A very easy question you would think, surely Bananas are good for anyone, no matter your age. The short answer is Yes you should still be eating bananas as a woman in your 50’s or even a woman during or post-menopause. This is according to many respected nutritional sites.
So when does eating bananas become a problem, or how many bananas are too many, in fact, why does it seem there is a division in the dietary world surrounding the wonderfully sweet and delightful banana. In this topic, I am going to uncover some of the myths and secrets to this popular fruit.
Medical Disclaimer: Please note I am not medically trained and am not able to give health advice. In the event, you have dietary issues please speak to your Medical professional.
Why We Love Bananas & What is So Special About Them
The health benefits of this humble and colourful fruit are readily available. We know they are fibre and potassium-rich, with the added benefits of antioxidants such as Vitamin C.
Ok that makes them special (we already knew that) but what else and why do we love them so much.
Do you ever feel fuller after eating an Apple, an Orange or even a slice of pineapple, No? Banana, on the other hand, releases its energy slowly, your brain responds by feeling fuller, you feel more alert and receptive to learning, the magnesium contained within the fruit improves focus. You may have noticed, athletes, cyclists, Tennis Pros, and even studying students reaching for a banana when needing a quick pick-me-up (in the case of Olympic Sprinter Yohan Blake reportedly eats as many as 16 in a day)
The Banana has three different kinds of sugar, this is one of the reasons why some people steer clear of the Banana, because of its apparent sugar content. Glucose and Fructose (unlike refined sugar) are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and will give you an energy boost. This energy boost happens almost immediately.
The third sugar is Sucrose and this will keep your blood sugar stable. Instead of reaching for an energy drink when next working-out, try a Banana instead. There have been scientific studies to show how a cyclist eating half a banana every 15 minutes during a cycling time trial aided performance as much as an energy sports drink that is drunk at the same intervals.
A little known fact is that Bananas can help with digestion, specifically acid reflux, heartburn, certain types of ulcers; bananas are a natural antacid that will help heal many related digestion issues like Peptic ulcers. Eat it ripe and it’s potassium and fibre will assist and reduce the stomachs natural acidity. As an IBS sufferer, I have found when I am suffering from an episode a Banana will give me slight relief.
Why We Love them so much, a firm ripe banana contains a protein that is quickly broken down by the body and will release melatonin and serotonin into the bloodstream, this helps to regulate our sleep cycle, our mood and ability to deal with pain and has what can only be described as a “feel-good factor” the protein is an amino acid called Tryptophan. The liver can also use this to produce vitamin B3- (coming full circle) regulating energy metabolism. This would explain why we find the Banana one of the most enjoyable fruits, both the young and old alike, love this fruit.
Are Bananas Good for Women over 50
As mentioned above Bananas are a rich source of Potassium, why is that especially important to you now you are over 50?
As we age and move into our 50’s and 60’s the risk of heart-related problems increases. One way to help lower your risk is: Eat foods that are rich in sources of potassium, like bananas and avocados. “A recent study of women aged 50 to 70 found that those who ate the highest amounts of potassium were least likely to experience a stroke.” Accompany this with walking a little every day, keeping your weight manageable, ensures you have not only reduced the risk of heart-related problems but you will also feel happier with your life.
I recently read a blog by Home Care Assistance who also looked at the long term benefits of Bananas, and this is a snapshot. “Bananas are good for the elderly because they may relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, brighten the mood, and enhance restful sleep. In addition, bananas are typically well-tolerated by seniors who may not have an appetite if they’re living with emotional health issues.”
This is because they have the slow release protein (which once broken down in the body)
The wonderful Tryptophan. as previously mentioned is the protein which is said to induce the “feel-good factor” just like we feel when we have done some exercise or a brisk walk.
How Many Bananas Are Too Many
The BBC did a programme about bananas specifically “can 7 bananas kill you”? This is because “Grumpy Man” in an “Idiot Abroad” – Karl Pilkington – had pitched this as a topic to Ricky Gervais when Karl was looking at a bowl of 6 bananas in Ricky’s office he suggested that you never see more than 6 because 7 can kill you.
The BBC answered this query with their own research and the answer as you would expect is No, of course it wont kill you, unless you have Kidney disease.
‘But for a healthy person’, “it would be impossible to overdose on bananas,” says Collins. “You would probably need around 400 bananas a day to build up the kind of potassium levels that would cause your heart to stop beating… Bananas are not dangerous – and in fact they are, and always have been, very good for you.” – BBC – Catherine Collins – Dieticialn St Georges Hospital London.
