Are Bananas Good for People With Certain Diseases?

People all over the world use bananas in hopes of overcoming or preventing various illnesses, including but not limited to: diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and depression.


Bananas have a bad reputation in the diabetes community because they are high in carbs and natural sugars, but when you consider bananas as a whole, they’re not necessarily off limits if you have diabetes. While you should always consult your doctor when introducing a new food to your diet, the glycemic index and glycemic load of bananas suggest they can be a diabetes-friendly food, especially when paired with other foods, such as peanut butter.

Glycemic index is a number value assigned to foods based on how quickly they release glucose into the bloodstream. Foods with a GI value of under 55 are considered a low-GI food. Bananas fit the bill, as they have a GI of 51.

But knowing the glycemic index isn’t enough when it comes to fully understanding a food’s effect on blood sugar. The glycemic load is what tells you everything you need to know, which is how quickly a food will make glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it can deliver based on the portion you eat.

High-fiber foods (like bananas) are diabetes-friendly because their fiber helps keep blood sugar levels steady and promotes a healthy weight, which in turn can reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.


The Imperial College of London found that children who ate one banana a day reduced their risk of developing asthmatic symptoms by 34 percent.

Bananas are filled with antioxidants that may help clean up your immune system and reduce airway stress and tissue damage.


One study found that the consumption of fruits including bananas during a child’s early life was associated with a lower risk of leukemia.

Bananas are rich in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that may prevent oxidative damage to the DNA by destroying free radicals. Oxidative damage occurs in cells and can lead to mutations and problems such as cancer, rapid aging, autoimmune disorders, and more.

According to Japanese scientific research, a fully ripe banana produces TNF (tumor necrosis factor), which has the ability to combat abnormal, cancer-causing cells.

Ripe bananas may help act as an anti-cancer agent by stimulating the production of white blood cells.

According to the American Heart Association, potassium-rich foods (like bananas) are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, and potassium helps control it by helping to ease the tension in your blood vessel walls. Less tension equals lower blood pressure, which means lower risk of heart disease.


Bananas can help increase levels in your brain of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior, as well as cognitive, sexual, and digestive functioning.

Depression is associated with low levels of vitamin B6, which is found in bananas.

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