There’s a little confusion around bananas, lately. While some individuals like to include this bright yellow, curved fruit in their diets, others tend to avoid it because of its high carb content.
It’s hard to argue with the fact that bananas are delicious and nutritious, with many health benefits. Some even consider them to be a superfruit because they’re so packed with nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fiber and heart-healthy potassium.
But that’s not all – Did you know that their resistant starch and fiber content can actually help you to lose weight? Keep reading to find out more…
So, can you enjoy bananas on a strict low carb diet, like Keto? Let’s weigh in on some of the pros and cons of bananas and whether they can help or hinder your low carb journey…
Are Bananas Keto-Friendly?
Despite the many nutritional advantages that this fruit has to offer, bananas are one of the fruits that are not recommended on the keto diet due to their high carb content. Grapes are another fruit that are quite carb-dense and should be avoided or strictly limited while following Keto.
On a Ketogenic diet, it is recommended to avoid sweet fruits like these. Dried bananas should also be avoided while on Keto. Dried fruits are even worse because they’re dehydrated and so condensed, they can contain twice or up to 3 times the amount of carbs!
With smarter choices, you can still enjoy a piece of fruit while following the Keto diet. Better fruit picks include avocados, raspberries, and lemons as they’re lower in sugar and carbs.
If you can’t go without the flavor of banana, you can try adding a few drops of banana extract to your smoothies and desserts.
How Many Carbs are in Bananas?
- One small banana (approximately 6 inches long) contains 23 grams of carbs.
- A medium sized banana (about 7 inches long) contains 27 grams of carbs.
- A large banana (about 8 inches long) contains 31 grams of carbs.
A 100 gram serving of dried bananas contains a whopping 67 grams of carbs!
How Many Calories in Bananas?
- One small banana contains 90 calories.
- A medium sized contains 105 calories.
- A large banana contains 121 calories.
A 100 gram serving of dried bananas contains 317 calories.
When it comes to nutrition, bananas are a nutrient-packed heavyweight contender. They’re loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy.
A look into the nutritional breakdown of bananas shows that they are cholesterol-free and contain only a fraction of a gram of fat. They’re low in sodium, containing only 1 milligram of salt. They offer about 360 milligrams potassium per 100 gram serving, 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, and about 1 gram of protein.
Rich in Potassium
Bananas are packed with potassium, a mineral known for its amazing health benefits. Potassium regulates the heartbeat and stabilizes blood pressure. This important mineral also helps keep you feeling alert by reducing brain fog.
Fiber-rich foods are also known to support heart health. A study in the UK conducted by the University of Leeds determined that increasing the fiber content of participant’s diets with foods like bananas reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular disease and heart disease.
High in Fiber
Bananas are packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep you feeling satiated and prevent snacking in between meals. A high fiber diet promotes healthy digestion and helps keep your bowels moving regularly.
Stabilizes Blood Pressure
Due to their low sodium content, bananas are an ideal fruit choice for individuals who have high blood pressure or hypertension.
Because bananas are rich in iron, they are effective in the treatment of anemia (iron deficiency).
As long as bananas are consumed in moderation, there are no significant side effects associated with the fruit. However, eating bananas in excess can trigger headaches and induce sleepiness because their amino acids have a dilating effect on blood vessels.
|Serving size: 1 small banana 6 inches long (81 grams)|
|Total Fat 0.3 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0.1 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 0.8 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 290 milligrams||8%|
|Total Carbohydrate 19 grams||6%|
|Dietary fiber 2.1 grams||8%|
|Sugar 10 grams|
|Protein 0.9 grams||1%|
|Vitamin A||1%||Vitamin C||11%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||15%|
Are Bananas Good For Breakfast?
The soluble fiber in bananas is a slow-to-digest type of fiber that keeps you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. This is why bananas are a good way to start the day. Eating a banana at breakfast can help keep you full until noon and keep away those mid-morning cravings. You’ll also get the benefits of potassium, fiber, and magnesium.
Bananas, especially if they’re less ripe, contain resistant starch that is slower to digest carb that prevents blood sugar spikes. Resistant starch also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Because bananas are acidic, you may want to drink a glass of alkaline lemon water with it to neutralize the acid.
Are Bananas Good For Hair?
Did you know that bananas are good for your hair and scalp? It’s true! They can help add moisture to your hair, making it manageable and shiny, while controlling dandruff and dry scalp. Because bananas are rich in potassium, natural oils and vitamins, they can help condition the hair and increase your hair’s elasticity to prevent split ends.
Bananas are a wonderful fruit to eat, but they also make amazing hair and skin treatments that you can apply topically.
How to Make Your Own Banana Hair and Face Mask
To make your own DIY hair and face mask, simply mix the following ingredients together in a bowl: ½ cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mashed banana. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp and wait for 30 minutes. Shampoo, rinse and repeat to wash your hair thoroughly.
The best part: This hair mask doubles as an all-natural face mask too that moisturizes and softens skin to prevent wrinkles and premature signs of aging.
Are Bananas Good For Weight Loss?
Bananas are chock full of potassium, which reduces water retention and bloating, which is one way this fruit can also contribute to weight loss.
Bananas are also a good source of fiber, with roughly 3 grams per medium sized banana. Research shows that eating a diet high in fiber can help you lose weight due to its stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels.
Fiber also helps you to feel full for longer, which may prevent overeating and snacking in between meals.
Greenish or less ripe bananas contain more resistant starch. Resistant starch is a carbohydrate that takes longer to digest and better regulates blood sugar. This type of starch actually ferments in the large intestine, promoting the growth of healthy “good bacteria” in the gut.
Resistant starch acts a lot like dietary fiber in that it helps reduce the appetite by increasing overall satiety.
Are Bananas Safe For Diabetics?
Diabetic individuals can safely consume bananas, as long as they’re eaten in controlled amounts. The fiber and resistant starch contained in this fruit can have a positive impact on blood sugar.
Bananas are relatively low on the GI scale, having a glycemic index value of 51. Foods with a low GI are recommended for diabetics because they cause blood sugar to rise gradually, rather than quickly.
Is Eating a Banana at Night Good for Sleep?
The potassium and magnesium contained in bananas help your muscles to relax. Did you know that bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you feel sleepy?
The interesting part of this amino acid is that it helps your brain produce serotonin, a chemical that promotes sleep. So if you suffer from insomnia, a banana can make a soothing midnight snack to help you relax and drift off to sleep.