Are Bananas Bad for Arthritis?

Bananas are not a typical choice for people with arthritis, but the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in them may aid in protecting the body against certain oxidative stress. If considering incorporating bananas as part of your arthritis management regimen, here are some things to consider.

woman holding bananas

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Benefits of Bananas

Banana is a fruit with many health benefits. It has vitamins and minerals such as fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, protein, vitamin B, C, and zinc. They also have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Bananas are mostly known for their high content of potassium, and research has shown that potassium may provide a reduction of inflammation, ease arthritis pain, and improve bone health. Getting the nutrients from the actual food may be more beneficial than the supplement.

Banana: Nutrition Facts

Nutrition facts of a banana from the USDA:

  • Amount Per 1 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long)
  • Calories 105
  • Total Fat 0.4 g
  • Saturated fat 0.1 g      
  • Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g       
  • Monounsaturated fat 0 g        
  • Cholesterol 0 mg       
  • Sodium 1 mg 
  • Potassium 422 mg     
  • Total Carbohydrate 27 g        
  • Dietary fiber 3.1 g      
  • Sugar 14 g      
  • Protein 1.3 g   

Bananas and Arthritis

Diet and nutrition play an important part in your overall health. Studies show that a diet that has anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, herbs, vegetables, and legumes can reduce the pain and slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the fruits on this list included mangoes, blueberries, peaches, apples, and bananas.

Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes swelling, pain, and inflammation in the joints. It typically starts in the big toe and moves to the knees, fingers, and wrists. Severe gout symptoms are often due to too much uric acid in the blood.

Diet plays a role in gout flare-ups, so avoiding high sugary foods and drinks, organ meat, and alcohol are often recommended. It is advised that eating foods that are low in purine can help reduce uric acid levels. Bananas may help gout patients because it is considered a low-purine food that contains vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) happens when the joints break down over time. This type of arthritis is common in the elderly population. The joints that are affected the most are the knees, hips, hands, and lower back. OA can cause severe pain for some patients and disability for others.

Bananas have magnesium, and research has found that magnesium may help OA patients by reducing inflammation. It has also been found that there is an association between magnesium intake and radiographic knee OA. This research is the first epidemiological evidence and more research needs to be conducted.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease. When patients have RA, healthy cells are attacked by the immune system by mistake. This causes inflammation in the body. RA affects the joints in the wrist, hands, and knees. It can also affect other tissues causing issues in the organs such as the heart, eyes, and lungs. A healthy diet is recommended for individuals who have arthritis.

Research concluded that the progression of RA can be slowed down with a diet that has strong sources of antioxidants that can deliver an anti-inflammatory effect. It is advised that RA patients minimize and avoid processed food, salt, oils, sugar, butter, and animal products. Fruits and vegetables are highly suggested. Bananas are among the fruits. Bananas have potassium and studies suggest that potassium may help RA patients due to its anti-inflammatory effect and it is known to help both bone and cardiovascular health.

Other Types of Arthritis

There are different types of arthritis that can affect different areas of the body. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in bananas may help reduce swelling, increase bone density, and ease the pain that arthritis causes.

Risks and Side Effects

Overall, bananas are a healthy food. Some of the nutrients that are higher in bananas could conflict with medications. It is important to speak with your health care professional before adding or removing foods from your diet.

 

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