Bananas have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation and support the immune system. While more research is necessary, eating bananas may help clear up symptoms of Lyme disease.

Currently, there are minimal studies on the effects of food and nutrition on Lyme disease. There is also no specific diet that exists for Lyme disease, and most people recover well with antibiotics.

However, the right balance of nutrition may help reduce Lyme disease symptoms and promote recovery. Foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, such as bananas, may support the immune system’s strength against infections such as Lyme disease.

This article explores Lyme disease and the benefits of bananas and other foods that may help a person recover from the condition.

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Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. A bite from black-legged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi can pass this infection to humans. However, a person has to have the tick attached to them for at least 36–48 hours to transmit the bacterium to the person.

Lyme disease triggers the production of inflammatory cytokines (proteins that promote inflammation). This excessive inflammatory response in the body causes damage to multiple tissues, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation.

It can also cause mitochondrial dysfunction, where mitochondria do not produce as much energy for the body, among other things.

How Lyme disease affects a person

Lyme disease can affect the joints, heart, skin, and nervous system. Symptoms and their severity vary from person to person.

Lyme disease can be challenging for doctors to diagnose due to nonspecific symptoms that resemble other health conditions, such as flu or a rash. While other symptoms such as a headache and Bell’s palsy may take months to appear, they typically clear up with antibiotic treatment. However, they may persist in some people.

A 2022 study found that persisting symptoms, called chronic Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), may be caused by abnormalities in immune and inflammatory processes.

Read more about the symptoms of Lyme disease.

While there have been no studies on the effects of an anti-inflammatory diet on Lyme disease and PTLDS, many follow an anti-inflammatory diet for its noted benefits to inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bananas are an example of anti-inflammatory food. They are a nutritious fruit that contains bioactive compounds, and contain properties that are:

  • antimicrobial
  • antioxidant
  • anticancer
  • antidiabetic

Bananas also contain pectin, which is a primary source of dietary fiber. This feeds the “good” bacteria in the gut, helps manage blood sugar levels, and delays the transit of food from the stomach to the colon.

A person adding bananas to their diet should consider the ripeness and the serving size of the bananas, since they are also high in carbohydrates and sugar. People should avoid a high sugar level in the body because it can be pro-inflammatory, which can worsen symptoms.

An anti-inflammatory food diet may benefit people with Lyme disease. Examples of anti-inflammatory diets include the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

Foods high in anti-inflammatory properties include:


Antioxidants can also help counteract inflammation and protect tissues from damage.

The best sources of antioxidants are plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

Some of the food and vitamins that are high in antioxidants include:

Read more about antioxidants here.

A 2022 study also found that coenzyme Q10, a known antioxidant supplement, had the following benefits for a person with Lyme disease:

  • reduced fatigue
  • countered tissue damage
  • addressed abnormal heart function
  • lowered oxidative stress

Oils and herbs

A 2018 study found that oils from garlic and other common herbs show strong activity against the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. These include:

Probiotics and prebiotics

Probiotics can also support gut health. This can help reduce inflammation, strengthen immunity, and promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Foods high in probiotics include:

Prebiotics serve as food for the good bacteria in the gut — probiotics. Bananas are also high in prebiotics. These stimulate the immune system through their effect on the gut microbiota. They also reduce inflammation by increasing the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines while decreasing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Read about the differences between prebiotics and probiotics.

A person with Lyme disease may want to avoid foods containing common inflammatory triggers, including:

A 2021 study found that people had more inflammatory markers when they followed certain dietary patterns, such as a person who consumed more:

  • animal products
  • processed foods
  • alcohol
  • sugar

However, a person should confirm food allergies with a healthcare professional or allergist to avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions.

Read about common food allergies here.

A person who has been to a tick-prone area should consult a doctor if they:

  • know or suspect that a tick has bitten them
  • have a red, oval rash
  • have developed flu-like symptoms within a few weeks after a tick bite

Early signs

They should also look for early signs of Lyme disease:

A person with any early Lyme disease symptoms should contact a doctor. Taking antibiotics early in the disease can help promote faster recovery and reduce the risk of complications.

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease caused by a bite from an infected black-legged tick. Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics. However, nutrition may also play a role in the recovery of people with Lyme disease.

Bananas are versatile fruits with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties that can help counteract inflammation and support the body’s immune system.

People may benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods.