Bananas are one of the most popular, nutritious fruits in the world. They belong to the plant class Musa and are grown in over 100 countries. It’s believed that they originated in the Philippines, New Guinea and Indonesia but the first bananas were vastly different from they are today, being only the size of an adult finger and nowhere near as tasty.
Bananas are rich in phytonutrients, and contain bioactive plant compounds like dopamine and catechin. They’re also rich in pectin, which is a fiber that may moderate blood sugar levels and reduce appetite by slowing the speed in which the stomach empties itself. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which acts as a probiotic and aids the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Bananas are a great source of energy-producing carbohydrate, as well as vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, manganese and copper, which are all beneficial to good health. Bananas contain almost no fat, cholesterol and salt, which makes them an effective weight-loss food. They also maintain bowel regularity, promote normal heart function and support eye health.
Bananas are thought to induce sleepiness because they are full of potassium and magnesium, minerals that act as a muscle relaxant. They also contain tryptophan, that valuable amino acid that’s so helpful in helping us drift off. Bananas are easily eaten as a before-bed snack. But if you’re not a huge fan of the taste, you can include them in many healthy snacks like bread, muffins and smoothies.