Banana is an edible fruit grown on the herbaceous plant of the same name and belongs to the Musa genus. This nutritious fruit is loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers that provide numerous health and beauty benefits.
Health Benefits of Banana
Following are the major health benefits of bananas.
(1) Provides Instant Energy
The natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose in banana provide instant energy for day-to-day activity and is a preferred snack for many individuals. Unlike energy drinks that release a quick burst of energy for a short duration, banana releases energy at a steady rate for a longer time. For this reason, banana is preferred by sportspersons as it gives them the energy to perform in the game.
(2) Regulates High Blood Pressure
Banana contains potassium, a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension is a silent killer that affects millions of people around the world and gives rise to various health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
Zinc and magnesium in bananas also aid in regulating high blood pressure.
Consume bananas in moderation as a large intake of potassium may lower the blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
If you are already on blood pressure medication, then consume a banana after having a word with your doctor to avoid the risk of food-drug intolerance.
(3) Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Soluble dietary fibers like pectin in bananas reduce LDL cholesterol in the body and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
(4) Good For Kidneys
Bananas are good for the kidneys, a vital organ that eliminates toxins as well as contributes to other functions like regulating blood pressure, maintaining fluid balance, production of red blood cells, strengthen bones, and control pH level in the body.
Vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids in mangoes protect our kidneys from free radical damage and improve their efficiency.
Detoxifying compounds like dietary fibers and antioxidants like vitamin C in mangoes eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from our system. To some extent, it reduces the burden of detoxification from the liver and kidneys, allowing them to focus on other functions performed by them.
(5) Improve Nerve Function
Banana improves nerve functioning and is good for the brain.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in the banana protects our brain cells or the neurons from free radical damage, and thus minimizes the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Other nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, etc in the banana also contribute to neurological health as they provide several cognitive benefits like a sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, and reduced mental confusion, etc.
(6) Decrease Risk of Various Cancer(s)
Antioxidants and antioxidantal compounds like vitamin C, vitamin A, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in banana protect our cells and tissues from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of several cancers like colon cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, etc.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
(7) Strengthen Bones
Banana makes our bones stronger due to bone-strengthening minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium, etc.
Calcium is a vital mineral for the growth and development of the bones, and lack of this mineral may increase the risk of bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium neutralizes acid load, reduces loss of calcium from the bones, and thus improves bone density.
The probiotic bacteria in banana enhances calcium absorption in the body.
Magnesium also improves bone density and thus contributes to better bone health.
Other nutrients like zinc, phosphorus, and folate, etc also aid in making our bones healthier.
(8) Promotes Digestive Health
Banana is good for the stomach and improves our digestive health.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in banana protect our digestive system from free radical damage and minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, and stomach cancer, etc.
The laxative properties of dietary fibers in banana improves bowel movement, aids in stool elimination, and thus relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
“Fructooligosaccharide”, a healthy bacteria in a banana stimulates the growth and activity of probiotics in the colon and produces enzymes that enhance digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc also improves our digestive health.
(9) Helps With Stomach Ulcers, Diarrhoea, and Piles
Because of their laxative properties bananas smoothly eliminate stool from the body, reduces stress on the rectum, and thus helps in preventing and curing piles.
Protease inhibitors in bananas eliminate bacterias that cause stomach ulcers.
Because of its astringent properties, the banana regulates fluid balance in the body and thus helps in controlling diarrhea.
(10) Helps In Controlling Anemia
Banana contains iron, a vital mineral that increases the production of red blood cells that carries oxygenated blood to cells and tissues, provide nutrients to them, and thus minimizes the risk of iron-induced anemia.
Iron-induced anemia is a blood disorder mainly caused by the deficiency of iron in the body. It gives rise to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and cold hands or feet, etc.
Vitamin C in the banana enhances iron absorption in the body and is beneficial against anemia.
(11) Reduce Allergies
The amino acids like glycine and leucine in bananas aids in combating various allergies.
(12) Helps Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is easier said than done.
Essential nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium in banana decreases smoking urge, and minimize withdrawal symptoms of nicotine.
(13) Helps In Recovering Hangover
Potassium in bananas reduces the feeling of nausea and tiredness experienced by people during hangovers.
Blend banana with honey and yogurt, and enjoy recovering from a hangover.
(14) Helps With Weight Gain
Banana shakes and smoothies are widely popular for weight gain due to the presence of natural sugar and added milk. Milk contains protein which is needed for the growth and development of the bones. Natural sugars in it provide energy and improve stamina.
A glass of unsweetened banana shake gives 150 calories of energy, and with added sugar, it can be up to 220 calories.
A lot depends on the ingredients used in the banana shake. Using high-fat milk instead of skimmed milk will further increase the calorific value.
