Best Health Benefits of Bananas

Best Health Benefits of Bananas

Rich in potassium and particular carbohydrates, banana has various virtues interesting for health.

A special antioxidant

Dopamine, a powerful water soluble antioxidant of the catecholamine family (just like that secreted by the body), has been identified in the banana of the popular commercial cultivar Musa cavendishii. Dopamine levels range from 80-560 mg per 100 g of skin and 2.5-10 mg per 100 g of pulp, even in ripe ready-to-eat bananas. [1]

Dopamine has demonstrated antioxidant activity similar to that of vitamin C, recognized as a particularly potent water-soluble antioxidant. Banana contains both dopamine and vitamin C (15 mg per 100 g of banana). It is therefore part of antioxidant foods.

Useful in preventing certain cancers?

The antioxidant power of bananas is important. Its TAC index (total antioxidant capacity) for a banana of 118 g is 1,037 μmol. What fight effectively against free radicals, unstable substances that damage other atoms by “oxidizing” contributing to the onset of several diseases and aging.

In a prospective study of 61,000 Swiss women aged 40 to 76 years, an inverse relationship between fruit consumption and the risk of kidney cancer has been demonstrated [2]. And it was among the biggest consumers of bananas that had the lowest risk of cancer. These same relationships were also observed with colorectal cancer in a smaller study of women and men a few years earlier [3]. It seems that the phenolic compounds or other antioxidants present in the banana are at the origin of this protective action.

In 2016, the famous Nurses Study associated the consumption of vegetables and fruits during adolescence and the beginning of adulthood, and in particular of bananas and apples, to a lower risk of breast cancer [3 ‘] .

According to a 2014 study, bananas contain lectins (specific proteins that bind to carbohydrates) with anti-proliferative properties, which could also explain its effects against cancer [7].

An anti-depressing fruit

The expression “to have banana” refers to the smile but it is also consistent with the virtues of this fruit. According to a survey of people prone to depression, many respondents say they feel better after eating a banana. The banana’s dopamine is probably no stranger to this phenomenon, which can also be explained by the presence of tryptophan, a substance that the body transforms into serotonin, the chemical messenger of the brain known for its relaxing effect and which causes a general well-being.

This good mood effect is reinforced by the presence of good amounts of vitamin B6 (0.5 mg per 100 g, a quarter of the recommended daily intake). Also called pyridoxine, this vitamin is, among other things, useful for the production of various mood-related neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Some studies have shown that, when consumed in high doses, it will reduce depression associated with Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

One study also showed that a diet rich in tryptophan, combined with a sufficient intake of vitamin B6, favored the production of serotonin and decreased the symptoms of depression [5].

An ally of digestion

Banana has anti-acid and anti-ulcer effects known for a long time. In rat experiments, banana ingestion prevents 75% of acid-mediated ulcers. According to Dr. Ralph Best (Aston University, Birmingham, UK) banana works by stimulating the proliferation of cells and mucus in the stomach, protecting the mucosa against inflammation. Banana extract (especially plantain, but also the “sweet” variety) could therefore protect the stomach lining against ulcers [6]. The protective effects of bananas on the stomach vary greatly depending on the variety, maturity and season.

Banana contains resistant starch (non-digestible sugar) which in the colon undergoes bacterial fermentation and is then converted to short-chain fatty acids such as butyric acid. These stimulate the absorption of liquids and salt in the colon, thus decreasing the loss of water in the stool. The short-chain fatty acids also indirectly improve the permeability of the small intestine, which also helps to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea. The short-chain fatty acids serve as food for the colon bacteria and thus help maintain good intestinal health.

Two studies were conducted in Bangladesh with babies with chronic diarrhea (boys aged 5 months to 12 months). An improvement in the symptoms of diarrhea (decreased stool number and weight, and duration of diarrhea) has been observed in children on a diet containing bananas.

Plantain contains more resistant starch than sweet banana. In addition, as the banana matures, the amount of resistant starch decreases to such an extent that only bananas that have not reached their optimum ripening stage would contain resistant starch in a significant amount.

