It’s no secret that the battle of the bulge rests primarily in your ability to fuel your body in healthy ways. Expanding waistlines are best controlled by a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in carbohydrates and fat. If that’s the case, then what does it mean for high-carb fruits such as bananas? We’re supposed to stay away from high-carb foods, right? Well, in the case of the modest but beloved banana, you can bet your bottom dollar that bananas are terrific for weight loss.
Bananas are chock-full of great nutrients that help reduce belly fat. When it comes to nutritional facts, a single medium banana comes with 105 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 15 grams of natural sugar and 27 grams of carbohydrates. Indeed, bananas have a much higher carb and calorie count than other fruits, but if you stick to a 5-inch portion per day, you could do your body a world of good and decrease your waistline while you’re at it. How do bananas help with weight loss? Read on to find out.
#1: They Make Fantastic Fuel for Fitness
There’s no disagreement or discord anywhere in the fitness community when it comes to bananas and fitness. Any smart weight loss plan includes regular exercise and when it comes fueling those exercises, whether before the workout or after, there’s nothing better than a banana. There are many reasons floating around, but simply said, bananas are great because they’re full of easy to digest glucose.
This kind of glucose is fantastic for giving you the energy you need for your HIIT session or spin class. If you’re including the banana in your post workout meal, it’s a great way to replenish energy stores after your sweat session while the potassium in bananas help with quick recovery. We recommend munching on a serving of banana with a protein source like nut butters or a hard-boiled egg.
#2: You Won’t Find Much Pesticides in Them
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there’s now a growing concern when it comes to pesticides and other potentially harmful residues. What’s fantastic about bananas is that they have much less pesticide residues on them compared to other wholesome produce because of their thick peels. Not only is this great news for your health, it’s also incredible for your waistline.
Did you know that pesticide consumption and weight gain are actually related? This is because pesticides are actually stored in our body’s fat stores which makes burning them much harder than usual. While we love our share of apples, peaches, and similar fruits, it’s better to swap them out for a banana due to their high pesticide residues (unless of course you’re buying organic).
#3: Give Your Metabolism A Banana Boost and Stay Full Longer
While it’s true that bananas are at their sweetest and most delicious when they’re fully ripened, there’s still tons of benefits to be enjoyed when you munch on your bananas while they’re still green. Before bananas ripen, they’re full of resistant starch, which means that it takes much longer for your stomach do work its magic to digest it. This almost means that you’ll stay fuller for longer, which is great if you’re trying to reduce your caloric intake per day.
Since it unripe bananas feed healthy gut bacteria, it also brings about higher efficiency of fat oxidation. There’s science to back this up too, as some studies have concluded that switching out just 5 percent of your daily carbs with resistant starches can help you burn up to 30 percent more fat after a meal. Now, it’s true that while under ripe, bananas can be bitter, so you try adding it to a smoothie or eat it with other fruits and veggies to improve the flavor.
#4: Fill Up on Fiber
Another exceptional benefit to eating bananas is that they are very high in fiber. In fact, just one serving gives you 12% of your daily recommended intake. As we’re sure you’re all aware, fiber is very important for the maintenance of regular bowel movements and is also crucial to keeping your digestive system healthy.
If you need more reasons to eat fiber, the medical community has announced time and time again that eating a lot of fiber reduces your risk for diverticular and heart disease as well as certain kinds of cancer. Ample fiber intake is also good for weight loss as a whole.
#5: Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Stable
Did you know that bananas have a low glycemic index? Depending on the level of ripeness, a banana can score anywhere between 42 to 62 when it comes to its glycemic index but are generally known to release their sugars slowly. Because of this, they actually help control your blood sugar levels, which will in turn reduce cravings and potentially help with weight loss. As a rule of thumb, the glycemic index of bananas will lower as they ripen, so if you want a banana on the lower end of the spectrum, make sure to pick one that’s ripe.
#6: Beat the Bloat
If you’re always walking around feeling bloated, then you may want to reach for a banana. Banana is a great source of prebiotic fiber, which means that noshing on one can help improve your digestion and feed the healthy gut bacteria living in our intestines. Additionally, bananas are well known to be a great source of potassium, which is great for reducing water retention.
Research is in favor of this too as one study concluded that women who consumed 2 small bananas a day as a pre-meal snack for 2 months were able to reduce their bloating by 50 percent. For those who decide to try this out on their own, make sure that you reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake in other areas of your diet since bananas are naturally high in these. You can say goodbye to bloat in a matter of months.