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 smoothie recipes. They provide a wonderful, creamy smoothie base and their flavor complements a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, pears, apples, pineapple and more.
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 greens such as spinach or kale.
If the taste alone isn’t enough motivation to eat a banana every day, how about the many health benefits!
Banana Health Benefits
1 – Provides Energy: 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.
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: Green (unripe) bananas are low on the glycemic scale which makes it a great food for those with diabetes. (more…)
10 – Weight Loss Benefits: Bananas are a low-calorie food, 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. In fact, there is a popular “Banana Diet” that originated in Japan and recently took the internet by storm.
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 make great smoothies. Their soft, creamy texture eliminates the need for a dairy (milk or yogurt) base which allows you to reap the full detox benefits of a banana smoothie. I recommend making your smoothies with just water or natural fruit juices, whole fruits and greens. See our article on how to make a 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
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 kiwi or a few chunks of pineapple.
Ripe bananas can be frozen, and are perfect for making chilled smoothies or raw “ice cream“.
Start your day the right way with these healthy, beneficial banana smoothie recipes.
Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.