How Many Bananas Should I Eat A Day For Potassium

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How Many Bananas Should I Eat A Day For Potassium? The question of how many bananas should i eat a day for potassium is one of the most frequently asked questions. The answer differs based on your age, gender, and level of activity so there is no cut and dry answer. Since bananas do contain potassium but they also contain more carbs than most individuals are looking to consume

in a single snack, that means there are other foods out there that can provide the same amount of potassium content in less carbs. Bananas are a great source of potassium, but how many bananas should you eat a day for potassium? It depends on your weight, notes Healthline. For example, if you weigh 173 pounds and eat two bananas, that equals 1,092 milligrams of potassium. The RDA

for men is 3,500 milligrams per day. Are you aware of the numerous health benefits that come with having an adequate amount of potassium in your system? Although we hear a lot about magnesium and sodium, potassium is one of the more important minerals to our diet and lifestyle. Potassium is a mineral that is fundamental for the proper functioning of all your organs and for maintaining good heart health.

How Many Bananas Should I Eat A Day For Potassium

You may have seen the phrase “how many bananas to eat a day for potassium” online or in an ad somewhere. This seemingly simple question is actually not as straight forward as you might think. In this article, I’ll go over the different factors we have to take into account before we can figure out the answer to this question. When it comes to potassium rich foods, which foods have the most potassium per serving? Bananas are probably at the top of the list (along with avocados), but how much banana do you need to eat each day to get enough potassium?

Sliced bananas and shape of hearts

There’s no harm in eating a banana each day.

Bananas are sweet and satisfying, and the perfect food when you need a little boost of easily digestible energy. However, eating too many bananas isn’t healthy. It could cause weight gain and an imbalance in your nutrients.

Tip

Eating too many bananas can lead to weight gain and nutrient imbalances.

Calories in Bananas

One medium banana contains 105 calories, according to the USDA. That’s not a lot of calories if you only eat one. However, if you eat more than one in a day, those calories can really add up.

For example, eating five bananas a day would amount to 525 extra calories. If you eat 10 bananas a day, that’s an extra 1,050 calories. Depending on what other foods you eat, too many bananas could cause you to exceed your calorie needs for the day.

How Many Calories You Need

To put in perspective what eating five bananas a day could do to your waistline, it’s helpful to know how many total calories you should be consuming. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average moderately active woman between the ages of 26 and 50 needs 2,000 calories per day. Moderately active men in the same age range need 2,400 to 2,600 calories daily.

If a 35-year-old woman ate five bananas each day, that would make up 26 percent of her daily calorie needs. Eating 10 bananas a day would provide more than half her calories.

Calorie Surplus and Weight Gain

Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day to support physiological function, such as digestion and respiration, as well as the physical activity you engage in each day. Any calories that your body doesn’t need, it stores as fat. Over time, your fat stores increase, which is what causes weight gain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of fat. Theoretically, that means that if you eat 3,500 calories above what your body needs for energy, you’ll gain a pound of fat. Eating 500 extra calories from bananas each day could cause you to gain a pound of fat each week.

Sugar in Bananas

Fruit contains natural sugars from fructose, sucrose and glucose. One medium banana contains almost 15 grams of sugar, each gram of which contains 4 calories. That means that the sugars in a banana constitute more than half of the fruit’s total calories.

The sugar in fruit isn’t necessarily bad; it’s certainly not as unhealthy for you as the processed sugar in sweets and soda. Fruit comes packed with other nutrients that offset the sugars and protect your health. But eating too much of it isn’t good for you.

Bananas and Blood Sugar

Bananas and other tropical fruits, such as pineapples, contain more sugars and carbohydrates than other fruits. This means they are not the best choice for blood sugar control, which is especially important for diabetics.

Because bananas vary greatly in size, it’s also hard to gauge how many carbs you’re eating. An extra-large banana has 35 grams of carbs and almost 20 grams of sugar.

If you have problems controlling your blood sugar, it’s all the more important to stick to a recommended serving size. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should stick to a serving of banana containing no more than 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Crowding Out Other Healthy Foods

Let’s say you didn’t eat more calories than you need; instead, you cut out other foods to fit five bananas into your daily diet. For example, instead of eating chicken breast, brown rice and spinach with olive oil for dinner, you eat bananas instead. Doing this every once in a while isn’t going to make a big difference in your nutrient intake. However, doing it every day could.

