In General, best time to eat banana is in the morning during your breakfast, which means you can have it either with Oatmeal’s, Milk or with other seasonal fruits. You can expect 89 calories per 100 grams of banana you eat. So depending on your body weight, plan your calorie intake accordingly.
Obviously, how much banana you should be having totally depends on your body weight, level of activity that you do and lifestyle you follow. In general, an average individual can eat one or two bananas without any issues.
So what’s the best time to eat bananas?
I have broken down the best possible time to have bananas into 10 different scenarios. These are the best possible time to eat bananas to get maximum output.
Bananas are loaded with fast absorbing carbohydrates. Meaning the carbs in banana elevates the muscle glycogen levels, thereby helping you in doing strenuous workouts for longer duration.
So when should you consider bananas as a pre-workout meal?
The Answer to this question depends on timing. What I mean is, if you are planning to start your workout in in next 15 – 30 minutes then consider banana as a pre-workout meal. Likewise, if you are planning to start a workout after an hour from now, then consider slow absorbing carbs like Oats.
In General, Most people use protein powder supplements post workouts due to its quick acting amino acids that helps repair the muscle wear and tear.
But wait, even carbs are equally important. After a strenuous workout muscle glycogen level tends to reduce, therefore to restore the glycogen level back you should not have more than 1 or 2 bananas post workouts.
You should not take bananas if you have already taken it before your workout, because the carb intake should be also be checked.
So in a nutshell, if you have not eaten bananas before workout, then eat 1 or 2 bananas with protein powder 1 hour after the workout. This will give your body a good supply of protein followed by good quality fast absorbing carbs.
Furthermore, Bananas have a low glycemic index value of 51 (Anything below 55 is low and above is high). So when you consume bananas, it does not spike the sugar levels and insulin response exponentially. Feel free to have bananas as a post workout meal, it cannot do any harm.
One hour before or after meals
Eating one banana before\after an hour from your meal is not a bad idea at all. Having said that when deciding to eat bananas after your meals make sure you don’t forget the total calorie intake (Calorie in Meal and Bananas combined). Meaning if you are consuming low calorie meal then banana is a good addition but if you are consuming a high calorie meal, it won’t do any good instead it will add unnecessary weight. So plan it accordingly.
Coming back to why it’s good to have bananas before/after meals?
The answer is simple, bananas are high on pectin and boosts digestive enzymes, thereby easing your digestion. Furthermore, pectin in bananas binds to cholesterol in gastrointestinal tract which slows down the glucose absorption by trapping the carbs (1).
Also, when compared to other fruits bananas are high on nitric oxide, a key element which our body cannot produce on its own. Nitric oxide plays a very important role to keep our Autophagy mechanism active (2).
Note: Bananas have low amount of nitrates when compared to Vegetables such as beets and spinach. But when we compare bananas to other fruits, it has a respectable amount of Nitrates.
At Night before sleep
I keep hearing from many individuals that bananas are not good at night. Well let me tell you, that’s not true at all. In fact eating a banana with skimmed milk before going to bed acts as an excellent dinner replacement meal, especially due to limited calorie intake. A glass of skimmed milk with 1 banana will give approx. 200 calories.
Coming back to, why you should have bananas at night?
The answer is very simple, bananas contain essential amino acids known as L-Tryptophan. This L-Tryptophan gets converted into 5-HTP in brain. And then it eventually gets converted into Serotonin & Melatonin. These hormones play a key role in inducing sleep and correcting the sleeping pattern.
You may have heard about over the counter melatonin supplements for correcting sleep patterns and insomnia, but those supplements may have adverse side effects. Banana helps to increase the melatonin levels naturally, thereby helping you to improve the sleep quality.
To understand the relationship of melatonin with sleep a study was conducted amongst healthy volunteers. The results were positive, Melatonin showed positive results in preventing phase shifts from jet lag and it also showed improvements in insomnia (3).
So to sleep well simply grab a banana and get rid of insomnia.
Lastly, Bananas are loaded with Potassium and magnesium, which acts as a natural muscle relaxant hence improving sleep quality.
Quick hack: If you are trying really hard to fall asleep, simply wash the banana and boil it. Then drink that water along with honey. This will help you to induce sleep.
Make sure you are using an organic banana to do this. If you are using chemically processed banana then it will harm you instead of doing any good.
