Bananas are a delicious snack; surely no-one would argue that! They’re touted for their high potassium content. But there are more health benefits to the banana than you realise. Some people eat bananas as a hangover cure and sporting participants use the fruit as an energy booster. There is proof that eating bananas improves digestion. Moreover, there is evidence that it can even improve the way we look and feel. So, let’s find out more. Welcome to our top 9 list on the benefits of bananas!
One of the most well known of the benefits of bananas is that they’re rich in vitamins and minerals. Specifically, bananas are rich in potassium, so regulating blood pressure and maintaining correct heart function are part of what eating this fruit does. They’re also full of other minerals, especially magnesium, so you’re getting a healthy dose of everything you need in one snack!
Potassium is really good for the bones and kidneys. The volumes of potassium in a banana can also supress the excretion of calcium in urine. This prevents the development of kidney stones. If there is less calcium excretion in the urinary tract, more calcium can be offset to use in bone preservation. Well-preserved bones can slow down the onset of osteoporosis, painful arthritis and brittle bone diseases. Often, the amount of bananas one would need to consume to get maximum benefits is one or two per day.
2. More Energy
There are many sports drinks, energy boosting soft drinks and even electrolyte gels on the market. The aim is give the user more energy. Professional athletes – many of whom have highly skilled nutritionists working with them – do not use these products to gain extra energy.
Look closely at a tennis players in between games or sets. They will often be seen eating a banana. This is to give extra energy and not something that will build up slowly. It is an instant hit of energy, hence the desire for sports athletes to consume this fruit above all others.
It is possible to experiment the increased energy levels gained after eating a banana. Consume one about 30 minutes before going to the gym. It will help the levels of energy noticeably for around two hours after eating.
3. Slow Energy Release for Optimum Performance
There are natural sugars in bananas. These are balanced with soluble fibre to give a slow and stable energy release. But are bananas safe to eat for those suffering from diabetes? One medium sized banana contains a glycaemic index of around 50-52. The carb levels are around the 24 g mark and will be much lower when the fruit is in an unripe phase.
4. Weight Loss
As far as the benefits of bananas go, this is a big one. Bananas should be consumed as an afternoon snack to combat hunger pangs between meals. The mineral and vitamin boost will provide energy that burns slowly, like we just pointed out. What this does is it helps you stay full for longer. So rather than eat a high-calorie processed snack and feel hungry half an hour later, eat a banana. You’ll feel full for much longer. This will make diets much easier, because you won’t be hungry as often or as much. Great!
5. More Fibre and an Enhanced Digestive System
It is not always easy to get enough fibre in a daily diet. Fibre is dynamic in that it helps food travel through the digestive tract unhindered. Bowel movements are improved and bananas act as a very effective laxative. Even more so than many of the tablets or solutions available on the market.
Bananas also contain prebiotics – which feeds good bacteria into the digestive tract. This in turn, helps to absorb nutrients easily.
6. Acid Reflux Relief
This powerful fruit can also help to balance the pH levels in the stomach. This procedure will protect the mucus layer, shift food through the digestive tract at a faster rate and relieve pain. It also goes a long way to helping protect against the formation of ulcers in the stomach.
7. The Powerful Vitamin B6
The fruit contains vast quantities of vitamin B6. The presence of this vitamin helps to create haemoglobin in the blood. Vitamin B6 also helps maintain correct blood sugar levels.
Eating five small bananas every day is enough to consume the required daily amounts of Vitamin B6. It helps to synthesize and break down amino acids. It also produces antibodies for strengthening the immune system.
As well as containing high levels of Vitamin B6, bananas contain vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.
8. Cancer and the Compound TNF-a
TNFA is a compound you get from eating a fully ripe banana. This same compound is a cytokine – it has the potential to increase white blood cell count. This enhances the immune system and fights against cell changes that grow cancerous.
9. Stress, Relief and Enhanced Moods
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in bananas. This amino acid is converted to serotonin in the nervous system and blood. This important chemical helps to improve mood, lower stress and increase spatial awareness. Didn’t think that would be one of the benefits of bananas did you?
It also works as an effective stress relief snack if there are stressful situations at work or school. Serotonin production can help to improve sleep and offer a feeling of mild contentment. Another mood enhancing recipe is to mix a banana with milk and berries. A bowl of porridge oats, mixed with a sliced banana and some blueberries, is even a great dynamic cure for a hangover.
So: bananas are an all-round healthy snack. They’re great for you for all sorts of reasons, whether you need to boost your mood or boost your health. Bananas are high in calories but are still an ideal snack for those on a weight loss kick, especially exercising. The amount of extra calories burned after consumption will offset the calorific values in a banana. So if you’re thinking of getting more fruit into your diet, think of the benefits of bananas!