Bananas contain scant amounts of protein and fat, both of which you need in a healthy diet. The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein each day, and 20 to 35 percent of the diet should be comprised of fats, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

You need adequate protein for building muscles and other tissues, and for immune system health. Fat, especially heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are crucial for nutrient absorption and hormone production. If you replace other healthy foods, such as lean protein and plant fats, with bananas, you may miss out on the important macronutrients you need for good health.

Recommended Potassium intake

The recommended potassium intake is between 4,700 mg to 5,700 mg per day. This value of amount is established by the Institute of Medicine (US). Raising your potassium levels can help to lower bowel cancer. Increase potassium intake by reducing the amount of processed foods you eat and increase consumption of natural foods that contain sources of potassium, such as fruit, vegetables, yogurt and beans.

An adequate intake of potassium is 3,400 milligrams (mg) per day for healthy adult males and 2,600 mg per day for healthy adult females.

The table below shows specific recommendations for different age groups.

AgeMaleFemale
0–6 months400 mg/day400 mg/day
7–12 months860 mg/day860 mg/day
1–3 years2,000 mg/day2,000 mg/day
4–8 years2,300 mg/day2,300 mg/day
9–13 years2,500 mg/day2,300 mg/day
14–18 years3,000 mg/day2,300 mg/day
19+ years3,400 mg/day2,600 mg/day

The adequate intake during pregnancy is 2,900 mg, and it is 2,800 mg while breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

A person should aim to get their potassium from a healthy, balanced diet that provides a range of vitamins and minerals. In some circumstances, a doctor may recommend supplements.

Recommended Daily Allowances

Although new research periodically results in slight changes to the the recommendations, the National Institutes of Health recommend that all adults consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. Nursing women require 5,100 milligrams daily for optimal health, because a portion of their own consumption goes to their infant. Infants and children up to the age of 13 require between 400 and 3,800 milligrams depending on their age and weight. There are two ways to fulfill your recommended daily allowance: by regularly eating plenty of potassium-rich foods or by taking a potassium supplement.

What is the nutritional value of bananas?

Bananas are rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic acid
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Copper

A medium-sized (about 118 grams) of fresh banana contains:

  • 105 calories
  • 27 grams of carbs
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 17% of the daily value of vitamin C
  • 22% of the daily value of vitamin B6
  • 12% of the daily value of potassium
  • 16% of the daily value of manganese
  • 8% of the daily value of magnesium

These micronutrients reduce stress, inflammation and irritation, as well as the risk of chronic illnesses.

Eating Too Many Bananas Can’t Kill You

Maybe you heard a rumor that eating more than six bananas can kill you. This urban legend comes from the TV series “An Idiot Abroad,” starring Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington. In one episode, Pilkington tells Gervais, “If you eat more than six, it can kill you,” apparently as an explanation of why bananas aren’t sold in bunches greater than six.

The alleged cause of death is potassium poisoning. Bananas are a rich source of the mineral, with one medium fruit containing 422 milligrams. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, adults need 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day, so you’d have to eat more than 10 bananas just to get to the recommended daily intake.

However, you’d have to consume much more potassium than that to risk potassium poisoning. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that ingesting 18 grams or more of potassium at one time could cause dangerously high blood levels of potassium, but that would require consuming 171 medium bananas in one sitting.

You’ll be supporting your gut health.

banana cut up

Now, more than ever before, we are seeing the importance of gut health on overall wellbeing. There are many strategies to best eat for your microbiome, but it can start with a banana. According to a 2017 study review in Nutrition Bulletin, bananas contain resistant starch, which works to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids—essential for gut health. So, we can thank bananas for stabilizing our gut and providing nutrients for our microbiome.

You may lose weight.

cutting banana

A benefit that never goes under-appreciated, eating bananas daily can help us reach our weight loss goals. Packed with fiber and protein, bananas will keep you fuller for longer, despite being just over 100 calories a piece. They even made Healthline’s list of the 20 Most Weight-Loss-Friendly Foods on The Planet. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure to pick up a bunch.

You can improve your skin.

bananas

When you think of foods that improve your skin, you probably think of salmon, avocados, or maybe walnuts—but bananas can be a game-changer when it comes to skin health. It’s all due to the vitamins and minerals in bananas, specifically the manganese that boosts collagen levels. No matter what your skin difficulties are—acne, wrinkles, dry skin—eating a banana a day can help. Healthline even suggests a banana face mask could help to do the trick, but I think we’ll stick with eating our bananas instead.

