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Bananas are one of the most widely consumed and traded fruits worldwide, besides being one of the cheapest as well.
Bananas can be eaten raw or added to a variety of culinary preparations. Because of their mildly sweet flavor, you can eat them to satisfy your sugar cravings without adding to your calorie load.
Bananas are one of the best pick-me-up snacks when you are in a rush or on the move. They are replete with nutrients that provide an instant rush of energy.
Nutritional Value of Bananas
Bananas are best known for their potassium and soluble fiber content. They are also good sources (1) of:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Ways to Include Bananas in Your Diet
Bananas are an easy fruit to take on the run as they come in their own natural packaging.
- Consume bananas either as a snack, such as in the form of baked chips, or part of a balanced meal.
- Add bananas to your breakfast or eat bananas as part of a dessert.
- Bananas are naturally very sweet and contain pectin, making them a great ingredient for smoothies. Bananas naturally sweeten the smoothie, and the fibers in them thicken the drink a bit to give it a desirable consistency.
- Bananas are easy to digest and tolerate for athletes and those suffering from gastrointestinal distress. Try bananas when you are unable to get any other healthy food to eat while you are on the move.
- Many people prefer to eat only a banana in the morning to get a shot of energy and sense of fullness at the start of their day, especially before a workout.
Green Bananas Support Gastrointestinal Health
Green bananas supply a considerable amount of dietary fiber, including soluble fibers that help with satiety, blood sugar control, and heart health. (2)
Green bananas are high in resistant starch, making it a prebiotic food source that supports gastrointestinal health. (3) There is evidence that cooked green bananas and banana in various forms may be beneficial in treating diarrhea, both in children and adults. (4)
Bananas have been utilized in the short-term traditional treatment of gastrointestinal distress over the years, known as the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Combine Bananas and Eggs for a Meal
Bananas and eggs eaten together are a great way to consume macronutrients, including protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and fats. This combination is a perfect easy-to-grab meal or snack that promotes satiety and nutritional balance.
Bananas certainly fall into the “easy-to-find and easy-to-pack” fruits that are available in most stores the whole year. Eggs, especially hard-boiled eggs, are high in protein and can be easily bought from your nearest convenience shops.
Apple vs. Banana for Breakfast
Nutritionally balanced meal plans, including the DASH diet, always include fresh fruits. Both bananas and apples are excellent sources of fiber and nutrients. Consistently eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is the key to optimal eating.
Do Bananas Contribute to Weight Gain?
In and of themselves, bananas do not contribute to weight gain. Any food eaten in excess of calories needed by the body can cause weight gain.
Bananas are highly unlikely to have such an effect because they are high in fiber and water, which contribute to a sense of fullness when consumed.
The problem occurs when you consume processed banana products, such as banana chips, banana muffins, and banana bread. These food products are usually loaded with calories, and eating them may contribute to unwanted weight gain.
Side Effects of Banana Consumption
While bananas are a safe, healthy, and nutritional snack, they may possess problems in some people, especially when consumed in large amounts.
Many believe bananas are high in sugar and cannot be eaten if blood sugar is a concern. While bananas have a low glycemic index, portion control and balance with other foods are important considerations for glycemic control in people with diabetes.
Some nutrition protocols for specific states of kidney disease call for diets low in potassium, and bananas are high in potassium. If you are suffering from kidney disease, it is important that you know how to incorporate and limit foods that contain potassium, including bananas, in your meal plan.
Some people experience gas when eating bananas. Chewing your food well and introducing small amounts of fiber at a time may help minimize gastrointestinal distress.
Daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is highly beneficial to health. Bananas, especially, are rich in fiber and nutrients. Therefore, including bananas in a well-balanced diet can have multiple benefits to your health.
Besides, bananas are available year-round and have their own protective covering, making them an easy-to-go snack.