In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how many bananas in a day should you eat?’ also we will dive into some potential risks of eating too many bananas.
How many bananas in a day should you eat?
It is advised to eat 2 – 3 bananas a day as a part of a healthy and balanced diet so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs.
Why are bananas so popular?
There is no doubt that bananas are one of the most popular fruits around the globe. If you have ever wondered why? Lemme help you. Bananas are convenient, versatile, relatively cheap, easily accessible, nutritious and a staple ingredient and fruit of many people living with their own unique cultures.
Banana is a ready to eat and a most affordable fruit for human consumption, which works to build good health, due to its immense nutritional and medicinal value. Bananas are believed to have originated 10,000 years ago and the first bananas are thought to have been grown in the Kuk valley of New Guinea around 8000 B.C. Later, these spread throughout Southeast Asia and South Pacific. Banana is a staple food in many countries and due to its high nutritive value has a positive effect on the health and well-being of many people. Several researchers have evidenced that bananas are an important source of health promoting phytochemicals (1).
No matter what age group you fall in there is no way you don’t find this fruit delicious. Despite being delicious, bananas are also nutritious. Following are the nutritional facts of a medium-sized banana (2).
|Medium-sized banana (118 grams)|
|Vitamin C||17% of your DV|
|Vitamin B6||22% of your DV|
|Potassium||12% of your DV|
|Magnesium||8% of your DV|
|Manganese||16% of your DV|
What are the health benefits of bananas?
Eating bananas provides the following health benefits;
Lower high blood pressure
Bananas are a source of potassium. Eating 3 bananas delivers about 422 mg of potassium. Potassium is a natural vasodilator. Meaning it dilates your vein that regulates the blood pressure and also maintains your potassium to sodium ratio that neutralizes your blood pressure.
In addition, bananas are a source of phytosterols. Because of their structural similarity with cholesterol, the plant sterols compete with cholesterol for absorption in the gut, thus lowering the blood cholesterol levels. Studies reported that a daily intake of 3 g of phytosterols results in marked reduction of LDL cholesterol levels. Various phytosterols reported in the banana peel are stigmasterol, -sitosterol, campesterol, 24-methylene cycloartenol, cycloeucalenol, and cycloartenol (2).
Bananas are a good source of fibers, both soluble and insoluble fibers. This fiber helps to regulate the speed of digestion and also keeps you full for longer periods.
Because the banana is rich in nondigestible fibers (including cellulose, hemicellulose, and alphaglucans) it can help restore normal bowel activity and help with both constipation and diarrhea. Bananas normalize the colon’s function to absorb large amounts of water for regular bowel movements. Their usefulness is due to their richness in pectin, which is water-absorbent and this gives them a bulk producing ability (3).
As previously mentioned, being a good source of fiber bananas eases your constipation and also helps to clean your gut and improve your bowel movement. High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives (3).
Improve cardiovascular health
Being fiber-rich bananas may help to improve your cardiovascular health as a fiber rich diet is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular health and coronary heart diseases.
Yellow- and orange-fleshed banana cultivars are known to be richer in trans-β-carotene content. Consumption of fruits rich in carotenoids is reported to boost immunity and reduce the risk of various diseases, such as cancer, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular problems (3).
Help create healthy cells
Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 which is associated with better production of insulin, hemoglobin and non-essential amino acids that are necessary to create healthy cells. Vitamin B6 also helps in the production of antibodies that helps in keeping many infections at bay.
Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for a healthy body as it not only prevents cold but also helps in eradicating the free radicals. Free radicals are uncharged atoms, molecules or ions that destroy the body of your healthy cell. Vitamin C helps to rebuild the immune system, increases the absorption of iron and increases the formation of blood, which makes it ideally suited for those with anemia or blood related problems (3).
Banana is known to be a happy food as it lifts your mood and helps you to get better sleep while keeping your anxiety, depression and stress at bay. This is because bananas are also a good source of magnesium that is needed to regulate your mood.
Another reason is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. Some studies show that bananas can help improve your mood whether you have the blues or are suffering from PMS (3).
For more health benefits of bananas please read here.
Is eating too many bananas good for you?
Well no. Anything that is consumed more than needed may have severe adverse effects. Some effects may not be immediately noticeable but they will be in the longer run.
Eating too many bananas can lead to weight gain, increase in sugar levels and may stimulate headaches or sleepiness. Bananas contain the amino acid tyrosine which the body converts to tyramine. This tyramine is responsible for headaches, migraines or even pain in your head. It can also affect the state of awareness influencing brain activity and bringing sleepiness. Migraine headaches may be aggravated by consumption of bananas and alcohol. Hence, consumption of bananas is not advisable with alcohol (3).
Bananas are also rich in starch and all starchy foods lead to a higher risk of tooth decay. Especially in unripe bananas, the starch content is much higher than in ripped ones.
Unripe bananas can also make you constipated as this starch dense is tough for the body to digest easily, also unripe bananas have a higher pectin value that draws out water from your intestines.
Eating only bananas may also lead to nutrient imbalance as we need 2 cups worth of fruit a day. If we are eating a large banana which is equal to 2 cups it leaves no room for other varieties of fruit. USDA recommends five servings per day of fruits to obtain most of the health benefits (2).
Too many bananas in the body means too much fiber too. This more than needed fiber may keep you bloated, feeling gassy and severe cramps too. Also, this fiber may disrupt the absorption of calcium and iron.
Therefore, moderation and good balance is the key.
Other FAQs about Banana that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered ‘how many bananas in a day should you eat?’ also we have dived into some potential risks of eating too many bananas.
Hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.
- Singh, Balwinder, et al. Bioactive compounds in banana and their associated health benefits–A review. Food Chem, 2016, 206, 1-11.
- Sidhu, Jiwan S., and Tasleem A. Zafar. Bioactive compounds in banana fruits and their health benefits. Food Qual Safe, 2018, 2, 183-188.
- Kumar, KP Sampath, et al. Traditional and medicinal uses of banana. J Pharmacog Phytochem, 2012, 1, 51-63.