For years, the internet has been ablaze with this idea that bananas make you happy because of the Tryptophan content. Today, lets put that bad boy to rest and answer if you personally, should go bananas for bananas.
Lets set the record straight for every 100gram banana you eat, you will gain approximately 0.01grams of tryptophan. Compare that with turkey or chicken and its 20 times more, compare that with sesame seed and its 30 times more and we haven’t even touched on the tryptophan big hitters.
There are however many reasons bananas are worthy of a regular nibble:
- A banana will raise Insulin levels sufficiently to send Tryptophan up to the brain where its converted into Serotonin, the mood boosting neurotransmitter, more on this here.
- At the earlier stages of ripeness, they contain Resistance Starch, a known fuel for our gut bacteria. An average sized green banana contains 38mgs of resistant starch which reduces with each stage of ripeness. The more resistant starch, the less available calories and sugar.
- As the banana ripens, those starches are replaced with sugars called Fructooligosaccharides. These are a preferred fuel for our gut bacteria and are frequently added to probiotic supplements.
- An average sized banana contains 440mgs of potassium which goes nicely towards your recommended daily intake of 3,500mgs. Please don’t eat eight bananas a day.
- They are high in Pectin, a soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but can help normalize bowel function.
Cause for Concern
If you carry a lot of weight around the midriff, the sweeter, riper, larger bananas may not be for you.
I would suggest eating bananas at stage 5 and below, if tolerable. Most supermarket sell kid sized bananas(not actually the size of a child) which in my opinion are a much nicer snack.