Despite their very short shelf life, bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. In fact, they are the 4th most valuable crop globally and are grown in at least 107 countries. With a sweet taste and pretty near perfect natural serving size, bananas make a great snack or addition to a healthy meal. They also go great with ice cream, just sayin’.
You already know that bananas are an incredibly healthy food. They are chock full of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and B6, among other nutrients. Even the relatively high concentration of sugar (about 14 g per banana) is mitigated by the fiber, which evens out the rate at which that sugar hits your bloodstream. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of many scary diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
But when it comes to bananas, can there be too much of a good thing? Stick with us to find out what would happen if you ate two bananas every single day. The news is mostly good, but there are some surprising warnings you need to hear.
And maybe this goes without saying, but we are going to recommend that you go light on the ice cream…
1. Two Bananas – makes a big dent in your daily RDI of potassium
Potassium plays several vitals roles in our bodies. It is used by every cell you have to generate the electrical charge needed for life processes. Potassium is also involved in regulating blood pressure, steadying your heart rate, and triggering insulin release. In partnership with sodium, potassium also works to control fluid levels in your body.
Despite its importance, many of us don’t get enough potassium on a daily basis. The RDA for potassium in healthy adults is in the range of 3,500-4,700mg per day, your actual needs being determined by lifestyle and other factors. Two average-sized bananas will net you about 900 mg of potassium, which is a solid start but does not get you all the way there. Additional sources of potassium include potatoes (white and sweet), watermelon, spinach, beets, white beans, and tomato sauce.
2. Two Bananas – helps maintain a healthy blood pressure
It is a balance of sodium and potassium that your kidneys use to control blood pressure by adjusting the level of fluid stored in your body in response to external and internal demands. Unfortunately, many of us get way too much sodium in our diets and not nearly enough potassium. That can drive blood pressure up to an unhealthy level.
On average, fewer than 2% of US adults meet their daily RDI for potassium, but if you commit to eating two bananas each day, your risk of hypertension will be significantly lowered.
3. Two Bananas – lowers your cancer risk
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to lower your lifetime cancer risk because they offer the critical vitamins and minerals you need without added salt, sugar, and chemical preservatives (but watch out for pesticide residue on non-organic produce).
Bananas have the added benefit of being high in vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants around. Antioxidants are able to bind with and neutralize cancer-causing free radicals; the fiber content of bananas is also known to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer specifically.
4. Two Bananas – improves heart health
Bananas contain a lot of stuff that is especially good for your heart. For starters, the potassium – studies have shown that people who get at least 4,069 mg of potassium every day have a 49% lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease than those who get less than 1,000 mg. That’s huge!
But beyond that surprising benefit, other nutrients in bananas can benefit heart health. Fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 form a powerful little trio that work to keep your ticker strong.
5. Two Bananas – soothes an upset stomach
Bananas are very easy on your digestive system from start to finish. Potassium helps to stabilize your body’s electrolyte balance, and fiber helps moves food through the digestive tract.
Bananas contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which binds to cholesterol and moderates glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates during the digestive process. The ease with which human bodies digest bananas is why they are recommended especially for people recovering from a stomach bug.
6. Two Bananas – contain almost 30g of sugar
Bananas are pretty sweet, and two of them contain more sugar than the entire recommended daily limit for most people. But wait, that recommendation actually refers to added sugar, the type that is highly concentrated and then crammed into food where it does not exist naturally.
Natural fruit sugars, on the other hand, come with enough fiber to slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar. So when you get your sugar from fruit, your brain still gets a happy hit of serotonin but your blood sugar does not go through the roof.
7. Two Bananas – are not recommended for people with certain conditions
We have no problem recommending two bananas a day for most people. However, those who take beta blockers for heart disease need to be careful with any food containing a high level of potassium. Beta blockers raise potassium levels and may put you at dangerous levels in combination with bananas.
Bananas are also considered a medium glycemic food due to their sugar content, so diabetics may want to limit their intake.
Research indicates that a high potassium intake reduces your risk of death by any physical ailment by a solid 20%. That’s a nice healthy cushion!
So can you eat too many bananas?
Many of us could certainly stand to get more potassium in our diets. Studies have shown that a high potassium level can reduce your risk of premature death from any physical disease by 20%. Too much potassium, however, has been linked to a weakened heart muscle.