The creamy succulent flesh of a ripe banana is a treat enjoyed by one and all (unless you have latex allergy) and makes for an excellent inclusion to your daily diet. Ripe bananas are whole foods, rich in essential minerals and vitamins, making them a healthy option for desserts and snacks. In fact, in many countries, especially in Asia and Africa, banana constitutes a significant part of dietary intake – not only in the form of fruit, but also as a vegetable (unripe bananas or plantains).
To answer the question pertinent to this post about – do bananas make you fat? Let’s just say that the calories you get from bananas are far healthier than the processed/junk foods, as the vitamins/minerals available in this fruit help improve your body metabolism, and also help metabolize fat from the “fat cells”, making them a fat better eating option on your weight-loss journey. A typical, medium-sized (7-8 inches long), ripe banana, when digested completely, would yield close to 90-95 calories, mostly in the form of carbohydrates, with just around 1g of protein. So bananas are a healthy source of carbohydrates, and can be eaten as a meal of its own.
How can bananas assist you in reducing weight?
Like any other food, if you eat bananas in an in-ordinate amount, you are bound to clock up your calories and if you don’t burn it off it’s going to accumulate in your body in the form of fat. So, just because banana is a fruit, does not give you’re the license to go overboard with your consumption. However, since a fruit of banana is 75% water, it does create a “filling” effect quite immediately, and usually most people feel full after consuming one or two medium sized bananas in one sitting. So, bananas are a good option for snacks, if you are looking to lose weight, because you can feel “satiated” with lesser calories due to the high water content of the fruit, as compared to eating concentrated sugary snacks or processed foods.
Bananas make for an excellent breakfast food. If you are into working out in the mornings, bananas can help refuel the electrolytes (like potassium) lost during the work outs and can also prevent any muscle cramps from taking place. Bananas usually get digested within 40 minutes, and supply the body with essential sugars in an easy manner, enabling the body to continue “detoxing” wastes accumulated in the body. The detox cycle in a body starts around 4 AM and continues till 12 PM, and eating fruits like bananas for breakfast ensures that this process of detox is not hindered.
Eating a heavy breakfast of cooked foods would cause the body to stop the detox, and focus on digestion (because cooked foods usually take close to 3-4 hours to digest fully). Ensuring a good detox ensures that there is less storage of wastes, which significantly reduces your weight when calculated over a period of a few weeks. You can read this post - how to lose weight eating fruits for more information about the benefits of fruit breakfast towards weight loss.
Unripe bananas for cooking, are they fattening?
Unripe bananas are used as vegetables and are cooked using methods like boiling, broiling, stir frying, deep frying and baking. Plantains, are basically what we can call “vegetable bananas” obtained from a particular cultivar of banana, and are specially grown to be used for cooking rather than be eaten as a fruit (though ripe plantains are consumed raw as a fruit). Plantains are a very popular meal inclusion in parts of Caribbean, North America, India and Africa. An average plantain would give as much calorie as a medium-sized potato (close to 170 calories), but is richer in dietary fiber, mineral and manganese.
You can enjoy a snack of fried plantains, made from a healthy cooking oil like sunflower oil, or banana chips and they would be far healthier than potato chips, owing to higher mineral and dietary fiber content. If the robust health of Caribbean people is any evidence of the effectiveness of the food that they eat, they serve as great ambassadors for promoting the consumption of plantains. Ripe or unripe bananas are both wholesome foods, and they won’t make you fat unless you are eating them inordinately – but as is the case with most whole-foods we don’t usually over-consume them the way we do the processed/junk foods.
Some health benefits of bananas
It behooves this post to cite to some incredible health benefits that bananas can provide you. And of course, the healthier the body the better it’s capacity to burn fat. So here is a small list of benefits you can garner from bananas
- Excellent source of vitamin C, which helps aid the body in metabolizing fat.
- Assists in cardiovascular health, and reduces symptoms of hypertension (high blood pressure), thanks to the presence of potassium as major mineral in its composition.
- Is known to improve/assist in colon health because it’s a good source of dietary fiber. It can assist with problems of constipation.
- It protects you against ulceration in stomach (owing to the presence of “protease inhibitors” in bananas) and also works to assist healing ulcers present in your digestive tract. Bananas also produce an antacid effect in the stomach.
- It improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium better and hence promotes better bone health.
- Promotes the health of your kidneys due to the presence of phenolic compounds.
All in all, bananas make for an excellent inclusion to your daily diet and can serve as a great source of assistance to your weight loss journey when eaten prudently.