Bananas are not only delicious and convenient, they provide a wide range of health benefits that put them on the top of my grocery list.
Bananas are also a favorite ingredient for green smoothie recipes. They provide the perfect creamy smoothie base and their flavor complements a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, pears, apples, pineapple – really any fruit!
If you are thinking about trying a green smoothie for the first time, I recommend that you start by using bananas because they make a delicious smoothie and work well at masking the flavor of bitter, mineral rich greens such as spinach or kale.
If the taste alone isn’t enough motivation to eat a banana (or two) every day, how about the many health benefits!
Banana Health Benefits
1 – Energy Boost: Bananas provide energy through their high content of healthy carbohydrates and potassium, which makes them a perfect food for athletes and active people. Eating bananas also helps to restore the electrolyte balance in your body which is important after a strenuous workout.
Bananas are also a good source of B vitamins, which play a role in cell metabolism.
If you have an active lifestyle, you will also appreciate the perfect packaging and portability of bananas. A banana green smoothie can also be carried anywhere without the risk of bruising!
2 – Promotes Cardiovascular Health: Bananas are a rich source of potassium, a mineral that has been linked to maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Studies show that a diet rich in foods containing potassium (such as bananas) significantly lowers the risk of stroke. The fiber in bananas also help promote cardiovascular health. (more…)
3 – Antacid and Stomach Health: Bananas have a natural antacid effect which protects against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. Eating bananas helps to stimulate the cells in your stomach that compose the acid-protective lining.
Ironically, some people complain that eating bananas gives them heartburn. Suggested causes for this might be that unripe or partially-ripe bananas have sugars and starches that are not as easily digestible for some people. Possible allergies might play a role as well.
4 – Digestive/Colon Health: Bananas can provide relief for constipation and help normalize digestive function. Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid which is used by your body to produce serotonin. Serotonin plays a significant role in regulating intestinal movement and function. (more…)
5 – Balanced Mood And Brain Health: The tryptophan content of bananas, which lead to the production of serotonin, also helps regulate mood, sleep patters, muscle contraction, appetite, memory, and learning. (more…) Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6, which studies suggest may reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease. (more…)
6 – Improved Mineral/Nutrient Absorption: Bananas are a rich source of fructooligosaccharide (more…) which helps nourish helpful bacteria in your digestive tract which are responsible for aiding digestion and the production/processing of vitamins and minerals.
Bananas have been shown to play a role in the improved absorption of minerals such as calcium. Adding a banana to your fruit or green smoothie will help maximize the nutrients that are available.
7 – Promotes Kidney Health: Potassium and antioxidant phenolic compounds in bananas play a role in protecting against kidney disease and cancers.
8 – Immune System Support: Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, which plays a roll in the production of antibodies to fight off disease.
9 – Low Glycemic LOAD: While bananas are often said to have a high glycemic index, the glycemic load of a medium banana is actually 10, which is low.
Glycemic load is a better indication of how a carbohydrate effects blood glucose and overall healthfulness.
10 – Weight Loss Benefits: Bananas are a low-calorie food with about 100 or so calories in a medium fruit. The fiber content in bananas helps you feel full which can help you avoid snacking between meals. Bananas are beneficial in helping you reach your weight loss goals.
Banana Nutrition Highlights
A medium-sized banana about 7 or 8 inches long provides about 105-120 calories, about 20% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin B6, 18% DV vitamin C, 13% DV of potassium, 12% DV of dietary fiber, and 9% DV manganese.
Bananas contain many phytonutrients and antioxidants that contribute to the health benefits listed above.
Banana Smoothie Recipes
Bananas are the perfect smoothie ingredient. Their soft, creamy texture eliminates the need for a dairy (milk or yogurt) base which allows you to reap the full health benefits of a banana smoothie.
I recommend making your smoothies with just water or almond milk, whole fruits, and leafy green greens. See my guide on how to make the perfect green smoothie.
If you are new to green smoothies, or haven’t even tried one yet, I recommend the following recipe that will get you hooked on better nutrition!
And I swear you will not taste the greens at all!
- 2 whole bananas, peeled*
- 2 cups (or handfuls) of raw, baby spinach
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- Ice as needed to chill
* Feel free to use one banana and one other fruit like orange, or a cup of strawberries.
Directions: Blend on high until rich and creamy.
Your smoothie will come out bright green, but will taste like banana instead of spinach! You can also add fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, fresh kiwifruit, or a few chunks of pineapple.
Ripe bananas can be frozen, and are perfect for making chilled smoothies or dairy-free ice cream.
Start your day the right way with these healthy, beneficial banana smoothie recipes.