Bananas are a great snack food. They come perfectly packaged in a single serving size. They taste good raw, cooked, in bread or over cereal. They have a lot of great nutritional value.
But… bananas can be hard on your body. Eating bananas comes with risks to your heart and waist line. There are even commonly prescribed medications that you should never take and then eat bananas. Bananas can even cause severe allergic reactions.
In fact, you may never eat another banana after reading this.
Not Such a Diet Food
Bananas have lots of good nutrients but they are not a diet food. Bananas are higher in calories than other fruits – at about 105 calories – and they have less fiber, so you won’t feel full as long.
A banana might be a good snack, but for calorie counters, there are better snacks out there. They are mid-level on the glycemic index, so diabetics may want to avoid them.
And you probably don’t want to eat a lot of bananas anyway!
If you have allergies to aged cheeses like blue cheese or parmesan, you may have a sensitivity to tyramine. Tyramine is naturally found in protein rich foods.
If you do eat bananas, make sure that every stringy fiber is removed. Banana peels are higher in tyramine and are a snack in some countries. If you travel, be aware of banana peels in your meals!
Bananas are full of potassium and that is good for your heart, right? Read on.
Too Much Potassium
Bananas are good for your heart in small doses. If you eat too many bananas, you can develop hyperkalemia. This means you have too much potassium in your blood.
Hyperkalemia can lead to irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, and temporary paralysis. Most people won’t eat enough bananas to get to hyperkalemia. If you have kidney disease to other diseases that come with an elevated potassium blood level or you are taking potassium supplements, you may be at risk.
Not A Good Breakfast
If you feel sleepy after your morning banana, you are feeling the effects of tryptophan. This is responsible for the after-turkey dinner sleepies.
Tryptophan slows down mental processes and reaction time. Add in the muscle relaxation from all the magnesium in bananas and you have a prescription for a great nap.
Try a banana at bedtime instead of on your morning cereal.
Make sure to brush our teeth afterwards, though. Bananas can be hard on your teeth.
Bananas and Tooth Decay
Bananas can be very healthy for teeth. The calcium and vitamin D make for stronger bones and enamel.
The problem comes from letting the starch and sugars stay on your teeth for a long time. Eating a lot of bananas can temporarily change the pH level in your mouth and this can erode enamel.
Eat a banana but make sure you brush your teeth afterwards to avoid damaging your teeth! But don’t let bananas get on your nerves…
If you eat too many bananas and are taking a lot of vitamin B6, you can damage your nerves. You need to take more than 500 milligrams of B6 to reach that level.
You’d pretty much have to eat an entire bunch of bananas in one sitting, but if you are a banana-phile, it could happen.
Can a banana be responsible for your runny nose?
People can be allergic to bananas. If you have ragweed allergies, you are probably allergic to bananas. Just handling them can bring on symptoms.
If you can’t eat avocados, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, bell pepper or potatoes without getting an itchy mouth or wheezing, you should eat bananas either.
Bananas contain proteins that are very similar to natural latex. If you are sensitive to latex, you could be sensitive to bananas as well.
Bananas May Not be Safe for Babies
A hazardous part of allergies is anaphylactic shock. It is a potentially fatal condition and requires immediate emergency care.
If you are getting ready to introduce fruit to your infant’s diet, go easy on the bananas. If your baby (or you) have trouble breathing and get lightheaded after eating a banana (or any food or medication), get help immediately.
Introduce bananas slowly and you may save a life! Or at least a stomach ache.
Get a stomach ache after a banana? There are several potential reasons for this. Make sure your bananas are ripe. Unripe bananas are starchy, and your body has to work hard to digest that much starch.
Stomach aches after a ripe banana can indicate an allergy. It may also be from a gastrointestinal disorder or infection.
You may want to talk to your doctor if after-banana stomach aches are new.
Bananas Have Serious Drug Interactions
The FDA lists four classes of drugs that you don’t want to mix with bananas.
Beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors are often proscribed for heart patients. They cause a surge of potassium in the blood stream. Eating bananas can lead to hyperkalemia.
Oxazolidine antibacterials and bananas can dangerously increase your blood pressure.
Diuretics help you remove water, sodium and chloride from your body. They are often prescribed for heart of liver problems. Mixing these with bananas can cause hyperkalemia.
Constipation and Gas
Eating unripe bananas and all that starch can stop up your system. Conversely, a nice ripe banana can get things moving again!
If you eat enough bananas, unripe or ripe, you may have a sudden attack of gas. Your body needs fiber to work properly. It just doesn’t need too much fiber all at once or if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber.
Bananas can be a very nice snack. Just keep in mind the dangers of eating bananas or feeding bananas to infants.
Don’t depend on bananas to help you lose weight. Always talk to your doctor if you are taking one of the drugs on the interaction list. And whatever you do, don’t eat too many bananas! Your body will not thank you and you may end up with a stomach ache or even a trip to the ER.