During high intensity sports
By now you already know, bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. During high intensity sports our body tends to lose potassium and magnesium through sweat, thereby bringing in fatigue.
Bananas act as an instant source of energy due to its fast absorbing carbs. You may have seen athletes consuming bananas during the high intensity sports, this is the precise reason why.
In a research conducted by Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus, it was found that bananas were not only able to provide same output as high carb sports drink but it was also able to provide cyclists with Anti-oxidants, Potassium and Vitamin B6. Furthermore Bananas also have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drink (4).
The protocol for this research was that cyclists were asked to consume either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during their 75 kilometers race.
Ending your Fast
When we fast, we tend to overeat at the time of breaking it. Since hunger is at its peak and forces us to eat until we can’t eat. This is extremely bad, Overeating right after fasting is worse than overeating in your normal time.
Your body does need some time to readjust the digestion. The reason overeating is not good when ending your fast is because, when we fast our body goes into reserve mode, which means it tries to conserve the energy at all times.
When we overeat it tries to save as much as it can, therefore resulting in unwanted weight gain. Hence, it’s advisable that when we end the fast, we end it with fresh vegetables and fruits like bananas. Eating one banana along with other variety of fruits and juices are an ideal choice to end the fast.
Don’t worry you won’t put on weight eating one or two bananas a day. There is a common misconception about bananas which make people think it will add unnecessary weight.
Loose Motion or Stomach upset
Bananas are well known for absorbing water and protecting the inner linings of your stomach. Both ripe and unripe bananas are excellent home remedy to get rid of diarrhea.
While ripe bananas are good, the one that really works well are the Green one’s (the unripe ones). Green bananas are loaded with fibrous starch known as pectin. This starch is not digested by our small intestine easily, instead it is directly passed into the colon. Therefore, it gets fermented by the bacteria which makes the stool firmer.
In a study conducted on green unripe bananas, it was found that bananas were extremely beneficial in treating and managing diarrhea in hospitalized children. To conduct this study 62 boys aged between 5-12 months were included. All of them were fed rice based diet containing 250g/L of cooked green bananas or 4g/kg of pectin. The results were excellent, around 60% children’s saw remarkable improvements and remaining others did not see any major improvements due to other underlying causes. (5)
The conclusion of this study was that green bananas and pectin can be an effective way to manage persistent diarrhea in hospitalized children and can also be used to treat children’s at home (6).
So whenever you get episodes of diarrhea, simply switch your diet to a Banana diet or a BRAT diet. This will help to heal your stomach illness much faster.
During episodes of high blood pressure
Hospitals and doctors keeps saying high sodium level causes spike in blood pressure. But no one talks about the significance of potassium in lowering the blood pressure.
In a study conducted on 3300 subjects from Dallas Heart Study, urine samples were collected for the research. The research went on and concluded that low potassium content in urine was strongly related to High Blood Pressure (7).
So when you are going through episodes of high blood pressure it’s most likely your sodium and potassium balance is not in place. Best way to control the high blood pressure in these situation is to switch to a DASH diet and increase the intake of potassium by consuming high potassium fruits such as bananas.
To conclude, if you are suffering from high blood pressure simply increase the intake of potassium and reduce the sodium intake. This can be easily done by following DASH diet and consuming high potassium vegetables and fruits such as Bananas.
Each 100 grams serving of bananas give approximately 358 grams potassium.
Get rid of hang overs
Drinking alcohol leads to dehydration and reduces the glutathione levels considerably. Thus making it harder for liver to remove the toxins (8).
Furthermore, consumption of alcohol blocks the ability of our body to retain water, thereby making it harder to keep the electrolyte balance in place.
In general, the electrolyte balance in our body especially the potassium level gets depleted post consuming alcohol. This is the precise reason why we may feel sick the next day.
Bananas are loaded with Potassium, Glutathione and other important minerals that not only helps you to restore the electrolyte balance but also keep you energized throughout the day.
So when you go through those hang over phase, it may just be the best time to eat bananas.
Common side effects of eating Bananas at wrong time
What’s wrong time for you clearly depends on the current state of your body. Having said that there are general rules that one must not forget i.e. while bananas are extremely good for health, if you eat bananas at wrong time it may give you common problems and side effects listed below.
