A straight-up banana is yummy and all, but blending it into a banana shake? Game changer. This fruit’s rich, creamy texture can take your smoothies to the next level.
So what are the banana shake benefits worth sippin’ on? Drinking up some banana goodness offers a bunch of nutrients and may help:
- weight management
- muscle cramps
- skin health
Here are the deets on banana shake benefits, plus ways to make them delicious and nutritious.
Banana shakes have some pretty bangin’ health perks. While not a completely faultless food choice, they can def play a role in a balanced diet.
Here’s a breakdown of banana shakes’ best benefits.
Unlike chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, or a bagel, every bite of a banana is packed with nutrients.
1 medium banana contains:
- about 105 calories
- 27 grams carbs
- 14 grams sugar
- 88 grams water
- 10 milligrams vitamin C
- 422 milligrams potassium
- 3 grams fiber
But wait, there’s more! Bananas boast a decent dose of vitamin B6 and magnesium. They also replenish electrolytes and contain complex carbs that can keep your gut health on fleek. Plus, they’re packed with potassium which helps flush out extra sodium in pee.
So, all in all, bananas are great for your cardiovascular and digestive health.
P.S. When you add milk to the mix, you get even more vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
Weight gain support
Banana shakes are a great way to hit your weight gain goals. They have lots of vital nutrients and are fairly calorie-dense for a fruit.
For the best results, add a banana to your regular smoothie. A healthy fat like almond butter can take it up a notch. Coupled with strength training, this well-rounded snack will have you on your way to a healthier bod in no time.
Weight loss aid
How are banana shakes an effective way to gain and lose weight you ask? Well…
It all depends on the rest of your diet and exercise routine. Since bananas are rich in fiber (about 3 grams each), they can help you feel fuller longer. When you keep the munchies at bay, you may consume less and lose weight (the sustainable way).
Pro tip: Resist the urge to add sugary stuff to your smoothies. Milk or a milk substitute, a banana, and some ice is all you need for a 10/10 banana shake experience.
Bananas are rich in complex carbs which your bod absorbs and digests more slowly. Since they have a lower glycemic index than simple carbs (sorry French fries), they can boost muscle glycogen stores and potassium. This can help prevent muscle cramps.
They also pump a steady stream of glucose in your body, which can give you the energy you need to make it through that killer workout.
A night spent nursing a glass (or bottle) of wine can easily lead to a splitting headache and a sad stomach the next day. But before you down some late night pizza in an attempt to ease your hangover, consider noshing on some nanners.
Alcohol causes you to pee more and prevents production of certain hormones that help your body retain water. This can lead to the loss of electrolytes like potassium, which banana shakes are rich in.
Healthy skin fuel
Oranges get all the credit, but bananas also contain vitamin C. This vitamin plays a key role in the body’s natural collagen production. Collagen can help heal skin damage, keep skin hydrated, and may even reduce wrinkles.
So, you want clearer, healthier skin, a banana shake here and there just might help.
While bananas are generally OK for your health, shakes might have some potential pitfalls. Here’s the lowdown.
Less filling than whole bananas
In a research review, people who ate a diet rich in dietary fiber from fruits and veggies reaped more benefits than those who didn’t. Eating whole fruit, even in blended form is still a good source of whole fruit, but it does change things.
A downside to blended fruit like bananas is it’s easy to consume more of it at a faster pace than eating whole fruit (no chewing required). But because chewing increases satiety, blended fruit is not as filling as consuming whole fruit.
Fruit fiber may also be disrupted when blended. But this effect is controversial, and we just don’t know for sure how the fiber changes when blended.
Get that fiber
According to a research review, for optimal health, you should get about 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories on the daily.
But the same review above showed that as of RN, only about 6 percent of vagina owners and 3 percent of penis owners in the United States get this amount.
It’s important to know that a low fiber diet can lead to weight gain, inflammation, chronic diseases, and other health concerns.
Also, if you’re gonna sip on some banana smoothies, make sure you’re getting enough fiber elsewhere in your day-to-day too.
High(ish) sugar content
It’s a lot easier to guzzle several bananas at a time when they’re in drink-form. While the sugars in bananas are au naturel, more than 90 percent of the calories come from carbs.
A 2020 study showed that too much sweet stuff may also lead to harmful glycemic spikes that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Almost always, whole fruits and vegetables are preferred over their blended or juiced counterparts.
Blended fruits and veggies just aren’t nutritionally equivalent to whole fruits and veggies. That’s why the British Heart Foundation says that smoothies or juice only count for 1 serving of fruit or vegetables per day (womp, womp).
But don’t worry. According to the American Heart Association, bananas are still healthful and packed with nutrients. Just don’t listen to infamous influencer Freelee the Banana Girl in the Huffington Post because 51 bananas a day is NOT a good idea.
Weight gain or loss
Health benefits aside, banana shakes def won’t be your miracle weight gain or loss ingredient. (Spoiler alert: There’s no such thing, anyway.)
Depending on how you incorporate these shakes into your diet, they could cause the exact opposite effect as intended.
Those looking to lose weight can easily go overboard on the carbs, sugar, and calories with these shakes. Meanwhile, those who want to gain weight might not get enough nutrients and healthy fats.
PSA: Everybody’s body is different. You may want to talk with a nutritionist about the best way to attain your healthy weight goals.
To make a banana shake, all you need is some bananas + a liquid (like milk or a milk alternative). After that, it’s up to you. Bananas are hella versatile, so it’s easy to customize shakes to your tastes.
Here’s some ingredient inspo for your next batch of blended bananas:
- protein powder
- ice cream or fro yo
- ground flax or chia seeds
- cinnamon, nutmeg, or cacao
- low fat milk or nondairy milk (e.g. oat, soy, or almond)
- peanut butter, almond butter, or another nut butter
- frozen fruit (peaches, blueberries, or strawberries are especially nommm)
Here are the best banana shake recipes for every need.
For workout fuel: High protein shake
If you need fuel for your next strength training sesh, a high protein banana shake can help you push through every bench press.
- 1 cup milk or milk alternative (almond milk tastes great in this one!)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 frozen banana
- ice as needed
Blend until smooth and enjoy!
For weight loss: Low cal and carb shake
Add this low cal banana shake to your healthy weight loss routine. It’s so tasty, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup milk or milk alternative (coconut is delish here)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- cinnamon to taste
Now, blend it up, baby.
For dessert: Banana-chocolate milkshake
While not the healthiest treat around, it will def satisfy your sweet craving. And hey, it’s not as bad as that pint of ice cream.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- 6 tablespoons powder chocolate malt drink mix (like Ovaltine)
Mmmm. Time to go bananas with your blender, here.
Just keep in mind that when you down this drink, you might max out your daily recommended sugar intake (about 6 teaspoons for vagina owners and 9 for penis owners, according to the American Heart Association). But it’s fab for an occasional indulgence.
To make this one healthier, swap the ice cream for some fro yo.
For vegans: A milk-free shake
Don’t have a cow, man. This recipe’s healthy and animal-cruelty free.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/4 cup ground rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup nondairy yogurt
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1/2 cup crushed ice (optional)
Blend until nice and smooth.