Is anyone else completely dependent on bananas? We eat a lot of them at our house. I use them in smoothies, in yogurt, in hot cereal, and for baking. We top them with almond butter and cinnamon. I’ve even made almond butter and banana sandwiches. And my staple pre-race breakfast, whether it’s a 5k or a marathon, is a banana with peanut butter. When I ran the Chicago marathon with my sisters and brother, we bought our own bananas and peanut butter for our hotel room!

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Bananas are great because they are cheap, healthy and can be used in so many ways. They are typically known for their potassium (they contain about 10% of our daily recommended value). The potassium in bananas helps keep your heart and nervous system healthy. Potassium is needed for muscles to work properly, which makes bananas a great snack pre- or post-workout. I have mentioned before that vitamins and minerals work together inside our bodies (which is why a varied diet is SO important!). Potassium and calcium are two that work together: potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine, which minimizes risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. This is why people who get plenty of calcium can still have bone loss. Without the potassium to keep the calcium inside the bones, their calcium intake is meaningless.

Everyone knows bananas contain potassium, but did you know they are also the best natural source of vitamin B6? Vitamin B6 is important for healthy blood and also immunity. So if you’re ever feeling a cold or flu coming on, go straight for the bananas.

Bananas are rich in dietary fiber, which is good for laxation and heart health. They also are considered prebiotics, meaning they nourish healthy bacteria (called probiotics) in the colon and stomach. Someone suffering from stomach ulcers would benefit from eating bananas.

In babies and kids, bananas can increase nutrient absorption up to 50%. Plus, babies and kids usually love bananas because they are soft and sweet. This one is a no-brainer: feed your family bananas!

Feeling down? Eat a banana. Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps our bodies produce serotonin. Serotonin has a calming effect on the brain and creates a more stable mood. Tryptophan is not produced naturally inside our bodies, and bananas are one of the best sources of this amino acid.

Some tips for eating bananas:

• As bananas ripen, antioxidant levels actually increase.

• An average banana contains about 110 calories.

• Use overly ripe bananas for baking, as they are much sweeter and softer.

• If you have a few extra bananas and are leaving town, peel them, place in plastic bag, and freeze. They’ll make a great addition to a morning smoothie!

• For all of you Minnesotans: some say that rubbing a mosquito bite with the inside of the banana skin can reduce itching and swelling.

My little sis is working as a PR/Marketing intern at Chiquita right now. She gets free bananas every Tuesday, and I imagine she has come up with some pretty creative banana recipes (like this amazing banana cake she made over Thanksgiving!). Bananas can be used in so many ways, and with all those amazing health benefits, we should all be eating them every day!


  1. ANN! Our house would not function without bananas. For husbands who don't like to eat breakfast (RYAN) they are great for slipping into briefcases in the morning...

  2. I like the bananas that are more ripe, and my husband will only eat greenish bananas. My nutritionist told me that since I have had hypoglycemia (blood sugar levels drop suddenly) in the past, I should try to eat the ones that aren't as ripe, because as they ripen they hold more sugars, and I have to try to keep my blood sugar stable without rapid falls and climbs.

  3. TKL: Your nutritionist is correct! Greener bananas can be about a 30 on the glycemic index, while yellower ones can be around 60. Anything under 50 is considered low, and over is considered higher. I prefer the greener ones when I'm eating them plain or with almond butter, but I use the yellower ones in my smoothies (more antioxidents!). People with blood sugar problems should try to eat the greener ones.

  4. Ola Ann! I will be eating lots of ripe bananas right off the banana tree while I am in Brazil. Especially now after reading your blog!
    Hugs from your Brazilian friend,