Bananas are grown in more than 130 countries all over the world and are believed to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. This staple fruit comes from the largest herbaceous flowering plant and is high in nutrients, being an ideal food choice for people of all ages. Although we usually consider it a simple quick fix for hunger pangs, the banana has many health benefits.
This yellow-colored tropical fruit is sometimes avoided because it is somewhat high in calories and carbohydrates, but it also fights cravings, reducing the risk of emotional eating. Bananas pack a lot of fiber and antioxidant. One medium banana has around 90-105 calories, no fat and little protein, which makes it a go-to snack for people on the go.
Here are 20 health benefits of bananas:
1. Lower Blood Pressure — Bananas are high in potassium, which is an essential mineral that helps lower blood pressure. Bananas contain 9% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) and may lower the risk of heart disease by 27%.
2. Increase Energy Levels — Bananas are packed with natural carbohydrates that immediately work to boost energy levels for prolonged periods of time. What’s more, with 89 calories per 100 g, they are a great food to eat before workouts. This may explain why bananas are the go-to snack for professional tennis players during matches.
3. Improve Skin Health — Vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and carotene are good for your eyesight, while antioxidants protect against harmful free radicals, maintaining skin health.
4. Prevent Deficiencies — Magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorous and iron are just a few of the minerals that can be found in bananas and prevent deficiency disorders.
5. Improve Digestion — Bananas can ease symptoms of heartburn, gastric reflux and ulcers, but can be used to soothe other stomach problems as well. Pectin is a starch that can be found in this fruit and it is involved in the production of digestive enzymes, which ensure optimal digestion of foods.
6. Promote Weight Control — As we mentioned previously, bananas are high in potassium, which works to balance the water and sodium ration in the body, thus maintaining normal body weight.
7. Relieve Muscle Cramps — Bananas contain calcium and potassium, which have been found to soothe muscle twitches.
8. Reduce Hangovers — The yellow tropical fruit is known to be a cure for hangovers, especially among teenagers.
9. Promote Regular Bowel Movements — The RDI of fiber is 25-30 grams, while bananas contain 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is around 10% of what you should consume. Bananas promote regular bowel movements and can relieve constipation.
10. Prevent Bone Degeneration — Bananas are notoriously high in calcium, which helps build bone mass, while their carotene content works to prevent muscular degeneration of the eyes. Bananas also prevent kidney cancer, leukemia and colorectal cancer.
11. Prevent Heart Attacks — There’s an increased risk of heart attacks when one has low potassium intake, so a banana can remedy this deficiency and improve heart health.
12. Reduce Morning Sickness – Pregnant women can benefit from banana consumption, as this fruit reduces symptoms of morning sickness. In fact, bananas are one of the few foods that you can eat early in the morning when pregnant.
13. Fight Depression: Bananas contain 9mg of the amino acid Tryptophan, which converts into Serotonin — a neurotransmitter in the brain that acts as a “feel good” hormone. Thanks to this compound, bananas reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
14. Antioxidant — Bananas contain powerful antioxidants such as dopamine and catechins, which protect against harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants in bananas include beta-carotene, selenium, lutein and vitamins C, A and E.
15. Improve Respiratory Disease — Bananas have been found to reduce the chance of developing asthma by 34% in a study from the Imperial College of London. So, make sure you consume one banana per day.
16. Help Recover after Diarrhea — One of the easiest ways to replenish vitamins in minerals loft after bouts of diarrhea, doctors recommend eating a banana because it is potassium-rich.
17. Anti-Aging — Bananas are rich in antioxidants, which work to reduce wrinkles and restore the lost glow to your skin.
18. Increase Fullness Sensation — Unripe bananas contain a type of starch that acts as a soluble fiber. Pectin is one of these resistant starches that can reduce appetite and make you feel fuller for longer after a meal.
19. Moderate Blood Sugar — Pectin and other types of resistant starches can help control blood sugar levels after a meal. What’s more bananas have a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
20. Lower Body Temperature — On hot days, bananas can lower your body temperature and cool you off. It can do the same for when you have a fever. However, in cold weather, bananas regulate the body’s temperature by affecting the thyroid and adrenal glands.
As you can see, bananas have many health benefits, so incorporating this nutrition fruit into your diet should be a priority. You can make a smoothie, eat it with cereals or to your breakfast yogurt. Furthermore, you can easily carry a banana with you, peel it and eat it when you feel like snacking on something. Who would have thought?
Here is the nutritional value for 100 grams of banana:
- Calories 89
- Water 75%
- Protein 1 g
- Carbs 8 g
- Sugar 12.2 g
- Fiber 2.6 g
- Fat 3 g
- Saturated 0.11 g
- Monounsaturated 0.03 g
- Polyunsaturated 0.07 g
- Omega-3 0.03 g
- Omega-6 0.05 g
- Trans fat 0 g