They are probably one of the most popular fruits globally. Bananas are a favourite for many people because they are delicious. A banana is also easily available and affordable for many individuals. Originally, bananas came from South Asia but you can find them in many parts of the world today. Bananas are an instant energy booster so they feature in many snacks. It’s also common to find bananas in breakfast menus and in desserts.
A banana is a nutrition goldmine. In every 100 grams of a banana there’s 0.3 gm of fat, 12 gm of sugar, 1.1 gm of protein, 1 mg of salt, 2.6 gm of dietary fibre, 30 mg potassium and zero cholesterol. The nutritional breakdown makes them a great addition to your diet. The fruit is good for digestion, weight loss and for your health.
Let’s look at the particular health benefits of bananas.
- Heart Health
Bananas contain fibre, potassium, low sodium, vitamin B6 and C, which are beneficial to the heart. Potassium aids in having a healthy heartbeat since it triggers the heart to pump blood. Studies also suggest that potassium is linked to hardening of arteries. Potassium decreases the chance of your arteries stiffening. Fibre helps prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure and lower levels of cholesterol. Foods rich in fibre such as bananas help in weight loss, which is good for your heart.
- Blood Pressure
Bananas are a good dietary option to lower blood pressure. It is common knowledge that high amounts of sodium increase blood pressure. Bananas are good since they have low sodium content. However, it is advisable to consult with your doctor first before indulging in too many if you suffer from a pre-existing blood pressure condition.
- Digestive Health
Bananas contain two types of fibre; pectin and resistant starch. Unripe bananas have resistant starch which is good for the gut. Additionally, a banana contains properties which stimulate digestive juices and therefore aiding in digestion. When suffering from diarrhoea, they are a recommended treatment because they help in replenishing lost nutrients.
- Prevention of Cancer
Many medical journals suggest that bananas are linked to a lowered risk of several types of cancer such as leukaemia, colorectal cancer and kidney cancer. Vitamin C and high fibre in bananas make them ideal fruits to help in preventing the formation of free radicals that cause cancer.
- Depression and Mood Boosters
Having a bad mood? Having a banana could be a good solution. They contain high levels of tryptophan, which is associated with elevating your mood. A bad mood is also associated with lack of good sleep. Their consumption will help you sleep well because they contain vitamin B6, which combined with tryptophan will help you have a good sleep to keep you rested.
For physically active individuals such as athletes or people who go to the gym, bananas could be more effective than energy drinks. When taken with water, they are an effective way of refuelling after extreme physical activity. This is because they have a high mineral content and are easily digestible. They give your body instant energy. They improve your antioxidant capacity, which ultimately increases your physical performance. Bananas help you reduce muscle cramps and increases your endurance during exercise.
- Weight Loss
For individuals working on losing weight, nutritionists recommend foods rich in fibre. A banana is an ideal addition to your diet because they contain high levels of fibre. Eating this fruit will fill you up thus reducing your appetite. Additionally, they are low on carbs, which makes them perfect for weight loss.
With all these benefits of bananas, it might be time to add one or two to your daily consumption of fruits. Be careful not to eat too many – How many is too many?