In this post I am going to answer the question are bananas good for you, or bad, and explain some of the banana nutrition facts and how they affect our health.
Most people enjoy bananas. They are a fruit, so according to conventional wisdom they should be healthy. They taste sweet, and they are super-quick to eat and easy to bring with you on the road.
However, some people do believe that they are bad for us because of the sugar content.
Banana Nutrition Facts
Bananas have a glycemic index of about 55. Compare that to apples, which have a glycemic index of about 38, and to pineapples who have a GI of 66.
The glycemic index measures how quickly the carbohydrates in the food get digested and turned in to blood sugar. This means that bananas get turned in to sugar pretty fast, but a medium banana contains less than 30 grams of carbs so I don’t see a big problem.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, though, this could be a problem and it might be a better idea to stick to fruits like blueberries.
Macro- and micronutrients
Here I’m going to refer to nutritiondata.com which is a great resource for nutrition facts.
Macronutrients (a medium sized banana):
- Carbohydrate: 27 grams (3g are fiber)
- Protein: 1g
- Fat: none
- Calories: About 100
Decent amounts of the following micronutrients:
- Vitamin C: 10.3mg (17% of the RDA)
- Vitamin B6: 0.4mg (22% of the RDA)
- Potassium: 422mg (12% of the RDA)
- Manganese: 0.3mg (16% of the RDA)
- Magnesium: 31.9mg (8% of RDA)
Bananas are particularly high in potassium and fairly high in magnesium.
They also contain small amounts of other micronutrients, so you could say that they are pretty nutritious.
Are bananas good for you, or bad?
I would say that if you are a healthy non-diabetic person, who doesn’t need to lose a lot of weight, then bananas are good for you. I wouldn’t base my diet around fruit like some extreme vegan folks do, but they should be a part of a healthy diet.
If you’re following a low-carb diet then you may want to limit the amount you eat. If you’re trying to overcome insulin resistance or type II diabetes via diet then you may want to eliminate them completely.
If you want to take the evolutionary perspective, then yes.. hunter-gatherers did eat fruit. However, they only did when fruit was in season, not year round. Also, the fruit we get at the supermarket is often very different from what we might find in the wild.
That being said, I do eat a banana every now and then myself. They taste good, I can eat them quickly and I can take one with me when I get out of the house. I do eat an apple almost every day though, I find that they are more satiating.
Although a banana may not be the most optimal food in the world (because of the sugar content), it is certainly a much healthier choice than the junk food many people tend to have as snacks and according to the banana nutrition facts, they are pretty nutritious.
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