If you're avoiding bananas because you think they're too high in calories for your weight-loss plan, you might want to reconsider avoiding these delicious fruits. Banana calories won't stall your efforts and they're filled with nutrients that support a healthy weight.
Bananas are nutrient-dense, giving you a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. In addition to energy, just one banana provides you with ample fiber, potassium and vitamin B6. So if you were thinking how nice it would be to bake some banana bread, go for it!
Nutrition and Calories: Large Banana
At 121 calories, one large banana is a mere 6 percent of a 2,000-calorie diet, but it also provides 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, which can help you achieve your weight-loss goals by keeping you feeling full longer.
If you're still concerned about calories, choose a smaller banana with about 90 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends 2 cups of fruits per day for women ages 19 to 30 and men ages 19 to 50 (after the age of 30, women should reduce fruit servings to 1.5 cups). Sliced up, one large banana is equal to one cup (i.e., one serving).
Read more: Is Eating a Banana a Day Healthy?
Nutrition and Calories: Medium Banana
At 105 calories, a medium banana has zero cholesterol and just 0.4 grams of fat. It contains 27 grams of carbohydrates, which is about 9 percent of the daily recommendation, and 14 grams of sugar. So if you are on a low-carb diet, there are other fruits like raspberries and watermelon that have lower amounts of sugar that you may want to opt for instead.
The National Academy of Sciences recommends women ages 19 to 50 get at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and men ages 14 to 50 get 38 grams — so one medium banana meets 12 percent of your daily needs.
Nutrition and Calories: Small Banana
One small banana contains:
- 90 calories
- 23 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of protein
- 2.6 grams of fiber
- Less than 1 gram of fat
Additionally, it contains 362 milligrams of potassium, which helps maintain the fluid balance in your body. A small banana is equal to a half cup (or a half serving) of fruit, and it will give you approximately 20 micrograms of folate and 65 international units of vitamin A.
Read more: Top 10 Health Benefits of Bananas
Other Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, an electrolyte mineral that helps balance fluids in your body, making bananas a great post-workout snack. One large banana provides 487 milligrams of potassium — over 10 percent of an adult's daily needs.
According to the American Heart Association, a high-potassium diet helps control blood pressure, especially when combined with a reduced sodium intake, because it reduces sodium's effect on the body. A large banana also provides almost 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B6, or 38 percent of an adult's daily requirement.
Getting enough vitamin B6, according to the National Library of Medicine, is key for a healthy immune system, brain function and the formation of red blood cells.
So, go get some bananas and feel reassured they can absolutely be incorporated into a healthy diet!
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Bananas, Raw"
- National Library of Medicine: "Vitamin B6 Benefit"
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: "Macronutrients"
- American Heart Association: "Potassium and High Blood Pressure"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B6"
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: "Fruit"