A banana is undoubtedly world’s most cultivated fruit. Consumed as a staple food by people around the tropical and sub tropical regions such as South America, parts of Southeast Asia and East Africa, this curvy yellow fruit has many benefits when consumed in portion size, without overdoing it. In addition, bananas can be cooked, and these green bananas are known as plantain, loved by people for its high fiber and starch and is used in a variety of recipes in the long run.
Surprisingly, bananas are not fattening, making it a real power food as it plays part in the improvements of one’s mood. It’s no wonder that bananas are known to be the ‘happy fruit’ by many people.
Important Banana Facts
- Archaeological evidence have proved that bananas were in existence as back as 8000 B.C, and were popular in New Guinea.
- The banana plant, is considered a perennial herb and the banana fruit is also considered as a berry.
- Most bananas sold in the stores are basically a clone of the Cavendish banana plant that originates from Southeast Asia.
- Plantain, which is the cooked banana, is starchier making it a staple food in many parts of East Africa, where it is also grown as a subsistence crop.
- Only 15% of the world’s bananas is grown for export, with India being the leading exporter of bananas globally.
- Pectin, a high dietary fiber plays an important part in providing the structural form to bananas, hence their curved shape.
Health Benefits of Taking Bananas
It’s important to understand the many benefits that come with taking bananas both as a fruit or cooked food, with many of these benefits proving to be definitive. They include;
Lowering Blood Pressure
The FDA has released a number of reports recognizing bananas as the fruit with low sodium that is vital in lowering blood pressure. Bananas are also high in potassium, a nutrient that plays part in vasodilation in the body, hence lowering the risk of dying from high blood pressure by close to 20%.
Helps in Digestion
Bananas, whether cooked or ripe, are high in fiber, which helps in improving the upper digestive system. A single banana contains about 3 grams of good fibre, hence providing the body with a resistant starch, lowering insulin resistance in the blood while also improving colon health.
Reduces Hunger Pangs
Pectin, the high dietary fibre in bananas, hence in the reduction of appetite and moderating blood sugar levels in the body. It is for this reason why people are encouraged to take bananas, when hungry as it boosts one’s mood while controlling kidney function.
Athletes understand the importance of bananas to their daily lives. Bananas restore the mineral salts and nutrients such as magnesium and potassium, usually lost through sweating. They also help in the metabolic enzyme reaction in the body, which is vital in the reduction of muscle cramps when training and when in action.
Boosting Eye Health
Despite having small amounts of vitamin A, this fat soluble vitamin plays part in protecting the consumer’s normal vision. Vitamin A contains beta-carotene and alpha carotene, which preserve the membranes surrounding the eyes, while providing vital proteins for the eyes that play part in bringing light into the cornea. Through this, the eyes are kept healthy for a lengthy period.
Improving Cardiovascular Health
Vital nutrients in bananas play part in supporting the normal heart functions, thanks to the mineral electrolyte known as potassium. This mineral is absorbed directly into the blood, hence getting rid of toxic fluids from blood cells, creating fluid balanced cell membranes. Through this, the cells produce the energy required in maintaining the heartbeat, ensuring it does not turn out to be irregular, which is deadly. Recall that a 6 inch long banana has close to 360 milligrams of potassium.
Recommended For Weight Loss
Bananas are the perfect fruits when it comes to losing weight and checking one’s health. This is because, their sweetness helps in reducing sugar craving, a leading cause of weight gain. In addition, the fibre in the bananas sits for a long time in the stomach, prompting this fibre to absorb water and slow digestion. If this fruit is taken before a meal, it -0plays a significant role in reducing chances of overeating.
Reducing Cases of Depression
People who suffer from depression, are most likely going to be moody. Bananas, high in vitamin B6 and tryptophan, which are converted to serotonin, which helps in elevation of one’s mood while also playing part in relaxing of muscles and providing adequate sleep and muscle relaxation.
But Are Bananas Safe For Diabetics?
Bananas are high in starch and sugar, leading causes of diabetes. But, numerous studies have ranked bananas low in the glycemic index, eliminating the fact that ripe bananas can give rise in blood sugar after they are consumed. However, it’s advisable to stay safe especially if you are diabetic, ensuring that you monitor your blood sugar levels after eating bananas as they are rich in starch and fructose.
People Who Are Allergic to Latex May Be Allergic To Bananas
Bananas, contain the sticky glue, which is latex and may trigger allergic reaction on people who are sensitive to latex in the long run.
If overripe bananas are eaten in excess, they may trigger headaches and dizziness. This is because, the high amino acids in overripe bananas trigger dilation of blood vessels leading to muscle relaxation, lowering alertness hence dizziness. Moreover, consumption of excess vitamin B6 from bananas may result to nerve damage in arms and legs.
Surprisingly, the banana peels are edible. This package is high in fiber, protein and magnesium which are excellent nutrients for the body. It turns out the only danger posed by the peels is slipping on them!
To sum it up, a banana is truly a powerful food and should be taken in moderation. Add them to your next smoothie recipe and enjoy their natural sugars, fructose, which will boost your health in the long run. In addition, plantain, is high in fiber content and will boost satiety and digestion, cleaning up the colon and reduce the risk of cancer in the intestinal lining.
Live Science – http://www.livescience.com/45005-banana-nutrition-facts.html
Authority Nutrition – https://authoritynutrition.com/bananas-good-or-bad/
CNN – http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/15/health/bananas-nutritional-benefits/
Food Matters – http://www.foodmatters.com/article/25-powerful-reasons-to-eat-bananas
Healthy Eating SFGate – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-one-banana-day-3316.html
WhFoods – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7