10 Health Benefits of Bananas That Will Keep You In Top Shape
The saying goes that if you eat an apple a day that would keep the doctor away. But times have changed and research has now proved that if you eat a banana a day this will also keep the doctor away.
Did you know that the simple banana has so many health benefits as they are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and these will not only boost your immune system but give you the energy to power through your day, not to mention the host of other incredible uses for a banana that will certainly help boost your body and mind simultaneously.
Here are the most crucial benefits you need to take advantage of:
1. Keeping your bowel regular and healthy is just a banana away
We have all experienced this in our lifetime and being constipated is no fun. But if you regularly eat bananas you won’t have this problem. Bananas are packed with insoluble fibers and as this passes through your digestive tract it effectively acts as a vacuum cleaner. It cleans and sweeps up the residue of what you have eaten and has been left behind attached to the intestine walls. It allows you to easily pass soft stools and alleviate that uncomfortable and bloated feeling.
Like everything in life, please eat bananas in moderation. Eating too many and don’t drink enough water this may make you constipated. Also, make sure that you eat them when they are ripe as un-ripened bananas will give you a fair amount of gas and also make you constipated.
If on the other hand you have diarrhea simply peel a banana and eat it. Bananas contain a fair amount of pectin (which is a water-soluble fibre) within its walls. This will then act as a binding agent and absorb extra fluid in your digestive tract – effectively. It’s a gel that absorbs excess water and this will greatly assist in sorting out that diarrhea. It alleviates your anxiety about remaining close to the loo during the day. Various stages of ripening offer different benefits as bananas are harvested. Also, they get ripen while traveling to their destination. They further ripen at the market or retail outlet s and then at your house. However when eaten at different levels of ripeness, the banana offers different health benefits.
2. Powering the engine and giving you the right energy to sustain your performance
When it comes to exercise, bananas are packed full of the electrolytes and minerals. It contains all that your body needs when you are working out. A banana does so much more for your performance than the average energy booster drinks on the shelves. All those are just loaded with both caffeine and processed sugars that quickly lift your energy levels and as quickly drop them. This literally means your engine has run out of fuel and you will feel tired and listless.
A study in 2012 tracked 3 groups of athletes; one group took some energy drink every 15 minutes of the race, another took water and a banana, whilst the last group had no supplements.
The group with no supplements saw a marked decline in their performance over time. Whilst the other two groups with energy drinks and water/bananas performed significantly better in regards to energy levels and running times. However, the group using bananas and water were better metabolizing oxidative stress. It is the waste product produced by lactic acid when our muscles are exerted as well as higher antioxidant levels in the blood.
So before you start your daily exercise routine have a banana. Also, allow enough time for it to get into your digestive tract so that all its nutrients can be absorbed. This will give you the energy you need whilst assisting your body to perform at better levels as it’s the electrolytes and minerals that keep you going.
3. Shedding those pounds and boosting your immune system with bananas
Bananas can be a vital component in a weight loss program, with a low fat content, high fiber content and lots of B vitamins; bananas can be a great supplement to compete obesity. The dietary fiber does two things; it absorbs water and water soluble material, it also takes up a lot of space in the stomach making one feel fuller quicker and for a longer period of time.
Bananas are full of B Vitamins which help to increase your metabolism ensuring that with proper kilojoule control, the body will burn fat faster. One banana has around 10 percent of your daily requirements of these B Vitamins. Vitamin B6 helps to actively combat the effects leading to Type 2-Diabetes.
They also help in boosting your immune system. So for those suffering from Iron deficiencies or Anaemia, bananas are a great addition to a diet. Your blood transports all of the nutrients you eat and digest to every cell in your body. It also carries all the oxygen you breathe in and the carbon dioxide waste you breathe out. A key component of red blood cells is hemoglobin which requires iron to be produced; this is why blood tastes how it does.
A lack of Iron leads to the body producing smaller and fewer red blood cells in the marrow of our limbs. Ultimately, leading to a general feeling of tiredness or even oxygen deprivation throughout the body. You start to feel dizzy, headaches, a fast heartbeat (your heart needs to get more blood to your cells so does this by making your lungs breath more) and a short breath.
