Health Benefits of bananas
Soft and satisfying, practical to take away and eat on the go, present all year round on the stalls of our markets, the banana is a fruit that is unanimous! But is it as nutritionally good as it is for our taste buds? Zoom in on the health benefits of bananas.
Its name comes from the Portuguese banana itself borrowed from the Arabic “banana” meaning “finger”. For the record, the banana would have been the first fruit cultivated by men, and its culture dates back some 12 thousand years!
When we speak of banana without specifying the variety, it is the so-called “dessert” sweet banana that is eaten raw and sweet. There is a second type of bananas known as “vegetable bananas” generally eaten cooked and salted, which belong to the plantain species.
Bananas contain a lot of nutrients:
Bananas are very nutrient-dense fruit, which means they provide a lot of nutrients in a low volume. Dried bananas are richer in nutrients than fruit bananas, but they are also higher in calories.
The banana fits perfectly within the framework of a slimming diet because it is rich in fibres, minerals, resistant starch: it is therefore very satiating and allows not to crack on calorie bombs.
•It is in particular very well provided with antioxidants, which would make it effective in the prevention of cancers, in particular colorectal cancer.
•It has anti-acid and anti-ulcer effects, which protect the stomach lining from inflammation and which would help prevent ulcers.
•The sugars in bananas are largely resistant starch, which behaves like a “slow” carbohydrate, improving the sensitivity of cells to insulin and tending to regulate blood sugar. This fruit is therefore indicated in people suffering from type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
•It is very rich in potassium, a mineral known to prevent and fight against hypertension and limit the risk of cardiovascular disease.
•It is well supplied with beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), contributes to healthy skin, the growth of bones and teeth, and protects against infections.
•It is rich in magnesium, so it is a very good natural “anti-stress”.
Very digestible, rich in carbohydrates and minerals, bananas are the favourite fruit of athletes!
Good to know: the riper the banana, the higher its glycemic index, the less ripe it is, the lower it is. It is therefore wise to prefer a ripe banana before the effort for the boost effect, then a less ripe banana after the effort, for recovery and to recharge its glycogen stocks.
Bananas are also very well supplied with potassium, a mineral essential for muscle recovery, and with magnesium, which is very effective in limiting cramps.
Pregnant women have increased caloric and nutritional needs, especially from the second trimester. But she frequently suffers from digestive disorders (nausea, bloating) linked to hormones as well as the place the baby takes in her womb, compressing the stomach and intestines.
Bananas, very digestible and rich in carbohydrates, fibres and minerals will therefore provide them with the energy and nutrients necessary to meet their needs and those of the baby. It is therefore a real ally of pregnancy!
Rich in carbohydrates and calories, is banana to be excluded during a diet? No, the banana is certainly a sweet fruit, but it has a large number of nutritional advantages that make it valuable as part of a slimming diet.
Rich in fibres, minerals and resistant starch, bananas effectively satisfy small hunger pangs and not crack on a chocolate bar 4 times more caloric.
The banana also contains tryptophan, an amino acid precursor serotonin, the hormone of the well-being. Perfect for fighting frustrations during a diet!
Are bananas high in calories?
Sweet bananas are among the sweetest fruits, and therefore the highest in calories. A medium-sized banana weighs around 120g and provides about a hundred calories, the average caloric value of the banana being 90 calories per 100g.
Dried banana is a banana from which water has been extracted, making it both richer in nutrients but also calories.
Dried bananas are therefore about three times richer in nutrients, minerals and vitamins than fresh bananas, which makes them extraordinarily interesting from a dietary point of view.
Be careful, however, its caloric value also triples and reaches 250 calories per 100 g, which makes it very energetic.
Dried bananas are therefore a perfect takeaway snack for hiking, fitness walking or before a run because it provides energy and essential minerals and vitamins to the body during physical exercise.
Given its low water content, it is not possible to make pure banana juice using an extractor, the product obtained being more like mash.
Banana-based juices are usually made with one or more other fruits that are richer in water, such as orange or apple.
In general and whatever the fruit, it is better to eat it whole and fresh rather than to drink it in the form of juice, where it will tend to lose some of its nutritional qualities (fibre, certain vitamins sensitive to oxidation) Besides, the glycemic index of fruit juice is always higher than that of whole fruit and drinking fruit juice is much less satiating than munching on fruit.
Banana chips are made from sliced, fried and salted plantains. I insist: crisps, whether potato, carrot, beet or plantain banana are always fatty foods, very salty and nutritionally denatured insists the specialist, they are very caloric and do not present any particular dietary interests.
On the other hand, it is possible to cook them in the oven rather than in a deep fryer, which greatly limits the intake of extra fat and calories.
Without being able to speak of disadvantage, the banana is indeed richer in calories than the average fruit, it is, therefore, to be consumed in moderation for anyone who is watching their weight.
I recommend eating the fruit whole and fresh, rather than drinking it in the form of juice, which loses some of its nutritional qualities (fibre, certain vitamins sensitive to oxidation), which has a higher glycemic index and which is less filling than the whole fruit.