Yes, Bananas are Paleo!
Banana and Its Types
Banana is an edible fruit that grows in clusters hanging from the top of the plant and is available all year round. It is usually, curved and elongated, has a soft, sweet flesh and covered in yellow jackets. Bananas are good sources of starch depending on its cultivar.
The edible varieties of bananas fall under two species namely sweet banana and plantain banana. Sweet bananas vary in size and color. Some sweet bananas can be red, pink, purple or even black in color. The plantain ones are usually cooked and considered more like a vegetable because of its starchier qualities. Plantain bananas contain more beta carotene than the sweet variety.
Because bananas are sweet in nature, they are often used in making pancakes, breads, muffins, cookies and smoothies.
Nutritional Value of Bananas
Bananas are delicious, nutritious fruits and make a good snack. This yellow, curved fruit is packed with essential nutrients that can have benefits from digestion to heart health.
Bananas contain high amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes. They have significant amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B6 and C, folate and choline. Vitamin B6 along with other minerals helps turn macronutrients into usable energy. It is also important in maintaining brain function, supporting metabolism and balancing hormones and energy levels in the body.
A medium-sized banana contains approximately 105 calories.
Health Benefits of Bananas
Popular and inexpensive, bananas are every accessible and can be found almost everywhere. Aside from its nutrients, bananas are beneficial in many ways.
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Bananas are rich in vitamins C and antioxidants. The potent antioxidants found in bananas are dopamine and catechins. They fight against the harmful effects of oxidative stress in the body which are linked to slower aging process, healthy eyes, reduced risk of heart diseases and cancer prevention.
Fiber, potassium, vitamins B6 and C are all present in bananas and support heart health. Potassium is known to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke by acting as vasodilator. Increased potassium intake and low sodium intake is essential in maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. The water soluble fiber in bananas also lowers the risk of certain heart diseases.
Digestive Support and Weight Loss
Another benefit of fiber is that it slows down absorption of sugar which makes us feel full instantly. Fiber is a nutrient associated to weight loss and proper digestion. High fiber diets can reduce the risk of having hemorrhoids, constipation, colon cancer and other digestive problems.
Blood Sugar Levels
Pectin is a type of fiber present in bananas which can moderate levels of blood sugar. Unripe bananas are great source of resistant starch which may improve insulin sensitivity.
Aren’t Bananas High in Carbohydrates?
While it is true that banana contains high starch amounts, it is still considered as a Paleo fruit because of the nutrients that are present in it and the health benefits that they offer. Active people might not have a problem in eating bananas but for others, it can always be eaten in moderation.
Click here to know more about other fruits on the Paleo diet.
What Experts Say About Banana
“Bananas actually contain a significant amount of melatonin, enough to alter the urinary excretion of melatonin metabolites in healthy people. This may speed up onset of sleep when consumed at night..” – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Banana and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Dear Mark: Carbs at Night, Banana Breakfast, and Raw Milk Death
The Paleo Diet. Fruits & Sugars
Paleo Plan. Are Bananas Paleo?
Ultimate Paleo Guide. Are Bananas Paleo?
The Paleo Mom. Banana
Authority Nutrition. 11 Proven Benefits of Bananas
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Bananas
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photo credit: Nicholas Erwin 4 Radioactive Bananas