Original article written by Natasha Longo, comments by Daily Health Post.
The misinformation about bananas on the internet is fairly extensive, especially relating to weight loss. There are some people out there actually trying to convince audiences that bananas are as bad to consume as cookies and french fries…I kid you not.
The truth is that the study on bananas vs. cookies and french fries was simply about showing how filling a banana was compared to certain foods. What the research found was that “To stay full and not crash later, bananas are as good a choice as cookies or french fries.” In other words, bananas may have more nutrients and are therefore healthier than cookies BUT they still fill you up and give you the same sugar crash as a cookie.
If we look at the facts on bananas, we find a fruit with a low glycemic index, high in fiber and full of vitamins. They are one of the most nutritious and natural foods that help promote weight loss and help enhance immunity.
Bananas are not the only fruits that fit this description. Apples, oranges, and so on are all fruits that have an even lower glycemic index than bananas, are high in fiber and chock full of vitamins. As for weight loss, eating too much of any fruit can actually cause you to gain weight.
Nutrients You Get From Eating Bananas
Bananas are very high in vitamin B6 and also contain modest amounts of vitamin C, maganese, potassium and of course fiber. Sports enthusiasts appreciate the potassium–power delivered by this high energy fruit which many claim is as effective and even superior to sport energy drinks.
This is the part where most people have it all confused. For non-diabetics, there are times when a rapid increase in blood sugar (and the corresponding increase in insulin) may be desirable. For instance, after strenuous physical activity, insulin helps move glucose into muscle cells, where it aids tissue repair and prevent further break down of muscle tissues (catabolism).
This is the reason why you see so many athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts eating a banana or mixing it with their protein shake immediately after a workout.
Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.
If you’re going to be eating a banana a day for its potassium content why not just go for veggies? True bananas taste better but the fact of the matter is that if you want to keep your intake of potassium high while trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain then your best options are vegetables. Here’s a list of common veggies high in potassium:
- Swiss Chard – 1 cup cooked – 960.75 mg of potassium
- Spinach – 1 cup cooked – 838.80 mg of potassium
- Beets – 1 cup raw – 442 mg of potassium
- Tomatoes – 1 cup raw – 426.60 mg of potassium
- Kale – 1 cup cooked – 296.40 mg of potassium
- Broccoli – 1 cup raw – 287.56 mg of potassium
The effectiveness of potassium–rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who ate diets higher in potassium–rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium, had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as bananas, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water–soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.
In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high–salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.