Balance and variety are the keys to a healthy diet and eating fresh fruit is always a good choice. Bananas can be a healthy and fulfilling snack, but make sure that you eat them in moderation, says registered dietitian, Jandri Barnard.
Eating too many bananas in one day causes bloating, stomach cramps, and soft stool, Barnard cautions. She is a spokesperson for the Association of Dietetics in South Africa.
Bananas are a fruit that may be eaten by people of diverse dietary backgrounds since they are high in nutrients, energy, and vitamins. It offers several advantages that go unmentioned or overlooked, says third-year University of Johannesburg student, Mbalentle Tom (21).
“[Bananas] helps to enhance the appearance of the skin,” she says. Tom regularly enjoys her bananas with cereals like oatmeal and muesli.
‘A choir staple’
Lihle Ndulama, an Ecala artist in the Eastern Cape, tells Health For Mzansi that when he was younger, his teachers told his choir team that eating bananas helped to improve their singing voices.
“We’d be given one to eat as part of the deal. They may also help alleviate hunger, in my opinion,” he says.
“Bananas worked great for me as a chorister, and I still eat them before I go on stage to help with my vocal cords. Even though I do not consume them on a regular basis, I always keep one on my shopping list.”
For Phinda Kula, bananas are one of her favourite foods because it’s a convenient snack.
Too much of a good thing?
One to two bananas per day is considered a moderately healthy intake for most healthy adults, says Barnard.
“Bananas are a rich source of potassium, with one medium-sized banana containing 358 – 422mg of potassium,” she says.
Extreme high consumption might cause high blood levels of potassium or kidney problems.
Barnard warns that overconsumption can lead to a world of problems as the high levels of naturally occurring sugars can be tricky to navigate.
Why moderation is key
Bananas are not typically considered a high-calorie food, says Barnard. And if your banana habit is causing you to eat more calories than your body needs, it could lead to unhealthy weight gain.
According to Barnard, other lurking side-effects of an excessive intake of bananas include:
High blood sugar: Too much of a good thing can impact your health, she says. “Your blood sugar will spike, being a danger to someone with diabetes. Banana consumption is not recommended daily for diabetics. Also opt for the starchier, less ripe banana.”
Nerve damage: The overconsumption of bananas can lead to the development of hyperkalemia, which is a condition that can impair the function of nerve and muscle cells. “But your intake would need to be extremely high to be able to reach such high levels. They are rich in vitamin B6, and excess consumption can lead to nerve damage,” she says.
Constipation: Bananas are a wonder fruit against diarrhea. “They also contain the fibre pectin, which draws water from your intestines and can make you more constipated if you are dehydrated.”
Triggers migraines: “You may have migraines, as science has proven that the chemicals and nutrients in bananas can trigger this medical condition. If you are prone to migraines, rather limit your intake together with other ‘trigger’ foods.”
Aggravates asthma: “It may aggravate your asthma symptoms, as it can lead to inflammation and cause allergies. People suffering from asthma are thus advised not to include bananas in their diet.”