Over 100 billion bananas are consumed annually around the globe, making the banana the third most popular fruit worldwide. The banana, which originated from Southeast Asia, is mainly grown in the tropics and exported to other parts of the world. The fruit is widely enjoyed as a healthy and easily available snack and can be eaten raw on its own, added to a variety of desserts, blended into smoothies and even cooked. A banana will keep up to 5 days in a refrigerator without spoiling or deteriorating in taste or texture. They should be purchased in small bunches and consumed over several days. In addition to being a tasty snack, bananas have many great benefits to offer.
Below, the Food Blog South presents the 30 powerful reasons to eat bananas and make this healthy and versatile fruit a regular part of your diet:
1. They Help You Detox
Bananas are rich in pectin, which has been shown to remove heavy metals from your body and aid in detoxification. Pectin is a gel like fiber that clings to the toxins in your body and guides them out through your urinary system.
2. Depression/Stress Relief
Bananas are a source of tryptophan (a type of serotonin) and B6. B6 synthesizes the tryptophan in the body to allow it to reach the brain and significantly improve your mood. Elevated mood levels in the long term ultimately help people battling depression to overcome it.
3. Improved Vision
Bananas contain Vitamin A and C and are also a rich source of betacarotene. These compounds have been shown to improve eye health by protecting eye cells and repairing cellular damage. They also help to battle macular degeneration and prevent diseases like ARMD which have been shown to cause blindness.
4. Increased Energy
Bananas are a source of complex carbohydrates, which are released slowly into your bloodstream, providing you with energy throughout the day. They are the ideal foods to consume before a workout making them vastly popular with athletes and anyone who takes part in strenuous sporting activities.
5. Better Heart Health
British and American scientists have found that the potassium in bananas helps to prevent the risk of stroke by up to 20%. Further, potassium helps to lower blood pressure and also reduce the fatality of strokes by a staggering 40%.
6. Increased Bone Mass
High salt diets can wreck havoc on bones, making them thinner and more prone to fractures and breaks. The potassium in bananas has been shown to reduce the effects of high salt diets by reducing the rates at which bones decay.
7. Blood Sugar Regulation
Bananas have a low glycemic index, which makes them one of the foods less likely to cause sugar spikes in the blood. They are also rich in soluble fiber and help to reduce the rate at which blood is absorbed into the blood. This means that you are less likely to encounter spikes and crashes which cause you to reach for more sugar rich foods and ultimately cause weight gain and even diabetes.
8. Richer Blood
The iron in bananas is crucial for the production of haemoglobin, the substance in blood which is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. Lack of iron may result in anemia and its related symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, light-headedness and others.
9. Improved Kidney Health
Studies have shown that women who eat 2-3 bananas weekly lower their risk of developing kidney disease by up to 33%. This is due to the presence of potassium, which is essential for healthy functioning of the kidneys. One of the kidneys primary functions is to regulate the levels of potassium in the body, and adequate intake of this mineral keeps them in good working order.
10. Faster Weight Loss
A typical banana contains less than 100 calories which means they can be a healthy addition to a weight loss diet. Further, the high levels of fiber in bananas mean you feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack and ruining your weight loss progress. The pectin and starch in bananas have also been found to reduce appetite and make it easier to stick to your weight loss goals.
11. Better Sports Performance
Bananas provide slow release carbohydrates that improve the staying power of athletes especially during lost distance events. They also help to reduce muscle cramps and soreness, making it possible for athletes to recover from injuries faster.
12. Lower Blood Pressure
The banana is a low sodium and high potassium fruit which has been found to lower blood pressure and its associated risks. Potassium helps to reduce the effects of salt on the body, ultimately regulating your blood pressure. Consuming just two bananas a day can reduce your blood pressure by up to 10%
13. Digestive Health
One of the most crucial components of a properly functioning digestive system is high fiber. Bananas contain up to 3 grams of fiber which helps in bulking up the stool in your body and moving it out of the digestive system. The resistant fiber in bananas also acts as food for beneficial bacteria, helping them to thrive, grow and ultimately improve your digestive system.
14. Lowered Risk of Cancer
Bananas contain cancer fighting compounds known as catechins and delphinidins. Delphinidin inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the stomach and has also been shown to have anti-tumor properties.
