Risks And Health Benefits Of Eating Banana

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Risks

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as bananas should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

Dr. Peter S. Gelfand, who practices Internal Medicine in Long Beach NY, says:

“Certain medications used for heart disease and hypertension have the potential to increase potassium levels. Examples include certain beta-blockers such as Labetalol, medications that work by blocking the actions of the hormone aldosterone such as Lisinopril and Losartan, and certain diuretics like Spironolactone and Eplerenone. This is a partial list only, and you should consult with your doctor if potassium levels become a concern.”

Some people may have an allergy to bananas. If anyone with a banana allergy eats a banana, they may experience symptoms in the mouth and throat such as itching, hives, swelling and wheezing.

Bananas may trigger migraines in some people. People who often experience migraine headachesare advised to eat no more than half a banana daily.

Bananas also contain a lot of fiber. Eating too much fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

People who use beta blockers should not suddenly increase their intake of bananas.

Health benefits

Listed below are the possible health benefits associated with bananas. It is important to note that more high quality studies are required before these health benefit links are proved definitive.

Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation. 3

Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.3

Asthma

A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.

Cancer

Consuming bananas, oranges, and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. As a good source of vitaminC, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.3

In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).3

High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.3

Diabetes

Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

Digestive health

Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. They are part of an approach known as the BRAT diet; this stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can replace these lost nutrients.

Bananas can also help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.

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