10 Healthy Reasons to Eat a Banana Every Day

Bananas are nature’s version of candy: they’re so naturally sweet that they make anything you pair them with taste like dessert, albeit a much healthier version of it.

When you consider the versatility, portability, affordability, and tastiness of the humble banana, it’s not exactly shocking to see that global production of the tropical fruit is at an all-time high. In fact, bananas are the most exported fresh fruit in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

But are bananas good for you?

Even with its unwavering popularity, some still avoid bananas because they’re higher in carbs and sugar than many other fruits. But here’s the thing: it’s easy to forget that your body actually needs carbs to fuel your body, and unlike processed sweet treats, a banana’s naturally occurring sugars are accompanied by many vitamins and minerals. Plus, bananas are also rich in fiber, which slows your digestion of sugar, not to mention helps keep you feeling full.

So, are bananas healthy? You bet!

🍌 BANANA NUTRITION FACTS: 105 calories, 1 g protein, <1 g fat, 26 g carbs (3 g fiber), 14 g sugar in 1 medium

10 science-backed health benefits of bananas

Bananas are packed with potassium

One medium banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium, or about 12 percent of your daily value of the mineral, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Your body needs plenty of potassium to operate normally. This electrolyte helps your muscles contract, nerves function, move nutrients into cells (and waste out of them), regulate your heartbeat, and regulate sodium in your body. So when you don’t get enough potassium, your blood pressure and kidney stone risk can increase, you may feel weak and tired, or even experience muscle cramps. (Here are other foods high in potassium.)

Bananas help keep you hydrated

How the heck can a solid food aid in hydration? Potassium plays a part here by helping regulate the balance of fluids in your body, especially the electrolytes you lose (like sodium, magnesium, calcium, and yes-potassium!) after a sweaty workout. Moderate to intense activity can cause small cellular changes in potassium, and athletes are encouraged to eat potassium rich foods to counteract these imbalances, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Bananas are good for your gut

One medium banana has 3 grams of filling fiber (about 10 percent of your daily intake). Bananas also contain prebiotics, a type of fermentable fiber that helps the good bacteria in your gut (also knowas probiotics) thrive. (Learn more about prebiotic vs. probiotic foods.) That’s a big win for your overall health, since research suggests these beneficial bugs may improve digestion, shorten the duration of your cold, and even aid in weight loss.

Bananas are the perfect pre-workout fuel

The best foods to eat before you work out are the ones that contain natural sugars (carbs) for energy, but aren’t too harsh on your stomach. Bananas check off both of those boxes, and are portable enough to throw in a gym bag. Plus, research suggests that bananas have unique compounds that can enhance athletic performance.

… and they may help boost post-workout recovery

On the flip side, bananas may be beneficial after your workout, too. One small 2018 study published in the journal PLOS One found that certain compounds and phytochemicals in bananas could play an effective role in reducing exercise-induced inflammation-which spurs muscle soreness-after a tough bout of endurance training (in this case, intense cycling).

Bananas are good for your heart

Put another point in the potassium column, because this important mineral is vital for your heart. Research shows that eating lots of potassium is associated with significantly lower blood pressure levels and a decreased risk of stroke. That’s because potassium helps flush excess heart-stressing sodium from your body through your urine, reducing the potential damage it may have on your ticker.

Bananas can replace sugar in baked goods

One of the best reasons to eat bananas is the naturally sweet taste and soft texture that makes them an ideal ingredient in many baked goods. You can’t sub in bananas for sugar in every recipe, but you sure can look for recipes that have already done that work for you.

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