Bananas are synonymous with being the food of choice for our closest relatives, primates, who seem to find them quite literally a-peeling.
However, the love of this bananas seems to be for a very good reason.
Originating from Southeast Asia, the banana has been long used by Chinese healthcare practitioners for lowering blood pressure and preventing both constipation and hemorrhoids. The skin is even applied to mosquito bites in certain cultures for its soothing benefits.
Here are just a few of the benefits of bananas and below we’ll see just some of the reasons why this fruit is so good for our health.
1. Nutritional Composition
The reason bananas offer so many great health benefits is no surprise as they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Each banana offers a whopping 23 different vitamins and minerals. A single large banana provides 10% or more of the daily recommended amount for vitamin c, vitamin B6 potassium, magnesium, and manganese so they’re great as part of a balanced diet .
2. Training Advantages
A 2012 study suggests banana is just as effective for sports performance as Gatorade sports drinks.
The findings show bananas matched the sports drink in almost every measurable category, however, those powered by bananas all lost weight during the study, unlike the sports drink group where some even maintained weight and averaged roughly 25% less weight loss.
This comes while calorie consumption was almost identical and mineral and vitamin intakes were higher in the fortified sports drink group showing bananas have improved benefits over vitamins and minerals alone.
Bananas were also shown to increase anti-oxidants such as dopamine which potentially reduce the effects of oxidative stress of exercise.
Energy levels are also higher following banana consumption due to the role magnesium plays in the production of the energy source ATP .
3. Heart Health
Dr. Janet Brill, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains in her book Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks how bananas can help reduce high blood pressure in only 4 weeks thanks to their high magnesium content.
They help lower blood pressure by relaxing and dilating blood vessels, preventing muscular spasms, fight against blood clots and prevents arrhythmia of the heart.
Treating diabetes with bananas seems to be effective as they contain resistant starch to blunt sugar release and its anti-hyperglycaemic and anti-diabetic effects seen in studies.
They can also be used to regulate blood sugars for similar reasons .
5. Mental health
Serotonin and dopamine are often used to treat mental health issues and can be supplied in the form of drugs by doctors. However, bananas can be used to treat stress and depression due to these bio-active compounds being present .
Cancer rates are steadily rising and many of us have been affected in some way by this potentially life-ending disease, however, bananas have been linked to reduced risk of cancer and lung cancer in particular .
With so many great reasons to eat bananas you really should pick up a bunch and start enjoying the benefits today!
- http://www.sciencedirect.com/ (2)
By Valerie S.