15. Asthma Relief
Bananas are a rich source of Vitamin B6 which relaxes bronchial muscle tissue, providing asthma sufferers with much needed relief.
16. Reduced Risk of Peptic Ulcers
Bananas stimulate the production of mucus in the stomach and this helps to protect the lining against acids and bacteria which cause ulcers.
17. Softer and Smoother Skin
75% of a banana is water, which helps to keep your body hydrated and prevents skin from drying. The high levels of Vitamin A and C help to renew damaged skin cells and reduce the activity of toxins that damage skin.
18. A Nutrient Dense Source of Food
The banana is a powerhouse of nutrients, rich in minerals like potassium, iron, niacin, folate, magnesium and many others as well as being a source of Vitamins A, B6 and C. All these nutrients are crucial for keeping the body in good working order and fighting off disease.
19. Reduced Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis, heart attacks and stroke. Bananas are high in phytosterols which help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease or getting a stroke.
20. Cooling Properties
Bananas help to lower body temperature and can keep you cool during those hot summer months.
21. Wart Removal
Placing a banana peel over a wart every day over the course of several weeks will remove the wart as effectively as surgical methods.
22. Rich Source of Manganese
Manganese is one of the minerals you rarely hear about but that does not mean that it is less important than the others. It is important for healing wounds as well as improving your metabolism. Bananas are a rich source of this mineral which also helps to combat conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.
23. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to adverse conditions like stress and infection. Ideally, it should alert you that all is not right in your body but sometimes it can cause the body to turn against itself. Inflammation can have devastating effects including causing conditions like Inflammatory Bowel disease, arthritis, asthma and many others. Bananas, with their high Vitamin C content help to battle inflammation and reduce its damaging effects on the body.
24. Reduced Cravings
One of the reasons you reach for unhealthy snacks during the day is fluctuating sugar levels caused by eating refined sugar and their associated products. Bananas, which are a source of complex carbohydrates, help to stabilize your sugar levels and ultimately help you to control your cravings.
25. Beat Bloating
Water retention and gas are the two main culprits behind bloating. Bloating causes severe discomfort in addition to making you have an unattractive looking pouch. Bananas, with their high levels of fiber, lead to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. These bacteria help to reduce the amount of gas in your body giving you much needed relief from bloating. In addition, the potassium in bananas helps to reduce water retention, making you look, and feel less bloated.
26. Mental Alertness
If you are sitting for an exam or performing some other activity that requires your brain to be in tip top condition, eating a banana will ensure that you are at your absolute best. The potassium in bananas has mind alerting properties which help to improve your brain power and help you handle challenging mental tasks.
27. Regular Bowel Movements
Banana fiber is a gentle and effective laxative, providing much needed relief from constipation without having to resort to harsh chemical options.
28. Bananas are a Versatile Cooking Ingredient
Bananas are one of the most versatile and easily available ingredients to use in your meals. Use them to top sandwiches, as an ingredient in baking, to make smoothies, and even to put together some delectable desserts. You can even use them in place of recipes that require sugar so that you can enjoy your treat without having to compromise on nutrition.
29. Healthy and Luscious Hair
Bananas make a great moisturizer for dry and flaky scalps, helping to prevent hair loss and giving you thick and healthy hair. You can use bananas on their own or mix them with other natural ingredients to make hair treatments that will give you strong and shiny hair. Natural hair products made from bananas are an affordable and effective way to take care of your tresses.
30. Anti-Aging Benefits
The polyphenols and carotenoids found in bananas are chock full of antioxidants which have been found to have anti-aging benefits. Banana peels are especially effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Simply rubbing the inside of a banana peel will help exfoliate dead skin cells, reduce wrinkles and give you a glowing complexion. Further, the Vitamins A and C in bananas help to boost collagen production in the body, giving you a stronger and more elastic skin. Finally, the high water content of bananas is great for hydrating the body, which improves the suppleness of your skin, resulting in your looking much younger.
Bananas are a cheap, easily available and healthy source of food, providing a number of beneficial nutrients and contributing to the overall good functioning of your body. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, the banana is a powerhouse of nutrition providing unmatched health and beauty benefits. Anyone looking to improve their health, increase their energy, look better and enjoy many other advantages would do well to make bananas a regular part of their diet.