Are Bananas Good For Weight Loss Or Not? Diet Advice & Benefits
Bananas are tree fruits, native to countries in the tropics, however, they are grown, and more so eaten, all over the world. Bananas are one of the most valuable fruits, not only because of their numerous health benefits and delicious taste, but because they’re versatile, easy to take anywhere, and can help you lose weight. It’s true! Including bananas in your diet can aid in weight loss efforts when used correctly. Let’s discover some of the ways bananas play a role in weight management.
Is Banana Good For Weight Loss?
Though bananas have a higher glycemic index (GI) than other fruits, meaning they contain more sugar, they are one of the best foods you can include in your diet in moderation if you’re looking to lose weight. They do this by supplying lots of fiber to increase satiety, enhancing a healthy gut, providing fuel for pre and post workouts, promoting better sleep, and stabilizing blood sugar.
How Can Bananas Help For Weight Loss?
Building hip muscles is the best way to gain weight in your hips since the body’s main job is to make muscles. A postural lumbar gluteal artery runs through the gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus. Therefore, developing hip muscles to enhance hip flexion is crucial.
Stabilize Blood Sugar
Bananas are an ideal snack to keep blood sugar stable, and are often used in emergency situations to help raise blood sugar levels quickly for diabetics when their blood sugar drops too low. The fiber and sugar in bananas work fast to raise blood sugar and keep it steady, an essential, but perhaps unknown factor in weight management.
When our blood sugar is volatile, with frequent spikes and crashes, it can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, inflammation, and weight gain over time. When insulin can’t do its job anymore (helping to bring sugar into our cells for energy), excess sugar can end up in the bloodstream and eventually get stored in our fat cells. This is why maintaining a stable blood sugar throughout the day is critical for keeping a healthy weight. For best results in blood sugar stabilization, include bananas in your diet, but eat them after a balanced meal so that the other food slows down the sugar absorption from the banana.
Provide Fuel For Workouts
Bananas provide energy and endurance for exercise, which is why people often eat them just before a workout. Bananas contain carbohydrates, which the body uses as its main source of energy. In this way, bananas support an essential part of weight loss and weight management – exercise. No weight loss effort would be successful (or as successful as it could be) without moving your body at least a few times a week. Exercise gives us energy, however, when we don’t have a lot of energy to begin with, we don’t want to exercise, causing a vicious cycle. Eating a banana before a workout can help give you that boost of energy you need to initiate and complete a workout and help get you back on track.
Filled With Fiber But Low In Calories
Fiber is the magic word when it comes to weight loss and overall health. Americans, in particular, don’t get nearly enough fiber in their diet. If they did, they would feel and look better. One of the many things fiber does is keep us feeling fuller for longer. This is a necessary part of the weight loss process. Anyone who feels constantly hungry can tell you how difficult it is to lose weight when they’re always snacking. Bananas are a great tool to have in your weight loss toolkit because they help keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating throughout the day.
Additionally, the ratio of calories to fiber is optimal for weight loss – bananas contain way more fiber than they do calories. Just one banana gives you close to 10% of the daily recommended amount of fiber, but only a little over 100 calories in return. Furthermore, because bananas are particularly sweet, they are a great replacement for unhealthy desserts which can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Try a slice of delicious sugar-free banana bread or sliced bananas in almond butter instead of cakes and cookies.
Encourage Better Sleep
Did you know bananas can help you sleep better? Among other nutrients, bananas contain a good amount of magnesium, potassium, as well as tryptophan, all of which help the body relax and sleep more soundly. The fiber from the bananas also increases fullness, which means you’re less likely to feel hungry during the night, which could disrupt your sleep. This ties in with achieving a healthy weight because sleeping well is crucial for weight loss.
We often think of diet and exercise as the only tools for weight loss, when in reality, getting better sleep should not be overlooked either. Sleep is when your body processes information, chemicals, nutrients, and rebalances all the hormones in your body which it needs to function optimally. If you’ve ever found yourself making bad decisions or snacking on sweets after a bad night’s sleep, you’ll understand – it’s because your hormones are off balance and now your body needs to compensate. Unfortunately those bad decisions can hinder your weight loss efforts. This is why it’s important to prioritize sleep, and bananas can help you do that.
