Do you think bananas are only for monkeys? I hope not, because bananas are one of nature’s great snack foods and they are fully-packed with health wonders.
Here are the 10 health benefits one can get from eating banana:
1. Bananas are rich in potassium
In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the banana industry to make official claims (just like what pharmaceutical drug companies do) of their ability to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. That is because bananas are super rich in potassium which is known for maintaining proper heart function and regulating normal blood pressure.
In a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was revealed that eating bananas regularly can reduce your risk of stroke by up to 40%.
Potassium intake also suppresses calcium excretion in the urine which can lead to kidney stones. Also, this suppression of calcium also reduces the risk of you developing osteoporosis and brittle bones.
Check this out: Everything You Need to Know About Kale (“Superfood of the Century” and “The King of All Vegetables.”)
2. Bananas are energy bars
When I first started hitting the gym, my instructor told me to bring bananas and consume at least one before I start lifting. Also, if you are watching games on TV, you can see athletes eating bananas despite the proliferation of energy drinks.That is because bananas are power bars.
Some people are worried about bananas spiking blood sugar, but tests show they actually have a glycemic index of around 52, with 24 g of available carbs (lower the less ripe they are).
That’s a glycemic load in the vicinity of 12 which isn’t considered that high. These figures will obviously vary depending on variety and ripeness.
So if you are feeling a little lagging, bananas make a great snack. Replace your candy bars and other junk foods with bananas, and you might just have an important step towards losing weight; plus, you’ve got instant energy bar with you.
3. Bananas help in digestion
Bananas are rich in dietary fiber that most of us do not get nearly enough of. It is common knowledge that fiber helps to smoothen everything in the digestive tract and improves the elimination of wastes in the stomach and intestines. A banana or two may be a healthier choice than laxatives to treat occasional constipation.
Bananas are also rich in fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). FOS is known as a prebiotic. It feeds the good bacteria in your gut making it more efficient in absorbing nutrients.
With bananas, not only your gut is healthy, bananas are also known to relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
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4. Bananas are good for ulcers
Eating bananas regularly may help protect against stomach ulcers. Compounds in bananas seem to create a thicker protective barrier in the stomach against hydrochloric acid.
Bananas also contain protease inhibitors that work to eliminate certain bacteria in the stomach implicated as a major cause of stomach ulcers.
5.Bananas are high in Vitamin B6
Bananas are particularly high in vitamin B6. This vitamin is important for creating hemoglobin for healthy blood.
B6 is also involved in maintaining proper blood sugar levels, synthesizing and breaking down amino acids and producing antibodies for a stronger immune response in your body.
Just one banana has a full fifth of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B6. And they taste much better than vitamin pills too!
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6.Vitamins and Minerals
Alongside the high levels of potassium and vitamin B6 already mentioned, bananas also have good levels of vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.
They are also a source of most of the other B vitamins and smaller amounts of trace minerals like iodine, iron, selenium and zinc.
7. Bananas can make you fairer
Even the skins of this amazing fruit have their uses. Banana skins have been used externally to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.
The freshly peeled inside of the banana skin is gently rubbed over the affected area and the residue left on. This might be better done on a day indoors or before bed to avoid the banana smell when out and about.
Note too that in the case of psoriasis there apparently may be some further reddening initially, but this should improve after a few days of use. Patch test on a small area first if you have any concerns. It also usually take several weeks to get the full effects from this treatment.
Banana peel treatments are even used to heal warts. You rub a small piece of banana peel over the wart and then tightly tape it there overnight for at least a week, possibly several, changing it to a new one each night.
People in online forums have reported good results with these simple treatments, though results with natural cures can be varied. I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who’s tried any of them for themselves.
8. Bananas are cancer fighters
Recent Japanese animal research linked bananas that are fully ripe (with the dark spots) to production of a compound called tumor necrosis factor (TNF–a). This compound is a cytokine which is believed to have the potential to increase white blood cell count, thus enhancing your immunity and combating cancerous cell changes.
Personally, I don’t put too much stock in animal studies. Regardless, increasing overall fruit consumption in your diet has been consistently linked to a lower risk of developing various cancers.
Read: How to Eat a Healthy and Affordable Diet for Every Filipino
9. Ohh bananas can improve your mood and reduce stress
Bananas are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which your body converts to serotonin.
Amongst many other things, proper serotonin levels help improve your mood, reduce stress and enhance your general outlook and happiness levels. It also helps regulate good sleep patterns.
Tryptophan is considered an essential amino acid because the only way your body gets it is through your diet. Bananas, while certainly not the highest source out there, are one of the easiest ways to get a little more tryptophan. Another reason why bananas make such a great snack for those stressed out at work.
10. Bananas can cure your hangover
Bananas are a great hangover food for mornings when you’ve overdone it a bit the night before. A couple of bananas in a blender with ice, some berries and coconut milk or organic cow’s or goat’s milk makes a really good recovery drink.
Just about all the other health benefits already discussed come into play here. Of course the better solution is not to drink so much the night before. But just in case, it’s good to have some bananas around for the next morning.
As I tend to get mine in bulk and don’t always finish them before they get too ripe, I like to chop up any excess ones on their last legs and put them in a container in the freezer. These are great to drop straight from the freezer into the blender instead of ice cubes for brilliant creamy smoothies.
So there you have 10 good reasons to pick up a bunch of bananas the next time you’re out shopping. While pesticides aren’t considered a significant problem with bananas, fair trade fruits are worth looking for if you can find them.
How do you like to eat your bananas? Alone or mixed with other foods like on top of a healthy muesli or blended up in a smoothie? I be interested to hear any ideas or suggestions you might have for more beneficial ways to enjoy bananas.