How many carbs are in a banana? How many calories in a banana? And its health benefits

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

“Health is wealth.”

You’ve probably heard of this quote more than a hundred times. With illnesses becoming more potent and more life-threatening nowadays, this knowledge cannot be emphasized enough. This is why it’s extremely important to take care of our health at all times. But aside from keeping yourself active, it’s more important to eat the right kinds of food. For one, you should pack on the recommended dose of vitamins and minerals for a well-balanced diet. But what are the most important nutrients that will keep our bodies fully nourished?

Nutritional Information for Bananas

A banana has the following carbohydrates and calories depending on its’ size:

  • Extra small Banana (usually under 6 inches) – 70 calories and 19 carbs
  • Small Banana (usually 6 to 7 inches) – 90 calories and 23 carbs
  • Medium Banana (usually 7 to 8 inches) – 105 calories and 27 carbs
  • Large Banana (usually 8 to 9 inches) – 120 calories and 31 carbs
  • Extra large Banana (usually over 9 inches) – 135 calories and 35 carbs

 

Most important vitamins and minerals that your body needs

There are lots of nutrients required by our bodies to survive. These are some of the most important vitamins and minerals that you should include in your daily meals:

  • VITAMIN A – also known as retinol, this vitamin helps keep your vision virtually perfect, as well as ensure your immune system is as strong as ever. Vitamin A is also crucial for bone growth, which is why younger people should have enough supply.

Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A. One cup of this orange vegetable can provide 600% of your daily need. Other sources include sweet potato, spinach, winter squash and turnips.

  • VITAMIN D – when you hear “vitamin D,” you will most likely think of the sun. This is because sunlight is a natural source of this nutrient. But this doesn’t mean that the sun provides vitamin D. It just means that our bodies manufacture more of this good stuff when directly exposed to the sun. You can also find vitamin D in shrimp, salmon, milk and whole eggs. What it does to our body? It can help in the proper absorption of phosphorus and calcium to make bones stronger.
  • VITAMIN E – vitamin E is best known as an antioxidant in your body as it naturally keeps your immune system healthy. Aside from that, it helps regulate blood flow and repair tissues for faster recovery from working out too much. Some of the best sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, spinach, olives, almonds, turnip greens and papaya.
  • VITAMIN K – this nutrient is essential because it ensures blood clots, which are crucial whenever you are injured or are bleeding. If you have vitamin E deficiency, you could lose a lot of blood if you suffer from a cut or are undergoing surgery. Kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts and spinach are some of the best sources of this vitamin.
  • FOLIC ACID – this is especially important for pregnant women as it helps in cell renewal and preventing birth defects. You can get folic acid from asparagus, citrus fruits, lentils, nuts, seeds, beets, corn, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, peas and beans.
  • CALCIUM – this macromineral is essential for keeping your teeth and bones strong and healthy. This means that it can help prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, calcium also helps in the proper function of your blood, hormones, blood pressure and nerves. Best sources of calcium include tofu, black molasses and more of all, milk and other dairy products.
  • IODINE – if your family has a long history of hypothyroidism, you can protect yourself from such illness by ensuring your buddy has the right amount of iodine. This mineral helps regulate body temperature, boosts your body’s growth and development and maintains proper functioning of nerves and muscles. Iodine is commonly found in table salt. You can also get it from milk, potatoes and seafood.
  • VITAMIN B1 – also known as thiamine, this vitamin is responsible for ensuring that your body makes good use of the carbohydrates you take, fueling your body with energy. In addition, vitamin B1 also helps maintain your nervous system to ensure proper transmission of the nerves throughout your body cells. Best sources of thiamine include tuna, sunflower seeds, lentils and black beans.
  • VITAMIN B2 – also referred to as riboflavin, this vitamin makes sure that your body breaks down and processes protein, fats and carbs properly. It also aids in promoting healthy skin.
  • VITAMIN B3 – also known as niacin, this nutrient plays a crucial role in producing energy and maintaining our nervous and digestive systems. This can be found in chicken meat, halibut, turkey breast and yellow fin tuna.
  • VITAMIN C – vitamin C is most popular for its ability to help fight common colds, thanks to its antioxidant properties, which are also responsible for protecting your immune system against free radicals. What’s more, this nutrient can also help maintain connective tissues in your cartilage and tendons. You can get lots of vitamin C from papaya, broccoli, strawberry, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and most of all, oranges.
  • BIOTIN – it is a nutrient that helps your system maximize the use of other nutrients, as well as ensure blood supply in your body. Biotin is especially important for those who engage in physical activities regularly, since your body heavily relies on your red blood cells to distribute oxygen throughout your system. Although it can be found in liver, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, almonds, legumes and tomatoes, no food contain high amounts of this nutrient. This is why it is recommended to take multivitamins that has biotin.
  • IRON – it helps ensure that hemoglobin and myoglobin transport oxygen to every cell in our bodies. Iron also plays a significant role in the production of collagen, hormones, amino acids and neurotransmitters. This mineral can be easily sourced from red meat and poultry. But vegetarians and vegans can take supplements instead, including leafy greens and iron-rich fruits. It’s important to note, though, that iron overdose can be lethal. So it’s best to consult a doctor or dietician before you include iron in your diet.
  • MAGNESIUM – this macromineral works hand in hand with calcium to ensure proper blood clotting, energy metabolism, muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, as well as healthy teeth and bones. If you wish to add magnesium in your diet, take oat bran with almonds, bananas, cooked spinach and brown rice. There are also supplements you can buy.
  • ZINC – it is best known for being a building block for cells, proteins and enzymes. It also frees vitamin A from the liver through its enzymatic activity. Aside from that, it also boosts our immune systems, speeding up healing and mediating our senses. Foods like oysters, beef, turkey, milk and cashews are excellent sources of zinc.
  • POTASSIUM – what makes potassium an essential macromineral is that it helps ensure a steady heartbeat, proper muscle function and nerve signal transmission. It also aids in balancing fluids in the body by ensuring that the kidneys save fluids when we excrete fluids excessively or are dehydrated. This mineral also helps lower blood pressure level and keep bones healthy. Best sources of potassium include bananas, raisins, artichokes, potatoes and plums.