She goes on to say that only in the event you have Kidney disease you may experience problems, like stomach cramps diarrhoea or even heart failure.
“These patients have a very low kidney function which can potentially see a build-up of harmful potassium levels in their bloodstream because they can’t get rid of the mineral when they pass urine,” she says. “So in theory it is possible for someone with kidney disease to die of a high blood potassium level if they decided to consume lots of different food types rich in the mineral.”
So in short if healthy, even diabetic, one or even two a day is not going to be a problem. Nor would 7 a day but who would?
Are Bananas Fattening
I remember long ago when I was a member of “slimming World” the consultant said it was a “Syn Free” fruit, meaning we could eat as many as we desired without any negative consequence to our weight loss journey, (caveat) provided it wasn’t smoothed or mashed. Whilst many of the group chimed in with “if I eat one a day I tend not to lose any weight” whilst another said bananas are my “guilty pleasure”
I went on to read many more conflicting articles which suggested it wise to reduce your Banana intake if you wish to lose weight because of the sugar content, especially the overripe bananas
As a rule of thumb, too much of anything is bad for you. But what do the experts and dieticians say,
“Calorie for calorie, bananas contain a lot of fiber.
One medium banana provides around 7% of your recommended daily intake, with just 105 calories.
Fibre is important for maintaining regular bowel habits and plays a vital role in digestive health
Eating large amounts of fibre has even been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diverticular disease, and some cancers.
An adequate fibre intake is also linked to reduced body weight.
One study from 2009 measured the food intake of 252 women for 20 months. The researchers found that for every extra gram of fibre the women ate per day, their body weight was around 0.55 pounds (0.25 kg) lower (15Trusted Source). Meaning – Eating bananas are actually assisting your weight loss if eaten in moderation
Scientists believe this may occur because fiber makes you feel full longer, which may help you eat fewer calories in the long term”.
I have written several blog posts around healthy eating, especially for those of us who are hitting menopause. Click here to read about The Keto Diet.
If the Keto Diet is not for you, then perhaps consider looking at Foods To Help You Live Longer, a really detailed post about what is good and an easy way to incorporate into your every day.
I personally find Bananas a luxury fruit and tend to eat no more than one a day, I still have “nagging doubt” speaking in my ear, saying “no more- bad fruit”
For this reason, I am pleased to have researched this topic and find that “nagging doubt” is wrong, deluded even.
Can Bananas Stop Diarrhoea/ Diarrhea
An “Also Asked Question on Google”, “Can bananas stop or help with diarrhoea” (UK spelling)
The research above is compelling in terms of Bananas aiding digestion. There is no firm evidence to support Bananas being solely responsible in stopping diarrhoea, but there is plenty of evidence to support the notion that Bananas are full of fibre, potassium and other benefits which are responsible for assisting and helping with digestion problems. Whilst this may not immediately stop your episode it will undoubtedly assist in rehydrating the body and helping calm the upset digestion.
In addition, it is an easy fruit to eat and more interesting than wholemeal toast. It is easy to imagine that no matter how frail your tummy or bowls are, eating a banana is manageable.
Therefore The answer to Google’s Also Asked Question is: – It Helps
Bananas are one of the most perfect fruits on our planet. Affordable, attainable, seemingly available throughout the year. They are a little piece of heaven and yet their health benefits are truly outstanding.
I have loved researching this blog because I have been a fan of the yellow fruit for many years but have only allowed myself between 2- 3 per week because I believed all this extra fruit would be both fattening and not good for my teeth or health.
I have loved proving myself wrong.
If you have made it to the end of this post I would like to thank you.
leave a comment below as to your thoughts on the humble Banana, let me know how many you eat a week. Has this post changed your mind?
NB I store mine in a Yellow Banana Bag which I found on Amazon, the bag lasts about 6 months but it really does increase the life of the banana. After 5 days the skin will change colour and looks dark but the fruit inside the skin is still perfect.
>>>>> Yellow Banana Bag <<<<<<< click on the link and it will take you directly to Amazon where you can purchase the bag I use. As an affiliate link I will earn a teeny tiny commission, but at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hey Spring Chicken
You can also find me on Youtube where I cover all things Beauty..https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxbN0H3_Yn7jGqPYM8TyYfA
Home Care Assistance – https://www.homecareassistancedesmoines.com/banana-benefits-for-seniors/
BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34225517
Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bananas-and-weight#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3