You’ll improve your energy level.

banana workout

Especially when eaten before or after a workout, bananas can be instrumental in boosting your energy levels and keeping you from feeling fatigued throughout the day. The results from a PLOS One 2012 study on male athletes found that those who refueled with a sports drink every fifteen minutes as opposed to a banana and water performed worse overall in long-distance cycling races. Therefore, there was a direct correlation between eating a banana and increasing energy levels on performance.

You’ll get a boost of potassium, which supports heart health.

banana slices

Bananas are known for their potassium, but did you know that potassium can help to strengthen your heart? Well it absolutely can—so eating a banana a day can lead to a healthy heart. Most people do not consume enough potassium in their daily diet, which often can have a direct impact on blood pressure control and other components of heart health. Additionally, Healthline explains that a potassium-rich diet—AKA eating a banana every day—can lower your risk of heart disease by 27%. So it’s time to add this fruit favorite into your daily routine.

You will enhance your vision (both during the day and at night).

banana and apples

No, we’re not talking about carrots. According to the National Institute of Health, bananas contain Vitamin A, which works to do three things, protect your eyes, maintain normal vision, and improve vision at night. So there’s no need to overdo it with your carrot consumption and risk your skin turning orange. Instead, the move is definitely to stick with a banana a day because not only does it enhance your vision, but it has so many other health benefits too.

Side Effects of Eating a Banana Every Day

You could lose weight.

banana-and-nut-butter

One effect of eating bananas on a regular basis could be that the number on your scale starts to go down. This is because of the protein and fiber-rich nature of bananas, which can leave you feeling full for a longer period and make you less likely to snack.

You may fall asleep faster.

banana nut oatmeal

Tryptophan, an amino acid that can end up making you feel sleepy, can be found in bananas, which is why eating a banana at the end of the day can get you feeling ready for bed.

In addition to tryptophan, bananas also contain magnesium and potassium, both of which have been found to act as muscle relaxants, and in turn, could possibly help ease you into sleep.

Your gut health could improve.

banana in hand

An unhealthy gut can lead to various health issues throughout your body, so working on balancing your microbiome should be a top priority. Consuming bananas could be a great way to improve your gut health. A 2017 study review in Nutrition Bulletin revealed that bananas contain resistant starch, which can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, AKA essentials for better gut health.

You may have a lower risk of developing kidney cancer.

yogurt with banana slices

Due to the high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds found in bananas, the popular yellow fruit may be able help you lower your risk just by eating them. According to a Swedish study, women who ate four to six bananas a week were able to cut their risk of developing kidney cancer in half. That’s definitely a good reason to add bananas to your grocery list!

You may have more energy.

banana milkshake

Eating a banana each day will not only keep you from feeling fatigued, but it could also improve your athletic performance. A PLOS One 2012 study found a direct correlation between eating a banana and increased energy levels in male athletes who were competing in long-distance cycling races.

Your memory may be enhanced.

Mashed banana sugar substitute

Bet you never realized that eating a banana could improve your memory. According to the BCC, B vitamins give bananas the power to better support memory function, as well as help protect other aspects of the brain.

Studies have also found that students who eat bananas often perform better on exams, and some even learn more efficiently.

Your skin may see some improvement.

Woman peeling banana

We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our skin health, and apparently, eating more bananas could be the best place to start. There are many vitamins and minerals in bananas, but manganese, in particular, tends to work to boost the body’s collagen levels. According to Harvard Health, having better collagen levels can lead to more repaired skin, so everything from acne to wrinkles to dry skin may begin to clear after incorporating more bananas into your diet. 

Your risk of anemia may be lowered.

banana cut up

According to the Cleveland Clinic, anemia affects roughly 30% of the population, or 2 billion people globally. The symptoms can range from dizziness, headaches, and a fast heartbeat, among many others.

The iron content in bananas is very high and has been seen to boost the body’s overall levels. Thus, bananas can help counteract the possible effects of anemia. (Some other iron-rich foods that work to fight iron deficiencies include black beans and salmon.)

Your heart health can improve.

The main function of potassium in the body is to regulate muscle movement, and the most important muscle in your whole body is your heart. Considering most people do not consume enough potassium in their daily diet, eating a banana a day could be essential to regulating your blood pressure and other aspects of heart health.

In fact, a study revealed that a potassium-rich diet—especially one that involves lots of bananas—can help lower your risk of heart disease by 27%. If you’re not already including bananas in your diet, this may be a sign for you to start!

You may feel less depressed.