(15) Good For Weight Loss
Eating a medium-sized banana gives 105 calories of energy, and the natural sugars in a banana contribute to weight gain.
However, when consumed moderately it can help with weight loss.
It contains dietary fibers that provide stomach satiety, controls our urge to eat again and again, and thus controls overeating which is a prime cause of obesity.
Natural sugars in bananas give a steady release of energy, and dietary fibers prevent overeating.
This reduces our dependency on energy drinks and other unhealthy snacks like chips, biscuits, fries, etc that we usually munch as soon as we get hungry.
(16) Helps In Getting A Good Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and not getting enough sleep can invite several problems like poor concentration, high blood pressure, weak immunity, weight gain, risk of diabetes, low sex drive, and risk of cardiovascular problems, etc.
Amino acids like Tryptophan in bananas enhance melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone) levels in the body and helps us to enjoy quality sleep.
Carbohydrates in bananas increase serotonin and tryptophan levels in the body and help with sleep.
Other nutrients like B vitamins and magnesium etc in banana also play a significant role in improving our sleeping habits.
(17) Provide Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory compound in the banana provides relief from pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma and bronchial asthma, etc.
Rubbing the inner side of banana peels on mosquito bites reduces the swelling and itching of mosquito bites.
Beauty Benefits of Banana for Skin
Some of the major benefits of banana for skin are as follows:-
(1) Helps In Treating Acne And Pimples
Consuming as well as topical application of banana help against skin problems like acne and pimples.
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, dirt, impurities, and other unwanted substance within the skin pores.
The dietary fibers in bananas eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our system.
When there are fewer toxins, they are less likely to accumulate in skin pores, and thus minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.
Dietary fibers also control the secretion of excess oil from skin glands and prevent acne from worsening.
To minimize acne and pimples, mix one chopped banana, one teaspoon of milk, a pinch of nutmeg powder, and a teaspoon of oatmeal powder to form a paste. Apply it to the face, let it dry, and then wash it off with water.
(2) Helps In Treating Dry Eyes
Potassium in bananas assists in maintaining a thin layer of the eyes and also regulates intraocular pressure. This reduces eye dryness and the risk of glaucoma.
(3) Improve Natural Skin Glow
To bring out natural skin glow, mash two bananas and apply the paste on your face( avoid eyes), and after 20 minutes, rinse off with water.
(4) For Skin Exfoliation
Banana is a wonderful skin exfoliator that removes dead skin cells and brings out the natural glow of the skin.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols protect the skin from free radical damage.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium in bananas, etc nourish skin and improves skin radiance.
To eliminate dead skin cells, mash a banana and add granulated sugar to it. Use this mixture as a natural scrub to remove dead skin.
(5) Soften Skin And Improve Skin Complexion
A banana face mask softens skin and improves skin complexion.
For this, mix one teaspoon of milk, two spoons of lemon juice, the pulp of one banana to form a paste. Apply it on the face, and wash off after 15-20 minutes.
(6) Improve Skin Glow
Mix one tablespoon of sandalwood powder and one tablespoon of banana pulp to make a paste. Apply it on the face, and then wash off after 15-20 minutes. Regular use will bring out the natural glow of the skin.
(7) Helps In Treating Dry Skin
For treating dry skin, mash a banana and add one tablespoon of honey to it. Gently apply this mixture on the skin and after 15 minutes, wash off with cold water. Regular use soften skin and prevent skin dryness.
(8) Using Banana Peel For Skin
Rubbing the inner side of a banana provides many benefits to the skin such as reduce pain and inflammation of mosquito bites and bug bites, prevents acne outbreak, speeds up the recovery of bruises, and aids in the removal of warts.
(9) Wonderful Skin Moisturizer
Banana is a wonderful skin moisturizer that moisturizes and nourishes our skin as they contain essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc.
To moisturize skin, apply a mashed banana on your face ( except eyes and mouth) and after 15 minutes, rinse it off with cold water.
Regular use nourishes and moisturizes our skin, and makes it soft, supple, and radiant.
(10) Control Sebum Secretion
Dietary fibers in bananas control the secretion of excess oil (sebum) from skin glands and prevent acne and pimples from worsening.
To control sebum secretion, mash a ripe banana, and add one teaspoon of raw honey and half teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, and apply it to the face ( avoid mouth and eyes). Let it dry for 20 minutes, and then wash off with cold water.
(11) Provide Anti-Aging Benefits
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids, etc in banana protects our skin cells from the free radical damage, and keep various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and in doing so they cause oxidative damage to them.
Vitamin C enhances the production of collagen, an amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and saggy skin.
(12) Lighten Dark Spots
Regularly applying mashed banana on the skin lightens dark spots, acne scars, and tiny moles.
(13) Heal Cracked Heels
For healing cracked heels, mash two bananas and apply the pulp on your clean and dry feet. Wait ten minutes, and then rinse off water.