Super in Potassium  

One of the most beneficial and easily sourced nutrients that you need in your daily diet is potassium, which can be found in bananas. If you are wondering what benefits you can get from these sweet, yellow fruits, read on.

 

What are the benefits of bananas?

Bananas are supermarket staples. But they’re often neglected because people think that they’re not as beneficial as other fruits, such as berries and citrus fruits. What they don’t know is that bananas have surprising powers that are extremely beneficial to our health. Here are 21 amazing benefits of bananas.

Help You Lose Weight

Nope, we’re not monkeying around. Bananas actually have 12 mg of choline, which is a vitamin B that helps blast fat by directly attacking the genes that are responsible for storing fat in your abdomen. So if you want to have a flatter tummy the easiest way, you should include bananas in your daily diet. Aside from that, this fruit is naturally sweet, helping you curb your sugar craving. One banana only has about 90 calories, which a quarter of the number of calories you can get from a chocolate bar. But half of the fiber content of bananas is soluble, which means that it helps your system absorb water better while slowing digestion, making you feel full for a long time. Eating a banana before lunch would help you not to overeat.

Normalize Heart Function

Bananas are rich in potassium, which is absorbed directly by your body into your bloodstream through the intestinal walls. When this mineral is absorbed by your body, it dissolves and balances fluids in and around the cells. This ensures regular heartbeat. So, if you have potassium deficiency, your heart rhythm could become irregular, putting you at risk.

Helps Build Lean Muscles

Magnesium, which is also found in bananas, is an important mineral that helps build lean and strong muscles by ensuring proper protein synthesis. Also, by adding bananas in your diet, you are boosting lipolysis, which is a natural process in which your body releases fat. Pack on magnesium by boiling the ends of a banana in water and drinking it before you sleep.

Additionally, bananas also help ensure fast recovery from a gruesome workout session and strengthen your body, allowing you to push yourself harder.

Fight Off Stress And Anxiety

Folic acid, which is an important vitamin for pregnant women, can be found in bananas. Aside from that, this fruit also has tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin, a crucial brain chemical that is a natural antidepressant. This means that bananas can help fight off or treat insomnia, anxiety, as well as irritability, aggression, anger, agitation and fatigue. Additionally, they have norepinephrine, which helps manage stress by regulating our “fight or flight” response. So, by eating bananas every day, you can help prevent stress and anxiety, as well as promote positive moods.

Help You Sleep Better

Because bananas help relieve stress, you will be able to sleep better at night. As a result, you’ll be more energized and feel better during the day. Thus, you’re less likely to get stressed.

Prevent Bloat

One way to look bigger than your actual size is when you’re always bloated. To prevent gas and water retention, eat a banana every day. A study revealed that women who ate a banana twice a day before meals are 50 percent less likely to suffer from belly bloat. This is because this fruit increases the number of bacteria that fight off bloat. Plus, it has potassium, which has the ability to lessen fluid retention in your stomach.

