Since it’s a known fact around my office that I love bananas (so much so that I’ve been called “banana-man”—I dig it), I get asked a lot, “why are bananas healthy?” In short, the benefits of bananas are bountiful. Bananas are an excellent source of energy as well as a reliable source of such vitamins and minerals as potassium and manganese.
Exploring the banana’s nutrition profile will give you greater insights into how much just one banana a day can benefit your health.
Why Are Bananas Healthy?
Bananas are great for digestion, heart health, and even considered by some for weight loss. A banana’s nutrition can provide lasting, sustainable energy starting from early in the morning and lasting until the evening without the crash.
Bananas are excellent for breakfast because they can fuel the body with fast-acting and slow-release carbohydrates for a sustainable amount of energy throughout the day. While only providing 1.3 g of protein, it’s profile is remarkable. Similar to quinoa, bananas contain all 18 essential amino acids. Obviously not a reliable source of protein, but it can positively contribute by providing additional padding to an already well-balanced diet.
The macronutrient profile of one banana:
Protein 1.3 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrates 27 g
3.1 g of dietary fiber
14 g sugars
93 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent fats, 4 percent proteins
According to nutritiondata.self.com, the glycemic load of a banana starts at 10 and varies depending on its ripeness. Unripe bananas are made of mostly starch, slowly converting to sugars (fructose, sucrose, and glucose) as they ripen. Banana lovers can monitor their blood sugar levels by looking at the color.
Bananas really shine in their micronutrient profile. How much potassium is in a banana? The average, medium-sized banana contains 422 mg of potassium, about eight percent of the recommended amount. In addition to being known for having lots of potassium, bananas are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese, while also contributing small amounts of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and copper, too.
Add to their health benefits is their delicious, sweet taste that surprising versatile. Bananas can be fried, baked, and frozen and turned into ice cream or blended into a shake. Bananas also compliment several dishes we already love to eat, such as oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal, and fruit salads. Having them dried and turned into chips is an excellent, easy-to-carry healthy snacking alternative to classic potato chips.
Convenient and easy to store, bananas easily make it to my top five go-to foods as a vegan.