The health benefits of bananas include improved cardiovascular health, prevention of high blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels. The fiber in bananas is good for digestion, and the carbohydrates help maintain energy levels.
One banana is considered one serving, and it contains 450 milligrams of potassium but no sodium. High potassium intake combined with low sodium intake decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The potassium and fiber in bananas, along with vitamin C and vitamin B6, are all beneficial for the heart. Diets high in potassium lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
Bananas have low fat content, and the fats they contain are sterols that have a similar structure to cholesterol. This blocks the body's absorption of dietary cholesterol.
A banana has 3 grams of fiber, which regulates digestion. It has 30 grams of carbohydrates, half of which are sugar. However, the banana has a low glycemic index rating, which means that it has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
Bananas also benefit athletic performance. A study of cyclists determined that half a banana, eaten every 15 minutes, provides the same steady energy levels as a sports drink with the same amount of carbohydrates. Bananas can also prevent muscle cramps, which can be caused by low potassium levels.