Promote A Healthy Gut
Everything starts in the gut. This phrase refers to the fact that, without a healthy gut, it’s hard to achieve any health goal, including weight loss. Bananas can help promote a healthy gut with its fiber, nutrients, and its ability to encourage beneficial bacteria growth. Bananas contain pectin, which is soothing for the GI tract. You may notice that bananas are often prescribed for many gut-related issues, including fodmap intolerance, reflux, and upset stomachs.
The fiber in the bananas helps to keep bowels regular, which is also crucial in any attempt to lose weight (toxins need to exit the body every day). Bananas also help enhance the beneficial bacteria in our gut that keep our digestion strong. This is particularly true for plantains and green (unripe) bananas which are resistant starches – they contain prebiotics, fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria. A healthy gut means an easier time losing weight.
Other Advantages Of Eating Bananas
Aside from aiding in weight loss, bananas provide a number of other health benefits that extend from the heart, to the kidneys, the brain, and beyond.
Bananas are filled with antioxidants, plant compounds that fight off free radicals that can damage cells. When cells are damaged, it can lead to a host of diseases and symptoms, not to mention weight gain and premature aging. Eating foods like bananas, which contain many antioxidants, are an excellent way to preventively manage your health.
Bananas are particularly good for kidney health due to their potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium content.
Bananas can help boost mood, by way of decreasing anxiety and depression. The tryptophan in bananas which helps enhance sleep also helps to increase serotonin levels. Vitamin B6, also found in bananas also has positive effects on how the body makes and uses serotonin.
The potassium, magnesium, and other nutrients in bananas can help lower blood pressure and decrease risk for heart disease and stroke. This is why bananas are known as one of the most heart-healthy foods.
Is It Better To Eat Unripe Or Ripe Bananas For Weight Loss?
While all bananas have benefits for weight loss, opt for green or slightly under ripe bananas. They contain a lot of fiber and serve as resistant starches, which are prebiotics. This means they feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Additionally, under ripe/green bananas have less sugar, making them the better choice for losing weight.
Healthy Banana Recipes For Weight Loss
Low Calorie Banana Oat Cookies
What you’ll need:
- 2 Bananas, very ripe
- 1 cup Gluten Free rolled oats
- 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- Optionals: chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and mix them with maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mash until smooth. Add cinnamon and oats to the bowl and mix in. Add additional ingredients if desired.
Once mixed, use a spoon to put 1 tablespoon of the batter on a baking sheet. Use your hand to form the shape into a cookie shape. Do this for each spoonful you put on the baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, take out of the oven, then let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before serving.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup of white whole wheat flour (can substitute for gluten-free flour if desired)
- 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 bananas, sliced
Whisk the yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the dry flour mixture to the wet yogurt mixture, and blend together until smooth.
On medium-low heat, heat up a large skillet or sauté pan and coat with a nonstick cooking spray. Place large spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons each) of batter into the pan.
Wait till the batter is in the pan to add three or four slices of banana directly to each pancake. Delicately press the slices into the batter.
Cook the pancakes for 3-5 minutes (the tops should begin to bubble) then flip the pancakes and cook on the other sides for 3 minutes. Wait till they get a little brown. When done, remove pancakes and put on a plate to cool. You can serve with maple syrup and additional sliced bananas.
Bananas, especially under ripe, green ones, are an excellent tool to have in your toolkit for weight loss. They provide high fiber, yet low calories, keeping you fuller longer, as well as quick sources of energy for workouts. Bananas also offer fuel for better sleep and can help stabilize blood sugar. When choosing foods to include in your diet for a healthy weight loss plan, don’t overlook the nutritious and delicious banana.
Frequently Asked Questions
The nutritional composition of unripe bananas makes them slightly more effective for weight loss than ripe ones.
Anyone with advanced kidney disease (AKD), on beta-blockers, or allergies to bananas should avoid them. Otherwise they are safe for most individuals.
Bananas can provide energy before a workout, but they can also provide nutrients for muscle recovery after a workout. You can experiment and see which time works better for you.
- Hopkinsmedicine.org. (2021). FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/fodmap-diet-what-you-need-to-know
- Eat This Not That. (2023). Greek Yogurt Archives. [online] Available at: https://www.eatthis.com/tag/greek-yogurt/
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