Banana penetrates deep into the skin, heal cracked heels, and makes skin soft and supple.
(14) Get rid of puffy eyes
Banana helps getting rid of puffy eyes as it contains draws out excess fluid from under the skin and reduces swelling.
To get rid of puffy eyes, carefully apply some mashed banana on the puffy eyes for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off with cold water.
(15) Treating Warts and Psoriasis
Rubbing inside of the banana peel on the affected area (with warts and psoriasis) for 10-15 minutes twice a day treats warts and Psoriasis.
Beauty Benefits of Banana for Hair
Following are the major beauty benefits of bananas for hair.
(1) Treat Hair Loss
Banana contains several essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, etc that nourish and strengthens our hair follicles.
With stronger hair follicles, the risk of hair loss diminishes automatically.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds in it protect our hair follicles from free radical damage.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, B vitamins, and folate, etc also contribute to scalp health and minimizes the risk of hair fall.
For treating hair loss, mash a banana and mix one teaspoon of yogurt to it. Evenly spread the mixture on your hair, and let it dry for one hour. Wash off with water.
Using this remedy regularly reduces hair loss, nourishes our hair follicles, and makes them strong & lustrous.
(2) Treats Dull And Frizzy Hair
A banana-honey hair mask can efficiently take care of dull and frizzy hair.
For this, mix 2-3 tablespoons of honey to 2-3 mashed bananas to form a mixture.
Wash off your hair (with plain water), and apply this mixture to the damp hair roots and scalp.
Wrap your hair with a towel or shower cap, and after 15-20 minutes wash off with water and condition them.
(3) Make Hair Soft And Lustrous
Nutrients in bananas make our hair strong and lustrous.
For making hair strong and lustrous, mix pulp of banana, the pulp of an avocado, and some coconut milk to form a paste. Apply this paste on hair follicles and scalp, and let it dry for 15-20 minutes, and then wash off with water.
Avocado can also be substituted with cocoa.
Risks and Side Effects of Eating Too Many Bananas
Although banana is a safe fruit for most individuals, there are few points to keep in mind and enjoy the fruit in moderation.
Some major side effects of eating too many bananas are.
(1) May Cause Headaches
For most healthy people, eating one to two bananas per day is enough as in excessive quantity, amino acids in banana dilate blood vessels and trigger headaches.
(2) May Cause Sleepiness
Amino acids in bananas enhance the production of sleep-inducing hormones such as melatonin. However, in excessive quantity, it can cause sleepiness and drowsiness.
(3) Increase the Risk of Hyperkalemia
A healthy adult needs about 3500 mg to 4700 mg of potassium every day. Eating 100 grams of banana provides 358 mg of potassium.
If you are already taking enough potassium in your diet, and then overeating bananas may cause too much potassium in the body.
A high level of potassium may increase the risk of hyperkalemia with symptoms such as nausea, slower pulse, irregular heartbeat, and cardiac arrest, etc.
Eat it in moderation to avoid the risk.
(4) May Cause Tooth Decay
Although bananas contain bone-strengthening minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium that strengthen our enamel, they are also loaded with natural sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose.
When consumed in excessive quantities, natural sugars in bananas may increase the risk of tooth decay.
(5) Lack of Fat
Fat causes obesity and other health problems like cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and gallbladder diseases. But, in moderate quantity, it helps our body for various important functions like storing energy, absorption of water-soluble vitamins, boosts brain function, and insulates the body.
Banana doesn’t have any fat.
(6) Lack of Protein
Don’t depend on bananas for muscle gain. Eating 100 grams of banana provide 1.1 gram of protein. This is negligible in comparison to the daily protein need of 56 grams for average sedentary man, and 46 grams for average sedentary women.
Interesting Facts about Banana
Some interesting facts about banana are as follows
- The banana plant is not a tree but an herb as they never form a woody stem. It can grow up to a height of 20 feet and dies every year (except corn) after fruiting.
- Every year once the banana plant dies, the banana corm helps it grow as banana offshoots develop from this corm. The banana corm looks like a brown ball and is 10 inches in diameter.
- Banana fruit grows away from the main stem, and in large clusters that can even weigh over 100 pounds with as much as 400 individual bananas per cluster.
- Banana first originated in the jungles of southeast Asia but is now cultivated in over 100 countries.
- Bananas are exported unripe green and are then ripened using ethylene.
- Even though banana has a dry texture, it is about 75% water.
- The Goldfinger banana is a palatable hybrid banana that has a little taste of apple in them.
- Banana is the fourth largest consumed agricultural product in the world as around 100 billion bananas are consumed every year.
- Uganda has the highest per person per year consumption of bananas of 500 pounds.
- The banana tree is a herb and banana fruit is a berry
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.