Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bananas Increase Inflammation

Bananas are commonly considered to be a healthy food. They are a good source of potassium, fiber and some vitamins. However, bananas are rich in simple sugars and have a high glycemic index, which is a rating system that reflects how much insulin is produced after you eat a particular food. High glycemic foods such as bananas tend to promote inflammatory reactions in the body. If you have a chronic inflammatory condition such as arthritis, you may want to limit your consumption of bananas and adopt a more anti-inflammatory diet by consuming other fruits.


Inflammation is a natural reaction by your body to send lymph fluid and specialized immunity cells to areas that are injured or “invaded” by microorganisms or foreign material. Inflammation is necessary for wound healing and to fight infection, although the chemicals that trigger inflammation can become unbalanced. For example, excessive amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins and C-reactive protein are produced in response to certain dietary factors, which promote your body's inflammatory response, according to “Nutrition and Wound Healing: A Vital Role in Wound Management.” Chronic inflammation negatively affects your health and contributes to a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, allergies, premature aging and autoimmune disorders, among others.

Properties of Bananas

Bananas are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and they are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and B-6, potassium and manganese, according to “The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts.” That’s the good news. However, over 90 percent of the calories in bananas are derived from simple carbohydrates, which cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly and promote sugar attachment to collagen in a process called glycosylation, a pro-inflammatory reaction. Thus, bananas have a relatively high glycemic rating, which is one factor that contributes to inflammation.

Inflammation Factors

There are a number of inflammation factors in addition to high glycemic index ratings. For example, foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fat and artificial sugar are also pro-inflammatory. Consequently, most meats, dairy products and baked goods also promote inflammation in your body. Overall, bananas have an inflammation factor rating that is considered moderately inflammatory, according to “Contemporary Nutrition: Functional Approach.” The inflammatory impact on your body is related to how many bananas you consume, your body weight, the functioning of your pancreas and your overall dietary habits.


If you have a chronic inflammatory condition, you should consider limiting foods that promote inflammation and consume more foods that inhibit inflammation. In addition to bananas, white bread, pasta, white rice, potatoes, meats, cheeses, corn and mangoes increase inflammation in your body, whereas whole grains, pomegranate, pineapple, apples, berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, green beans and spinach tend to reduce inflammation. Talk to a rheumatologist about how dietary factors can influence arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

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