Bananas, One of the Most Consumed Fruits in America

Bananas are the most consumed fruit in America. On average, we each eat 27 pounds of them per year. A banana is a type of fruit that comes from a flowering plant in the genus Muca. Some countries refer to them as “plantains.” They’re a healthy, delicious and very convenient snack. This popular fruit originated in Southeast Asia but is now grown all over the world. The most common banana is the Cavendish, which is the green type most people consume once they turn yellow. For nutritional purposes, a banana is classified as a carbohydrate. When the banana is green, the carbohydrate source is more starch-like. When the banana becomes ripe and more yellow, the carbohydrate source turns into sugar (glucose).

Bananas are high in many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One medium banana, which is about 188 grams, contains a very good amount of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for many nutritional needs. The line-up includes: 8% magnesium (good for heart health), 9% potassium (good for heart health and kidney function), 10% copper, 11% vitamin C, 14% manganese, and 33% B6. It also contains 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1.3 grams of protein, 3.1 grams of fiber, and 0.4 grams of fat (good for digestion) and about 105 calories total. 

The antioxidants found in bananas include dopamine and catechins, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. Bananas are a quick, easily digested carbohydrate, so they are favored by athletes. Eating bananas has been associated with reducing muscle cramps.

Bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index (GI), with an average value of about 51, 100 being the highest. This means this fruit shouldn’t cause a major spike in blood sugar. The riper the banana, the higher its GI rank. 

This fruit can be a sweet addition to many other healthy food choices. They’re a great topping for cereal, yogurt, and in smoothies. They can also be used as a sugar substitute for baking and cooking. They are easy to find, reasonably priced, and just need to be peeled to be eaten. No need to wash them because all the pesticides are on the outside peel, which you don't eat. Ripe bananas can help satisfy a sweet tooth craving; however, be considerate of blood sugar levels if any pre-existing conditions exist. A banana can help you feel full (because of its fiber content) it can improve heart health and is a good source of energy. They are in season almost the entire year, making it easy to enjoy them often. 

Sources:

https://www.consumerreports.org/fruits-vegetables/are-bananas-good-for-you/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898027/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1395467

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8294726

12/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
Megan Johnson McCullough
Megan is an NASM Master Trainer and Instructor, professional natural bodybuilder, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist, member of Men’s Heath Fitness Council, Wellness Coach, Women’s Health Magazine Action Hero, candidate for her Doctorate, and fitness st...
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