July 16, 2024

Comfort food isn’t always synonymous with healthfulness — but banana bread can be a delicious exception. Thanks to its star main ingredient, banana bread offers a bounty of potential health perks.

The Proven Health Benefits of Bananas

A medium-size banana offers 422 milligrams (mg) of potassium, or nearly 9 percent of the daily value (DV), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Indulging in a fresh slice of the fruit-based dessert can help you get your fix of the mineral, which may help reduce blood pressure, according to Medline Plus. Because high blood pressure is linked to a greater risk for heart disease, that’s great news for your ticker. A meta-analysis in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests eating a potassium-rich diet may reduce the risk for heart disease by 27 percent.

The USDA points out that most Americans fall short of getting the adequate intake of potassium, which is 4,700 mg per day.

But the health benefits of bananas don’t end with its potassium profile, or with the fact that the fruit is a boon to the heart. According to the USDA, that same medium-size banana offers 3 grams (g) of fiber, a nutrient that can help you lose or maintain body weight. The fiber in bananas appears to come from resistant starch. This form of fiber can help reduce appetite after eating, notes a past study.

A large banana also provides some magnesium, is a good source of vitamin C, and is rich in vitamin B6. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), magnesium plays a key role in many body functions, including blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation; vitamin C is an antioxidant that aids iron absorption; and vitamin B6 supports metabolism and immunity.

RELATED: 9 Common Questions About Bananas, Answered

More Reasons to Go Bananas for Bananas

Other things that make bananas stand out? Their convenience and versatility.

It’s easy to grab a banana and go — and they’re certainly healthier than most packaged snacks that tend to have added sugar, such as dried fruit and granola bars, notes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In the kitchen, you can also use bananas to sweeten recipes in lieu of white sugar. Fresh, homemade banana bread recipes offer proof that it’s possible. To create the most nutritious loaf possible, you’ll want to swap sugar for the naturally sweet fruit, and ditch fatty butter in favor of a healthy oil or other creative ingredients.

For some sweet inspiration, peruse this list of 12 healthy banana bread recipes that are the perfect treat for this weekend (or any day, really).

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