Bananas are most definitely not just for monkeys. Kids and adults alike all love bananas. Wrapped up in their own natural wrapper they can be eaten whole, or used in a number of recipes from oatmeal, smoothies, muffins, or the most notable dessert of all, a banana split!
According to the USDA, Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re delicious and nutritious, loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium. They’re also high in antioxidants, which help fight and repair free radical damage we come in contact with daily. What’s more, they offer a wide variety of benefits from weight loss to building strong bones. So, don’t let this sweet fruit fool you. It means business.
Bananas are grown in more than 100 countries and an important cultural food in many parts of the globe. The banana tree is the largest flowering herbaceous plant in the world, and the fruit all grow in clusters near the top of the plant.
The banana’s medicinal benefits are due to its rich content of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds. This includes vitamins C and B6, riboflavin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, magnesium, dietary fiber, protein, and copper. So, it’s no surprise it’s considered to be one of the healthiest options for fruits.
A single banana has about 90 calories with zero fats. The fiber in bananas help inhibit the hunger hormone, gherlin, helping you feel fuller longer and reduces overeating. So, someone who is overweight doesn’t have to eat a lot of calories if their diet includes some bananas. It’ll keep you healthy, and help naturally shed weight. Try eating a banana between meals to avoid binge eating.
Bananas are loaded with antioxidants, carotenoids, and a good mix of minerals that effectively promote healthy eyes. Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and night blindness have all been shown to decrease by adding bananas to diets.
One of the best fruits for ensuring strong, healthy bones, bananas are linked to increased absorption of calcium. Calcium is the most important component in the production and growth of bone matter in the body. This reduces the chances of osteoporosis and weakness commonly related to natural aging.
The significant amount of dietary fiber in bananas can help you go to the bathroom properly if suffering from constipation, and help treat other intestinal disorders. Fiber helps stimulate and achieve proper bowel movements, helping to reduce unhealthy digestive conditions, including colorectal cancer.
Many elements in bananas are anti-inflammatory, which reduce swelling, inflammation, and irritation from various conditions such as arthritis and gout. These kind of conditions are quite common due to age, or poor diets. By adding a banana a day you can keep the aches and pain at bay for years.
Eating bananas have been linked to reducing the risk of the development of a number of conditions. The potassium in bananas aid in the regulation and balance of fluids in the body, which eases the strain on kidneys, and encourages urination in order to keep unwanted toxins from accumulating in the body. Meanwhile, the polyphenol antioxidants in bananas help improve and stimulate proper kidney function.
Used as a natural antacid for many years to treat upset stomachs, bananas can help suppress acid secretion and protect against acids. They also contain protease inhibitors that eliminate bacteria linked to the development of stomach ulcers.
Bananas play an important role in promoting proper heart health. As we know, bananas are packed with potassium, and also low in salt, which helps reduce blood pressure. In doing this, the tension in the arteries and veins are relaxed, and blood is allowed to flow easily through the body. Various organs are then oxygenated, increasing their functioning. This helps prevents the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks. Also the fiber inside bananas helps remove excess cholesterol from blood vessels and arteries, minimizing stress on the heart and entire cardiovascular system.
The high iron and copper content in bananas can help treat those suffering from anemia since iron is essential for the production of red blood cells. Anemia occurs from low blood count due to lack of iron. By increasing red blood cell count, anemia is prevented and proper circulation is increased throughout the body. Oxygenation is achieved to various organs, which then optimizes their functioning.
Eating a banana can help improve and reduce PMS symptoms, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-free relaxation. Also the B6 vitamins and potassium in bananas may help to reduce menstrual cramps, bloating, and water retention.
Other Awesome Benefits
- Feeling blue? Bananas can help fight depression due to its high levels of tryptophan, which is then converted into serotonin— the “happy hormone.”
- Before a tough workout, eat two bananas for extra energy and to help control blood sugar.
- Fight against muscle cramps from exercising and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana.
- The high levels of vitamin B6 helps reduce swelling, protect against Type II Diabetes, strengthen nervous system, and aid in production of white blood cells.
- Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract, and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
- The high levels of potassium help make you more alert, and improve cognitive functioning.
- Eat a banana between meals to help stabilize blood sugar, and minimize nausea from morning sickness.
- Can lower body temperature and cool you off during a fever or hot day.
- Trying to quit smoking? Eat a banana! The B-vitamins, potassium, and magnesium in bananas can help speed recovery from withdrawal effects.
Like I said, bananas are not just for monkeys. Humans love them, too. And with good reason!
A word of caution: Beware of GMO bananas, and be sure to look for organic bananas at your local market!