5 Reasons Bananas are Better Than You Think

By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

In our current health conscience climate, sugar is the enemy and veggies are king.  While added sugars, refined sugars and too much all together can certainly be damaging to health like increased risk of obesity, diabetes and even linked with increased risk of certain types of cancers, natural sugars in fruit aren’t the same story. Bananas are often blamed for many things –  namely having too much sugar and being constipating.  Often, they’re avoided or consumed as a guilty pleasure.

But bananas are better than you think.  They actually contain important nutrients and can absolutely fit in a well-balanced, plant-based diet.   Let’s take a closer look at this staple that we love and hate. Here are the top 5 reasons bananas still rule.

  1. Bananas are a good source of potassium.
    A medium banana contains about 10% of your daily potassium requirement. Potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables, is important for helping to keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Potassium is an electrolyte and essential to consume when exercising and when you’re on a juice-only Reboot.
  2. Bananas are a good source of fiber.
    Increasing fiber intake is helpful for many aspects of wellness, including appetite and weight control, protection against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer risk, as well as promoting bowel health and regularity.  One medium banana has 3 grams of fiber, that’s 20% of your daily requirements.
  3. Bananas can boast their content of Resistant Starch.
    Resistant starch is a type of fiber that is now being studied for its importance in keeping our “good” bacteria or microbiome happy and healthy in our gut.  A banana on the greener or less ripe side will have more resistant starch than one that’s very ripe.  Prebiotics like the fibers found in bananas, support your microbiome, and may in turn help reduce inflammation, support the immune system, and reduce the risk of developing food allergies.
  4. They’re delicious!
    Creamy, rich and decadent without being calorie-laden and weight-loss sabotaging.  One banana contains about 100-120 calories and makes for an excellent addition to smoothies, desserts and can even be a substitute for ice cream that is oh so dreamy.
  5. You Can Blend with Your Juice
    While you can’t add a banana to your juicer (don’t try that at home folks, they will clog your machine!), they are a great addition to a juice when you add them both to a blender. Some people prefer this to enjoy a different texture, flavor and nutrient profile for a healthy meal replacement or snack.

Try These Delicious Banana-Based Recipes:

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Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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