Eating an apple each day can promote good health, but few people know that a banana each day can also keep the doctor away. The banana’s health benefits come from the many vitamins and nutrients that it contains.
Some of the nutrients and compounds in bananas are carbohydrates, vitamins A, C, and B6, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, sodium, potassium and natural sugars like sucrose, fructose and glucose. All of these make banana a superfood that is an integral part of a healthy daily regimen.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of bananas.
1. Regulates Bowel Movements
Irregular bowel movements are an irritating health problem that can be easily solved with regular consumption of bananas.
Bananas contain a good amount of insoluble fiber that travels through the digestive tract, sweeping up waste and producing bowel movements that are soft and easy to pass.
However, eat bananas in moderation as consuming too much banana but too little water may contribute to constipation. Moreover, eating bananas that are not completely ripe may also give rise to constipation and gas.
At the same time, bananas help treat diarrhea as they contain pectin, a water-soluble fiber which acts as a gelling agent and helps absorb fluids in the intestines.
2. Provides Natural Energy
Bananas have a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that provide a quick supply of natural energy. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of three natural sugars: glucose, sucrose and fructose. The combination of these sugars have great energy potential.
Bananas are one of the few fruits that contain both complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates give you endurance energy and simple carbohydrates give you quick energy. Eating just two bananas will give you enough energy to exercise for 90 minutes.
3. Soothes Stomach Ulcers
Bananas are beneficial for your stomach health in two ways. First, several substances in bananas help produce a thicker protective mucus lining in the stomach that serves as a barrier against stomach acids.
They also help neutralize acidity from foods, which can contribute to the formation of ulcers.
Secondly, bananas contain protease inhibitors that help eliminate bacteria in the stomach, which is one of the main causes of stomach ulcers.
4. Supports a Healthy Heart
Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral electrolyte that is essential for your heart. Potassium travels to cells throughout your body and helps the circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps maintain a regular heartbeat and a proper balance of water in the body.
People who eat diets high in potassium-rich foods like bananas can also substantially reduce their risk of stroke, regulate blood pressure and prevent various heart diseases.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
If you are looking for a food that can help you lose weight, bananas are a perfect choice. They are low in fat while high in fiber and vitamins.
The dietary fiber in bananas absorbs water and takes up a lot of space in your stomach, thereby keeping you feeling full for longer time period.
Plus, they boost metabolism, thanks to their several B vitamins. The naturally sweet taste also will curb your sweet tooth when you feel the urge to eat something sweet.
6. Treats Anemia
Bananas are a good source of iron for people suffering from anemia. Iron deficiency is a key factor in this health condition and eating foods rich in iron will help replenish this essential mineral.
Regular consumption of bananas along with other iron-rich foods can gradually reduce symptoms associated with anemia including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat.
7. Treats Morning Sickness
If you are pregnant and looking for ways to combat morning sickness, grab a banana. The calming properties help replenish the body and restore a healthy blood glucose level. This in turn helps combat nausea.
Pregnant women are advised to eat a banana after waking up in the morning and after each meal. Also, bananas have several nutrients that can help lift your mood and support the physical development of your unborn baby.
8. Promotes Eye Health
Bananas contain vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for eye health. Adequate daily vitamin A intake also lessens your risk of night blindness.
According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three or more servings of bananas per day may also lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36% as compared to those who consume less than 1.5 servings daily.
9. Heals Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites cause a lot of itchiness and are sometimes painful. You can treat these symptoms with banana peels.
Rub the inside of the banana peels on the bite for about five to ten minutes. This will help reduce the itching and swelling. In fact, this simple remedy often works better than the creams or medications you find at the drugstore.
10. Helps Manage Depression
According to a recent survey of people suffering from depression, many of the participants felt much better after eating a banana.
Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, which is known to help you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Furthermore, when suffering from insomnia due to depression, you can eat a banana before going to bed; its tryptophan will help you sleep better.
Bananas also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that increases norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Low levels of these neurotransmitters which stimulate brain activity, alertness and concentration are often associated with depression.
With all the health benefits of this low-cost fruit, add bananas to your grocery list every time you shop. They are a great choice for a healthy sweet snack between meals too.