If you don’t keep the calorie intake in check, bananas can lead to weight gain. A single 118 grams medium sized banana gives 105 calories if you add this on top of any other food it simply adds.
The best way to consume banana is without any other fillers or foods. A glass of milk with banana is a good idea but the whole process is ruined when we take in more calories apart from that.
In general, bananas are excellent for those who want to lose weight as it helps them to take calculative calories. But one must not forget that if you eat bananas and your high calorie lunch together, it won’t do any good, instead it will add more weight. So remember, bananas are good make sure you are very calculative about the calories.
Trigger Sinusitis, Cough and cold
If you are sensitive to sinus and cold, eating bananas at night can trigger symptoms such as Sinus, cold headache and migraine. So those suffering from Sinusitis and sensitive to cold should bananas after the sun sets.
Furthermore, bananas also contain Tyramine an amino acid that helps to regulate blood pressure. When this amino acid is consumed in excess it may also trigger headache and migraine pain.
By now you know that bananas are high in potassium and how it helps to reduce the blood pressure. While this is known fact that potassium intake can help to reduce blood pressure (9). What you must also be aware is that, excess consumption of potassium can trigger symptoms such as nausea, chest pain, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeats and tiredness.
A report published by Linus Pauling Oregon State University, potassium dosage of more than 18 grams can lead to a medical condition known as Hyperkalemia (10). It is a medical condition where potassium level in blood is higher than normal which can have serious side effects.
Constipation with Unripe Bananas
While we know unripe green bananas are excellent for those suffering from diarrhea. It can cause constipation to normal individuals. This is because unripe bananas contains lots of fibrous starch which cannot be digested by our small intestine. Hence it directly passes into the colon and absorbs water and makes the stool firmer, thereby causing constipation.
Thus you should only opt for unripe bananas when you go through the episodes of loose motion. Having said that ripe bananas too contains starch, therefore it’s advisable to consume ripe bananas in limited quantity.
To conclude, if you are healthy and consuming raw unripe banana, it may just be a wrong time to eat, instead opt for the ripe ones.
Commonly asked questions on Bananas
Best time to eat bananas for weight Loss
You can eat bananas anytime you want provided you keep the total calorie value of your meal in check. A single medium sized banana is worth 105 calories so the rest of your meal should be well planned if you want to lose weight.
Best time to eat bananas for weight gain
You can simply take bananas with your regular meals and you will soon see the results. Best time to eat bananas for gaining weight is at night before sleep. Meaning after you are done with your dinner you can eat bananas with a glass of milk, this will surely add weight.
While a glass of milk with banana at night alone is excellent remedy for weight loss but if you consume this after eating heavy dinner it will act as a weight gainer.
So for those who wants to lose weight must not eat anything at night except bananas and a glass of milk.
Best time to eat bananas during pregnancy
Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and contains minerals such as Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Calcium and selenium. Furthermore, it contains essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Thus consumption of bananas during pregnancy will contribute to healthy development of baby.
Also, bananas can be an excellent food if you are suffering from gas, constipation or upset stomach during pregnancy.
Lastly, pregnant women also tend to suffer from Oedema during later stages, this happens due to excess water retention. Eating bananas can also help to keep oedema in check. Coming back to best time to eat bananas during pregnancy, the answer to this question is Morning during breakfast.
Bananas work well in morning during pregnancy because it helps to get rid of that morning sickness and nauseatic feeling that pregnant mothers may get at times.
Can diabetics eat bananas?
Bananas have a glycemic index score of 51 which means it’s relatively lower as per the benchmark. Anything below 55 is considered as low and over 55 is high. So by this logic the bananas have low glycemic index score. Meaning diabetics can have this in moderate quantity.
Can people with PCOS eat bananas?
Yes, PCOS patient can have this humble fruit and enjoy all the benefits provided by it.
Can excess banana kill you?
In order to induce hyperkalemia one must eat at least 40 bananas, which too does not guarantee to induce hyperkalemia. And I have never seen anyone eating 40 bananas at once. As long as you don’t eat 40 bananas at once there is no way bananas can kill you.
Bananas are extremely good for health, feel free to eat bananas to keep enjoying your good health. Best time to eat bananas totally depends on the desired outcome i.e. weight loss, weight gain or to cure loose motion.
I personally like to eat bananas in the morning during breakfast. What time do you like to eat bananas? feel free to comment below.