So this post is going to be kept pretty short but it is just a quick overview about some of the controversy surrounding bananas. I know that a lot of people cut them out of their diets as they are “filled with sugar” or lacking nutrients compared to other fruit. Even too quickly released so that they may disrupt blood sugar, or are only appropriate after sports.
I have to admit that I was once also sceptical of bananas and thought they were best left in the tropics where they belong. This couldn’t be further from the truth as bananas are not only nutritious but hold a host of other unique health benefits. A few months a go I wrote a post on resistant starch which is basically a type of carbohydrate which is not only resistant to digestion but holds a some of big benefits:
- The undigested starch helps nourish the guts lining and feeds the bacteria in the digestive system. Specifically helping colon health….
- A consistent intake resistant starch (RS) has even been shown to increase fat oxidation. This is basically due to the RS changing the order in which food is burnt. By default our bodies will burn off carbohydrates first then move on the fat and protein. When we ingest RS the dietary fat we have just eaten is first in the firing line and gets oxidised for energy before being stored as excess adipose tissue.
So going back to the banana then we will wrap things up. The banana is also a fairly low fructose fruit leaving the rest of the sugars being resistant starch, if you decide to have a unripe banana (yellow/green) which is at an edible stage you will be getting even less fructose and more RS which makes the banana almost a free food, which might explain this (Which I really do not recommend and is a bit off the wall to say the least):
So in order to reap the benefits of resistant starch how much do we need? well the answer is not much (around 20g) especially when you consider how you can get the following amounts from bananas:
- 1 Medium unripe Banana has around 12 grams
- 1 Medium ripe Banana has around 4-5 grams
Most people get around 4-8 grams of RS per day without even realising it, so if you can include one green/yellow banana in your diet per day you already have half of the 20 grams in the bank. You can refer to my previous post on Fibre for some more foods including Resistant Starch but to give you a quick idea you need to have a look at foods like (lentils, beans, artichokes, cooked then cooled potatoes and brown rice)
Add to this that the humble banana contains a good serving of Sodium, Potassium and a host of other vitamins and minerals and it seems like a no brainer for everyone to eat 1 banana a day…….