.
Another found that when participants added 6 grams of soluble fiber (banana flour is a great source of soluble fiber) to their diet per day, there was a 4 mm Hg reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
People without diabetes were also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they ate 3 or more servings of whole fruit per week.
So make sure to add some bananas to your diet every day!
7. Cancer Prevention
1 cup of mashed banana has 92 mcg of folic acid, which is 58% of your daily recommended value.
Studies have shown that increased intake of folic acid before and during pregnancy could help reduce a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer later in life.
As far as bananas go, research has suggested that high-fiber diets are associated with lower colon cancer risk and that people who consume greater amounts of carotenoids—found in foods like bananas—may experience a reduced risk for developing colorectal cancer.
Similarly, women with higher intakes of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables have been found to be at lower risk for ovarian cancer than those who consumed less than average amounts.
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8. Anti-aging Support
Potassium is a key nutrient in maintaining proper electrolyte balance and minimizing oxidative stress, both of which are helpful for keeping your skin healthy.
Higher potassium levels have also been linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Even if you don’t think bananas taste that great, try increasing your intake.
You may be surprised by how much more you enjoy their flavor.
One study showed that people who ate three or more bananas a week had a 22% lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease compared to those who ate one banana or less per month.
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