4. Bananas help in the battle of reducing cholesterol and maintain good blood pressure
The regular consumption of unripe bananas will go a long way in assisting to combat cholesterol issues, but note that it’s not a cure. Being mindful of everything you eat is part of the getting well process.
Many don’t really know what Cholesterol is a weird wax-like substance that is found in everyone’s blood. It is produced by the liver, but can also be found in the food. We consume, like red meat or dairy products like cheese and butter. We all need cholesterol to maintain a good healthy body balance. But when it’s too high we have a problem and changing our diet is important.
If you have a raised cholesterol level you are on track to later developing some form of heart disease. Visit your doctor regularly to have your levels checked. If you change your diet and lifestyle and consume bananas on a regular basis you are doing well by your heart in keeping the cholesterol levels down.
Often when we have high cholesterol we will also have high blood pressure. In many instances, they go hand in hand. Eating bananas on a regular basis will provide your body with a good dosage of potassium. It is a mineral electrolyte that is essential for your hearts well-being. Once you have consumed a banana the potassium contained therein will travel to the cells throughout your body. This helps the circulatory system to deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps maintain a regular heartbeat and a proper balance of water in the body.
5. Bananas are a great way to treat anemia
For those who don’t really understand what anemia is, simply put it’s a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin in our systems. Haemoglobin is the major portion of the red blood cell and its job is to bind the oxygen in our system. If your red cell count is low it means you don’t have enough oxygen in your cells for your body to operate properly.
If you are anemic you may feel fatigued and this is because your organs are not getting what they need to carry out their normal functions. Remember a diet lacking iron can result in a number of issues other than anemia, such as lowered energy levels, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability or dizziness and need to be monitored.
Bananas are a great source of iron for people suffering from anemia. Iron deficiency is a key factor in this health condition and eating foods rich in iron will help replenish this essential mineral.
Regular consumption of bananas along with other iron-rich foods such as meat, legumes, lentils, beans, peas, nuts and seeds can gradually reduce symptoms of anemia. These include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat. There are some forms of anemia; like the mild anemia that sometimes develops during the 9 months of pregnancy. In many cases it is considered normal and after the birth of the baby returns to normal. However, some types of anemia may present lifelong health problems and would need to be monitored. Adding bananas regularly into your diet will go a long way to helping maintain your iron levels.
6. Bananas help calm and soothe those stomach ulcers
Before we get to how bananas can help soothe your ulcer, we need to understand what a stomach ulcer is. Sometimes they are also known as gastric ulcers and a simple explanation of an ulcer is a painful sore or sores in the lining of your stomach. It is often caused by too much acid and digestive juices in the stomach.
These ulcers or sores often occur then the ticklish layer of mucus. It lines your stomach by an overproduction of digestive juices. Modern diets today are filled with fast food that is high in additives and not healthy.
So in adding bananas regularly to your daily diet is more than beneficial for your stomachs health and wellbeing in a number of ways. The first thing that a banana helps with is to assist in making that mucus layer in your stomach a bit thicker, which will serve as an extra barrier in protecting your stomach lining form acids and excessive digestive juices.
There are many over the counter medicines that are promoted to help neutralize the acid build up in your stomach. Having a banana is more effective and of course costs a lot less than manufactured medicines. It helps to neutralize the acidity from the foods that we consume. It is causes ulcers due to high acid levels in the stomach.
Bananas also contain protease inhibitors. It greatly assists in the elimination of bad bacteria’s in the stomach. When left untreated will gradually eat into the lining of your stomach and eventually cause those painful ulcers.
Pregnancy and morning sickness
Falling pregnant and carrying your unborn child for 9 months is one of the great wonders of our world. It is really special time in a woman’s life. However with this miracle of growing a life and a new human comes a few bumps along the way. It also brings along awful morning sickness that so many woman experience during their 9 months of pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and looking for ways to fight off those nauseating feelings in the morning (note that sometimes morning sickness happens at other times of the day as well, but mostly in the morning). Just reach for a banana, peel away the skin and enjoy the lovely fruit. Bananas have a number of calming properties. It will quickly replenish your system and soon have you feeling much better as your blood glucose level is normalized, which in turn helps you to fight off that nausea.
