Banana - Types, Benefits and Health Risks

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 07/11/2023

Bananas are one of the most famous and versatile fruits in the world. They are native to Southeast Asia and Africa, but they are now grown in over 100 countries across the globe. Bananas come in many types, each with unique characteristics and nutritional value.

The banana health benefits are versatile, as they provide a range of nutrients and antioxidants that may support various aspects of well-being. However, eating too many bananas may also have some drawbacks, especially for certain groups of people who may be more sensitive to their effects.

Here, we will explore the types, benefits, and health risks of bananas and how to enjoy them in moderation.

Types of Bananas

There exist hundreds of banana varieties, but you can broadly categorise them as dessert and cooking bananas.

Dessert bananas are the ones that are usually eaten raw or added to sweet dishes. They are typically yellow, but they can also be red, green, or purple.

Cooking bananas, also known as plantains, are starchier and less sweet than dessert bananas. Most people typically cook or fry them before eating. They are usually green, but they can also be yellow or black.

Some of the most common types of bananas are:

Cavendish

This is the most widely consumed type of banana globally. It is small to medium-sized, with a thin peel and creamy flesh. It has a mild and sweet flavour, and it is ideal for snacking or adding to smoothies or cereals.

Lady Finger

This is a smaller and sweeter type of banana than Cavendish. It has a thin peel and a firm flesh. It has a rich and honey-like flavour, and it is perfect for baking or making desserts.

Red

This is a medium-sized banana with a reddish-purple peel and pale flesh. It has a sweet and somewhat tart flavour, and it is suitable for eating raw or making jams or sauces.

Plantain

This banana type is large and starchy, and people usually cook it before eating. It has a thick peel and a firm flesh. It has a mild and savoury flavour, and it is excellent for frying or making chips or soups.

Ice Cream

This is a rare and exotic type of banana that has a bluish-green peel and white flesh. It has a creamy and custard-like texture, and it tastes like vanilla ice cream. It is best to eat raw or make ice cream or smoothies.

Banana Health Benefits

Bananas are not only delicious but also nutritious. Here are the unripe and ripe banana benefits.

Blood Pressure

The first advantage of bananas is they are an excellent source of potassium, a crucial mineral for controlling blood pressure by counteracting the impact of sodium.

Potassium further plays a role in preserving proper fluid balance, supporting nerve function, and facilitating muscle contractions. One medium-sized banana supplies approximately 12% of the daily recommended potassium intake.

Digestion

Another banana health benefit is better digestion. They contain lots of fibre, a carb that keeps your bowels regular and prevents constipation. Fibre also nourishes good gut bacteria, potentially enhancing your digestion and immunity.

**Heart Health **

The most prominent benefit of eating bananas is for heart patients. They have little fat and cholesterol, which might reduce the chance of heart problems and strokes.

They also have antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and pectin that could safeguard blood vessels from damage and inflammation. A medium-sized banana offers roughly 15% of the RDI for vitamin C and 20% of the RDI for vitamin B6.

**Diabetes **

They have a moderate glycemic index (GI), so they do not cause a quick jump in blood sugar after eating. They also have pectin, a soluble fibre that can slow down sugar absorption and help manage blood sugar. But if you have diabetes, you must watch how many bananas you eat and control your portion size.

Asthma

Eating a banana a day might lower the risk of asthma in kids, as per a study. It found that children daily consuming at least one banana had a 34% lower likelihood of getting asthma symptoms than those who ate fewer than one banana each month.

The researchers believe the anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties in this fruit protect the airways from asthma triggers.

**Cancer Prevention **

They might help lower the risk of certain cancers, like colorectal and kidney cancer, by influencing the behaviour of genes related to cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis (programmed cell death).

They also have natural compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids that could fight cancer by neutralising harmful molecules and stopping tumour growth and spread.

