Bananas are one of nature’s superfoods and provide a host of benefits that can promote general health. This fruit is closely associated with the mineral potassium which strengthens the cardiovascular system and can lower blood pressure.
In addition, potassium is an electrolyte that manages fluids in the body and can treat dehydration. Bananas also contain magnesium which benefits various processes within the body, including gene maintenance and protein production from amino acids. In addition, this fruit can promote healthy sleep patterns because it contains the amino acid tryptophan that can increase serotonin levels.
Serotonin helps manage moods and can fight depression. Bananas do not only have a generous serving of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids but can provide a low-fat and natural sugar alternative to regular sweets. The fruit’s smooth texture can satisfy a craving for high-fat foods and is often used in recipes as a replacement for oil and eggs. In addition, their flavor can tame a sweet tooth and can help regulate sugar levels among diabetics and those who are trying to lose weight. These fruits are nutritious and easy enough to digest—that is why it is good first food for babies. It is also a fruit of choice among athletes for the fiber, performance-enhancing natural sugars and the electrolytes bananas provide.
1. Promotes Heart Health
Potassium has been shown in studies to benefit the heart, and banana is one of nature’s richest sources of this mineral. Potassium is responsible for powering the muscles that squeeze blood through the heart and can regulate heartbeat and cardiac functioning. In fact, when there is a potassium deficiency, one of the main signs is an irregular heartbeat and palpitations. Bananas can also help lower blood pressure, and it was found that those who consumed more potassium saw a lower systolic blood pressure numbers of at least 10 points. In addition, eating bananas satisfies cravings for high-fat foods, and provide a healthy alternative for heart health.
2. A good source of Vitamin B6
Not many people are familiar with the importance of vitamin B6, but it has implications for the functioning of the entire body. This vitamin powers hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood to every part of the body.
Therefore, it is important to get enough of this vitamin which is lacking in so many diets. Bananas provide 33% of the recommended levels of this vitamin, which is closely associated with brain health, metabolism, and digestive health.
Bananas can also help manage moods because it provides B6 that provides the body with serotonin that can create a feeling of well-being.
3. Aids Digestion
Fiber is well-known for its benefits to the digestive system. Not only are bananas rich in fiber, but they are a good source of specific types of fiber that are good for gut health and encourage healthy digestion. Unripe bananas create resistant starch which is not digested entirely but is fermented in the intestine by bacteria.
This fermented substance has significant benefits for the digestive system and the intestines in particular.
In addition, ripe bananas contain a fiber known as pectin which manages healthy blood sugar levels by preventing the digestion of sugars to occur too quickly.
4. Provides Vitamin C
Many fruits are associated with high levels of vitamin C, and bananas are no exception. Although bananas don’t have as much vitamin C as citrus fruits, they do have enough to provide significant benefits. Vitamin C is famous for its well-publicized protection against colds, flu, and the ability to fight infection.
Studies have shown that large doses of vitamin C, especially from whole foods such as fruits, can flush out toxins a help reverse the symptoms of the common cold and flu.
Vitamin C also boosts the immune system and can prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
5. Rich in Potassium
Potassium is an important vitamin for cardiovascular health, and it is the nutrient bananas that are most widely associated with. Potassium is an essential macromineral and it is recommended to get 100 milligrams daily.
This nutrient has far-ranging health benefits and can reduce early mortality by 20%. It supports heart health, lowers blood pressure, improves muscle tone, preserves the bones, and prevents kidney problems. Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium.
Most people don’t get enough potassium, and symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, muscle pain, and heart palpitations.
6. A source of Fiber
Bananas are rich in fiber which has been shown to aid digestive health, promote weight loss, and reduce the likelihood of developing certain forms of cancer. The type of fiber that exists in unripe bananas can provide specific benefits.
This fiber is called resistant starch which is not digested entirely, but this undigested fiber passes through the large intestine, and when fermented by bacteria, produces butyrate, which is an amino acid that aids intestinal health.
Ripe bananas have their own type of fiber called pectin which can moderate the rise in blood sugar after eating.
7. Contains Healthy Sugars
When bananas are digested, they produce sugars such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Ripe bananas contain more sugar than unripe bananas generally.
One of the benefits of bananas is that they provide an alternative to sugary sweets, given the number of natural sugars they contain.
In spite of their sweetness, bananas are safe for those who are watching their blood sugar, because the glycemic index is low for this sweet fruit at 42-58. The glycemic index indicates the speed at which the body produces glucose, and a low number is important for the management of correct blood sugar levels.
8. Aids Weight Loss
Bananas can be an important part of a weight loss diet. It is often used in recipes as a replacement for oil and eggs because of the smooth texture. In addition, the sweet flavor of bananas can also provide a healthy alternative to sugar-laden snacks.
The fiber in bananas can make dieters feel fuller. The main component is a resistant starch that exists in unripe bananas. Resistant starch is not digested fully but stays in the intestine. During this process, it can make you feel fuller and can suppress the appetite.
This is the reason why bananas are more satisfying and than more watery types of fruit.
9. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Conditions associated with elevated levels of blood sugar can be caused by insulin resistance. Insulin is produced by the body to digest sugars and problems with insulin levels can lead to serious problems, such as diabetes.
The resistant starch in unripe bananas is the key to managing blood sugar. As little as 15-30 grams of resistant starch daily can cause as much as a 50% increase in insulin sensitivity.
In addition, the pectin in ripe bananas can slow down the digestion of sugars and reduce the amount of glucose in the system.
10. A Source of Antioxidants
The benefits of antioxidants are well-publicized. These substances protect the body from free radicals which are produced by toxins in the environment and can lead to the degeneration of cells and various illnesses.
The antioxidants provided by bananas include dopamine and catechins. Although dopamine is often associated with the regulation of moods, the form dopamine that exists in bananas do not impact the emotions directly but acts similarly to other antioxidants in protecting the body’s cells from decay.
In addition, catechins can help promote heart health and can reduce the incidence of heart attacks, which is one reason bananas are often recommended to heart patients.