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How Many Bananas Is Too Much?

Posted in General Health 10 Apr, 2015

I'm sure you may have heard the phrase "a banana a day, keeps the cramps away", well there actually is an element of truth in that statement. Seen as beneficial to a healthy diet, bananas contain potassium; vitamins and fiber that are said to help lessen natural occurring cramps, or even prevent cramps that occur due to exercise. The main causes of cramps are dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes in the area affected. Eating a banana before hand can help in preventing this imbalance and reduce the chance of cramping.

As part of the fruit family, bananas contain helpful nutrients and minerals in particular potassium, which can benefit the body's operation and development. This fruit is essential in muscle growth and the building of proteins, it is also important in maintaining normal body development. A standard banana contains around 100 calories, which is not much considering the standard daily intake allowance, however, eating 5, 6, 7 or more bananas all add up. As the saying goes, too much of anything is not good for you, and that does not exclude something classified as healthy such as a banana.

So what happens if you do consume too many bananas?

Did you lose a tooth?

Bananas are quite sweet and sugary in nature, and although the natural sugars found in them are not as bad as the processed sugars in snacks or sweets; overdoing it can bring about the natural disadvantage of having too much sugar around the teeth. The acid contained in consuming too many bananas can also cause damage to the tooth enamel and overall dental health.

I need a lie down

Bananas contain certain carbohydrates that block other amino acids from entering the brain; this enables a 'sleep' hormone known as tryptophan to increase. Likewise this increases the levels of serotonin, which is also said to contribute to sleepiness. The relaxation of muscles caused by magnesium also found in bananas mean an excess of the fruit can bring about a sudden bout of tiredness.

Hyperkalemia? What is that?

Potassium is great for the body; too much potassium on the other hand is dangerous. Eating too many bananas can trigger hyperkalemia. This condition is known to slow down your pulse, cause irregular heartbeat and may even cause nausea. Eating more than 10 bananas in a day could take your potassium levels to a very high state putting more strain on your kidneys.

No Fat, No Protein, Great?

Bananas provide a good source of carbohydrates but no fat and very little protein. Although this may be of advantage to those looking to lose weight, everyone needs some kind of fat and protein in their diet. These are essential for the overall wellbeing of a person, and dietary fat is known to be good for mental development and wellbeing. Eating a banana or two as a snack, and not as a main meal can help if fuelling you for any exercise, but a good source of protein is necessary to rebuild torn muscles therefore bananas should not be solely relied on as a weight control meal.

In general terms, bananas are great when taken in moderation and as part of an overall healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. Eating 10 or more bananas a day may not be helpful, although everyone's body works differently and some may be able to avoid the adverse effects of potassium overload in the short term. Having a banana as part of your 'five a day' has been linked to reduced chances of asthma, cancer and diabetes, but as with all things, moderation is key.

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