Besides the above, you must recognise the banana benefit for the skin. The vitamins in them help with acne and make your skin look nice. If you wish to enjoy banana fruit benefits without consuming them, make a banana mask for your face to make it soft and smooth.

How to Consume Bananas?

To get the most out of banana nutrition, you may eat them raw or add to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, or desserts. Here are some tips on how to enjoy bananas healthily:

  • Choose ripe bananas with yellow peels with brown spots, as they are sweeter and easier to digest than green or overripe bananas.

  • Store bananas at room temperature elsewhere from direct sun rays or heat sources. To ripen bananas faster, put them in a paper bag. Next, add a tomato or apple. To slow the ripening process, separate the bananas from the stem and wrap each end with plastic wrap.

  • Peel bananas from the bottom up, as this will prevent the stringy fibres from sticking to the fruit. You can also use a knife to cut off both ends of the banana before peeling.

  • Eat bananas as a snack between meals or before or after exercise, as they provide a quick energy source and replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.

  • Add bananas to smoothies, oatmeal, yoghurt, or cereal to boost flavour and nutrition. You can also freeze peeled bananas and blend them with milk or yoghurt for a creamy and refreshing treat.

  • Bake bananas with cinnamon, honey, or nuts for a warm and cosy dessert. You can also mash ripe bananas and use them as a substitute for eggs, butter, or oil in baking recipes.

Potential Health Risks of Consuming Too Many Bananas

Weight Gain

A medium-sized ripe banana has 27 grams of carbs and 105 calories, like two slices of bread. Eating lots can lead to weight gain. Eating too many bananas may also reduce your appetite for other foods that provide more protein, fibre, or healthy fats.

**Headaches **

Bananas have tyramine, which is an amino acid that may trigger headaches in some people who are sensitive to it. Tyramine is higher in overripe bananas than in ripe or green bananas.

Tyramine may also interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants or blood pressure drugs, and cause adverse effects, such as high blood pressure or nausea.

Sleepiness

They have tryptophan, an amino acid that gets transformed into serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Serotonin and melatonin are neurotransmitters that regulate mood and sleep. Eating bananas may help you relax and fall asleep faster, but it may also make you feel tired and sluggish during the day.

**Hyperkalemia

The high potassium content of a banana can sometimes be harmful. Hyperkalemia is a condition where the blood potassium level is too high, which may cause irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, nausea, or paralysis.

Lack of prompt treatment can result in life-threatening consequences. People who are at risk of hyperkalemia include those with kidney disease, diabetes, or adrenal disorders, as well as those who take certain medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or potassium-sparing diuretics.

Conclusion

Bananas are a pleasant and healthy fruit that offers many health advantages. The very first is banana digestion benefits, as bananas enhance your digestion. Others are reducing blood pressure, promoting heart health, preventing asthma, and lowering the risk of certain cancers.

However, eating too many bananas may have drawbacks. Therefore, it is crucial to eat bananas in moderation and consult your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about your health.

While a healthy diet is the first step in your journey to healthy living, it may not be enough to secure you against unpredictable and unforeseen medical conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to secure yourself and your loved ones with a health insurance plan.

With Tata AIG, you can get health insurance for yourself, your family, employees, etc., at reasonable premium prices. Do not forget to compare health insurance online before buying one. Get a medical insurance plan today and take a leap towards a healthier life!

FAQs

How many bananas per day?

You can eat about one to two bananas a day. Eating too many might give you too much sugar and calories, so it is best to enjoy them in moderation.

Do bananas help you sleep?

Yes, bananas can help you sleep better. They have a chemical called melatonin, which can make you feel sleepy.

When not to eat bananas?

Avoid eating bananas when they have turned brown and mushy, as they may taste bad. If you have a banana allergy or are on a low-potassium diet, consult your doctor.

Are bananas acidic?

Bananas are slightly acidic. They have a pH of about 4.5 to 5.2, which is less acidic than citrus fruits but still a bit acidic.

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