An aid against hypertension

Banana is a fruit rich in potassium with a content of about 360 mg per 100 g. Knowing that a banana weighs about 150 g, eating one is about 540 mg of potassium.

Many studies have linked low potassium intake to increased blood pressure. [8, 9].And conversely, a sufficient intake of potassium (between 4 and 5 g / day), prevents and fights against hypertension. This helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction and stroke (stroke).

A meta-analysis conducted by WHO researchers [10], confirms previous studies: high potassium intake lowers blood pressure in people with hypertension, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. stroke.

A food of the effort

For athletes, bananas are particularly suitable because of their high carbohydrates, B vitamins, potassium and magnesium (important for good muscular work).

It contains, indeed, enough vitamins B to allow the good use of its carbohydrates. Which is appreciable for a predominantly carbohydrate food.

The energy intake of banana (about 90 kcal per 100 g, 376 kJ) is mainly due to its carbohydrates which provide more than 90% of the global energy. These carbohydrates consist, before maturation, starch, which gradually disappears, to make way for soluble sugars quickly assimilated by the muscle cells (diosides, then fructose and glucose), as well as mucilaginous substances in the last stages of evolution of the fruit.

Thus, the banana brings all the necessary energy to all physical activity as intellectual. It is then regenerative, thanks to sugars assimilable in less than two hours by the muscles of the body, thus accelerating recovery after exercise.

It is therefore an excellent snack for athletes, students and children. It can improve the breakfast of schoolchildren who lack appetite (a banana provides, depending on size, as much energy as 30 to 45 g of bread).



 [1] Kanazawa, K.; Sakakibara, H., 2000, High content of dopamine, a strong antioxidant, in ‘Cavendish’ bananaIn : Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (USA), 48, (3), p. 844-848

[2] Rashidkhani B, Lindblad P, Wolk A. Fruits, vegetables and risk of renal cell carcinoma: a prospective study of Swedish women. Int J Cancer 2005 January 20;113(3):451-5.

[3] Deneo-Pellegrini H, De Stefani E, Ronco A. Vegetables, fruits, and risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study from Uruguay. Nutr Cancer 1996;25(3):297-304.

[3’] Farvid MS, Chen WY, Michels KB3, Cho E, Willett WC, Eliassen AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2016 May 11;353:i2343. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2343.

[4] C.Gilbert et al, 1995 “Optimal physical performance in athlètes : key role of dopamine in a specific neurotransmitter/ hormonal mecanism” Mechanism of ageing and development 84 :83-102

[5] 2. Shabbir F, Patel A, Mattison C, Bose S, Krishnamohan R, Sweeney E, Sandhu S, Nel W, Rais A, Sandhu R, Ngu N, Sharma S. Effect of diet on serotonergic neurotransmission in depression. 2013 Feb;62(3):324-9

[6] Goel RK, Sairam K, Rao CV. Role of gastric antioxidant and anti-Helicobactor pylori activities in antiulcerogenic activity of plantain banana (Musa sapientum var. paradisiaca). Indian J Exp Biol 2001 July;39(7):719-22.

[6’] Dunjic BS, Svensson I, Axelson J et al. Green banana protection of gastric mucosa against experimentally induced injuries in rats. A multicomponent mechanism? Scand J Gastroenterol 1993 October;28(10):894-8.

[7] Singh SS, Devi SK, Ng TB. : Banana lectin: a brief review. Molecules. 2014 Nov 17;19(11):18817-27. doi: 10.3390/molecules191118817.

[8] Barri YM, Wingo CS. The effects of potassium depletion and supplementation on blood pressure: a clinical review; 1997 Jul: 314(1):37-40.

[9] Houston MC, Harper KJ. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium: their role in both the cause and treatment of hypertension; 2008 Jul:10(7 suppl 2):3-11.

[10] Aburto NJ, Hanson S, Gutierrez H, Hooper L, Elliott P, Cappuccio FP. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses; 2013 Apr 3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *