Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. Some scientists believe that the banana may have even been the world’s first fruit.
Nutritional breakdown of bananas
One medium banana (about 126 grams) is considered to be one serving. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some benefits of banana:
Blood pressure: Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. A high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.
Asthma: A study found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.
Cancer: As a good source of vitamin C, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Heart health: The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Treating diarrhea: Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.
Adding a banana to your diet also helps keep your eyes healthy. Bananas have a small amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for protecting your eyes and normal vision. Bananas also contain alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A to further keep your eyes healthy.
Regularity: Enjoying a banana each day aids in keeping you regular. As insoluble fiber travels through your digestive tract, it sweeps up waste and helps push it out. You’ll have more regular bowel movements that are soft and easy to pass.
Weight Loss: Finding foods to fit into your weight-loss diet can be challenging, but bananas make a perfect fit. Bananas are naturally sweet and can help curb your sweet tooth if you get that afternoon sugar craving. Food is forced to sit in your stomach for a while, making you feel full. If you have a banana before lunch, you’ll be less likely to overeat when your food comes to the table.
Helps Digestion: Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber that most of us don’t get nearly enough of. Fiber helps the food you eat move smoothly through the digestive tract and improves elimination.
A couple of bananas may be a healthier choice than laxatives to treat occasional constipation.
A Hangover Cure
Bananas are a great hangover food for mornings when you’ve overdone it a bit the night before. A couple of bananas in a blender with ice, some berries and coconut milk or organic cow’s or goat’s milk makes a really good recovery drink.
Good for Ulcers
Eating bananas regularly may help protect against stomach ulcers. Compounds in bananas seem to create a thicker protective barrier in the stomach against hydrochloric acid.
Bananas also contain protease inhibitors that work to eliminate certain bacteria in the stomach implicated as a major cause of stomach ulcers.
Build Better Bones with Bananas: Eating bananas frequently as part of your healthy way of eating can help improve your body’s ability to absorb calcium via several mechanisms.