It is All About the Bananas!

Just like the apple, a banana a day can keep the doctor away. The banana contains protein, fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin C, the B vitamins, folic acid, calcium, and magnesium. A small banana contains just 15 gms of carbohydrates. It is low in sodium and high in potassium. As a nourishing snack, bananas are a winner.

 A large banana also contains 602mg of potassium. That’s good news for people who are hypokalemic (low serum potassium). Having a banana a day will keep some hypokalemic’s serum potassium in target range. A normal serum potassium level is 3.5 to 5.0. Any lower or higher can have life-threatening consequences. A low potassium level can cause cardiac arrhythmias and weakness. A high potassium level (>6.0) can cause lethal arrhythmias such as ventricular tacchycardia and ventricular fibrillation and even cardiac arrest. There are some medications that increase serum potassium such as lisinopril, aldactone, and bactrim. On the other hand, there are some diuretics that will cause a loss of potassium from the body. Illnesses that result in vomiting and diarrhea can also cause hypokalemia.     

The average daily intake of potassium should be around 4000mg. Bananas are not the only food that contain potassium. We get potassium from many other food sources. Potassium-rich foods include tomatoes, raisins, oranges and orange juice, spinach, potatoes, fat-free milk and lima beans. 

So the big question is how many bananas can you safely eat each day? Most health professionals say that if you eat alot of bananas in a day, you will vomit before you experience any toxic effects. One or two bananas a day are safe (unless you are on a low potassium diet). If you are tempted to have more than two or more bananas in a day, you need to consider your overall intake of potassium for the day, your overall health, and the medications you take.


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