Bananas on a tray

Did you ever think that your morning banana could be the reason for your happy mood? Well, it turns out it might be playing an important role in the matter. Once ingested, the tryptophan (amino acid associated with sleepiness) in bananas can also be converted directly into serotonin in the body. The additional serotonin from bananas could make you feel less depressed, and thus, boost your mood and make you feel happier.

Health Benefits Of Potassium

If you’re here to learn about the health benefits of Potassium, you’ve come to the right place. You have potassium when your kidneys are working normally. Potassium is an essential mineral that affects numerous functions in the body including regulation of blood pressure, transmission of nerve impulses, and activation of much needed enzymes in cell metabolism. However, if you are suffering from GI bleeding, nephrotic syndrome, kidney disease, adrenal gland disorders or rhabdomyolysis; then there’s a big chance that you’ll be lacking in potassium.

1. Stimulates Neural Activity

It plays an important role in keeping brain function at a normal level. High levels of potassium allow more oxygen to reach the brain, thereby stimulating neural activity and increasing cognitive function. There is a good reason why people call bananas brain food; they contain impressively high levels of this mineral.

It is of great importance in preventing the occurrence of stroke in the human brain. Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and Kay-Tee Shaw, M. Sc., through their research, found that a high intake of potassium from food sources may protect against stroke-associated death. It is no secret that people at high risk for this tragic condition are often found to be deficient in this essential nutrient. Since it acts as a vasodilator, the blood vessels relax throughout the body when a proper amount of this mineral is consumed. This means that blood flows more freely and is less likely to clot and break off to cause strokes. 

2. Stabilizes Blood Sugar

Studies suggest that lower levels of potassium are associated with a higher risk of diabetes. A study published by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, found a link between high levels of insulin/glucose and low levels of potassium in people who were otherwise considered to be healthy. This is also why those suffering from diabetes are encouraged to keep their potassium levels normal, to reduce the chances of unpredictable spikes and plunges in their glucose and insulin levels by stabilizing the blood sugar levels throughout the body. Doctors consider low levels of potassium with high levels of insulin as characteristics of developing diabetes. 

3. Reduces Muscle Disorders

A sufficient concentration of this mineral is required for the regular contraction and relaxation of muscles. Most of the potassium ions in the human body are located in the muscle cells. It maintains optimal muscle and nerve function and helps keep our reflexes fast because it stimulates the neural connectivity of muscles and the brain

4. Prevents Cramps

Muscle cramps are a common result of low levels of potassium in the blood, a condition called hypokalemia (source: Journal of Athletic Training). If you consume a banana every day, you can easily prevent muscle cramps because bananas have rich potassium content. 

5. Enhances Bone Health

The benefits of potassium even extend to improving the health of your bones. There are certain qualities of this mineral that neutralize various acids in the body, which helps in retaining and preserving calcium, making it accessible to use for bone strength and durability. Furthermore, a study at the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center says that eating fruits and vegetables having high levels of this mineral results in higher mineral density in bones, further strengthening and prolonging their life. 

6. Regulates Neural Function

Potassium channels play a key role in maintaining the electrical conductivity of the brain and dramatically affecting the brain function. It is also involved in higher brain function like memory and learning. In addition to this, ailments like epilepsy are related to the dysfunction of potassium channels that can occur through its deficiency. There are potassium currents that play a major role in mammalian neurons. These channels are interconnected with a vast array of neural function and can help moderate and regulate electrical currents throughout the body.

7. Stabilizes Blood Pressure

Potassium is helpful in reversing the role of sodium in unbalancing normal blood pressure, as researched by Cappuccio Francesco P et al. published in the Journal of Hypertension. Thus, it acts as a vital component that maintains the normality of blood pressure in the human body. This further reduces the risk of heart diseases and hypertension. Regulation of blood pressure is one of the most important functions of this powerful mineral. As mentioned earlier, it has vasodilation properties that work to relieve the tension of blood vessels, which is one of the main causes of high blood pressure.

8. Strengthens Muscles

One of the useful benefits of potassium is its role in ensuring the proper growth of muscle tissues and the utilization of energy released during metabolism, which adds significantly to muscular strength. The muscles, including those all-important cardiac muscles, are prone to paralysis due to a deficiency of potassium in a person’s diet.

Stimulating cell growth and providing the metabolic energy to do so is a vital function of potassium and muscular health would be compromised without it. Also, without the contraction and relaxation that potassium allows muscles to perform, exercise and additional muscle training would be impossible.

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