Sometimes preventing is better than curing, so make it part of your daily pregnancy routine. Just have a banana every morning or after your meals. As bananas contain a number of nutrients they will also help lift your mood and be there to support the growth and development of your baby. Often during pregnancy, your blood pressure will fluctuate and bananas have a very high and rich source of Potassium. This will help in maintaining your blood pressure levels. Also, potassium helps in reducing those muscle cramps and leg pains during pregnancy.
Bananas are also high in folic acid which plays a vital role in the development of the brain, nerves, and spine of the developing your baby.
8. Promoting good eye health
Firstly we have to understand what is considered good eye health. Simply explained it all starts with the food we put into our mouths and what our mothers eat whilst we are still in her womb.
Good eye health needs vital nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. It can help ward off developmental and age-related vision issues such as macular degeneration, cataracts and night blindness. In order to have the right nutrients for this not only during pregnancy but in our everyday life, we need to ensure that we have a good selection of green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards and loads of bananas in our daily diet.
Bananas are rich and high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for good eye health. Also, an adequate daily vitamin intake also lessens your risk of night blindness.
According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three or more servings of bananas per day may also lower your risk of age-related oracular degeneration. It is the primary cause of vision loss in older people by almost 36% as compared to those who consume less than 1.5 servings a day. However, be aware of the ripeness of the bananas as this changes its glycaemic level. An overripe banana may have a high glycaemic level, while one that’s a bit under-ripe has lower levels. It has little health benefits for you. This is important because high-glycaemic foods have been linked to a heightened risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Make sure you eat them when perfectly ripe.
9. Bananas have positive results in managing depression
Whilst we don’t know the exact causes depression, research has found that a number of elements such as genes and stress can affect brain your chemistry. It can reduce your ability to maintain mood stability. A recent survey of people suffering from depression showed positive results after the participants ate bananas.
For those suffering from depression it’s a banana and not an apple that will keep the doctor away. The Tryptophan found in bananas has another much needed effect on humans: The body converts Tryptophan into Serotonin, a hormone in the brain that induces feelings of happiness. Tryptophan also helps one to sleep better as it calms muscles, which is an often a problem for insomniacs. Another Amino Acid called Tyrosine raises the level of norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain.
These neurotransmitters are vital to keep the brain alert and responsive to sensory inputs. They help combat depression, lethargy and allow the brain to quickly react to situations. During stressful times whether it’s at home or just the general fast pace of our lives remember to eat a banana during the day. It helps to assist with maintaining a healthy mood stabilizer in our systems.
We often forget that our children have stressful lives and that depression can develop in them, so make sure your add bananas into their diet from a young age and get them into the routine of eating healthy. It also makes an easy to add snack into their school lunch packs. Remember your attitude towards a fruit is what you children will see, so be the example they need for a healthy eating regime.
10. There’s magic and healing inside a banana peel
Did you know that if you rub a banana skin on a mosquito bite it reduces the itching and swelling and is far more effective that those off the shelf creams. Banana peels are also great in helping wounds and skin abrasions heal faster as they are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin C and B6, which all help the skin heal quicker.
The inside of peels also has a great whitening effect on teeth, helping to clean away plaque, sugar and bacteria. Also the pulpy side of peels can also remove warts…containing a substance called mucilage, applying it to the infected spot overnight for a few weeks will remove the wart with no need for expensive doctors or unnatural chemicals.
Then believe it or not you can use banana peels inside your home to help with all sorts of household tasks such as using the peel as a gentle abrasive to remove stains or marks off household surface. If you mess ink from a pen on yourself, the natural oils of the banana peels draw out the ink from you skin, allowing for easy removal. Also if you leather shoes or bag is looking a bit dull and sad, merely rub the banana peel over the surface and then buff with a soft cloth to help restore its natural lustre.
Banana peels when dried are rich in potassium and make a great poison to chase away pests in a garden; the potassium is also great for the soil and the roots of the plants you are protecting so you can use them to create your own compost.