Stabilize Blood Sugar

Experts recommend fat and protein with a banana to diminish the absorption of sugar from the fruit into your bloodstream. This fruit can also help lessen your sweet cravings, keeping your blood sugar level in check. The key here is to eat a banana between meals.

Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels

Eating fast foods means you’ve consumed trans-fat, which increases your bad cholesterol levels. To get rid of bad cholesterols, eat a banana every day. It contains phytosterols, which are compounds that can lower LDL (bad cholesterol levels). This fruit contains B6, which helps improve your heart, immune system, digestive system and nervous system.

Normalize Bowel Motility

If you’re someone who’s constantly constipated, eating bananas every day will help normalize bowel movement. Thanks to its high fiber content, food becomes easier to digest, making your stools easier to pass. Similarly, bananas can also help when you have diarrhea as this fruit contains probiotics, which are healthy microbes in your gut.

Make Bones Stronger

Bananas only contain less than one percent of the daily recommended intake of calcium. But they can help promote calcium uptake with prebiotic fructooligosaccharides. As this prebiotic ferments in the digestive system, it helps your body to better absorb calcium, thus making your bones stronger. This is especially important if you’re one who works out or does physical activities a lot.

Boost Your Energy

Do you love to run, lift weights or spin cycle? If so, then you’ll find eating a banana before and after your work out extremely beneficial. Aside from helping keep your bones stronger, this fruit can also increase your energy level. This is because bananas contain high levels of glucose, which is a digestible source of sugar that raises energy levels.

Fight Diseases Better

This fruit is rich in three types of carotenoids: provitamin A, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. These are converted into vitamin A, helping your body fight off diseases. This means that because bananas contain high levels of carotenoids, they can help protect you against chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and certain types of cancer. Besides, bananas contain delphinidin, which is an antioxidant that has anti-tumor properties.

Lower Blood Pressure

To effectively lower your blood pressure level, take less sodium and more potassium. This is also the best way to lower your risk of stroke. Thankfully, bananas are low in sodium and high in potassium, making this fruit an excellent addition to your diet to protect yourself from high-blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Improve Your Vision

If you want to maintain or improve your eyesight, you should eat bananas every day because they are rich in vitamins A and C. Aside from that, this fruit has beta-carotene, which is an effective antioxidant that protects cells and correct damage. Plus, it has vitamin E and lutein, which also helps keep eyes healthy.

How do you do a detox?

Detoxify

Yes, bananas are also natural detox agents as they are rich in pectin, which is a fiber that flushes out toxic compounds in the blood through urine. As a matter of fact, this gelatin-like fiber can increase mercury excretion by 150 percent. Plus, it helps your cells absorb less fat.

Fight Anemia

Bananas are rich in iron, which is a good thing for those suffering from anemia, wherein there is a decrease in the number of hemoglobin in the blood. If you are experiencing shortness of breath, paleness and fatigue, you could be suffering from anemia. Include one or two bananas in your meals or snacks every day.

Improve Kidney Health

Potassium, which is found in bananas among other fruits and vegetables, can help control blood pressure and improve kidney function. One study involving women over the age of 13 revealed that those who ate bananas 2 to 3 times a week have a lesser chance of developing kidney disease by 33 percent. Those who ate 4 to 6 times a week have 50 percent less chances. So, bottom line is eating bananas several times per week reduces your risk of kidney diseases.

Lessen The Risk Of Cancer

Kids who consume bananas and oranges have a lesser risk of developing childhood leukemia. This is because this fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which can help combat free radicals in your body. Additionally, bananas are high in fiber, which means that it can help lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

Preserve Memory And Improve Mood

Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps improve memory and mood. Since it is found in bananas, eating this fruit every day means you are preserving your memory and boosting your daily mood, helping relieve stress and anxiety.

Cure Heartburn And Ulcers

Bananas have properties that help balance your stomach’s pH level and improve its protective mucus layer, which in turn relieves pain. Its fiber content also helps your digestive system process all the food you eat better to prevent reflux. What’s more, it has protease inhibitors that get rid of ulcer-causing bacteria in your stomach. So to protect our stomach against ulcers, you should include this fruit in your daily meals.

Treat Skin Conditions

The banana’s skin can help treat skin diseases, like psoriasis, acne and warts. To harness the power of this fruit, all you need to do is rub the peel of a freshly peeled banana gently on your skin. Thanks to the fatty acid content of this superfood, which also has a strong moisturizing effect, your skin will greatly improve.

Increasing your daily intake of anything that has lots of health benefits, like bananas, lowers the risk of developing a great number of diseases. So be sure to enjoy your daily meals with this amazing fruit from hereon.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.