Bananas come in different varieties, but we love all of them. Besides being delicious, bananas are also packed with vitamins and nutrients that our body needs. Here is a list of benefits bananas has to our body and health.
Health Benefits of Bananas
If you love bananas then you would surely love to know the different health benefits you can get from eating this nutritious fruit. Here’s a list of 13 health benefits a banana has to offer.
1. Source of Vitamin B6, C and A
The body quickly absorbs vitamin B6 from bananas. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce red blood cells, remove unwanted chemicals from the liver and kidneys, and maintains a healthy nervous system.
Bananas can also provide your body with vitamin C that helps the body absorb iron better and protects the body from cell and tissue damage. Also, vitamin C helps produce collagen for the skin and serotonin for a healthy brain.
Vitamin A is another vitamin that you can get from eating bananas. This vitamin is suitable for your vision and may help protect you from cancer.
2. Source of Manganese and Potassium
The manganese in bananas helps the body produce collagen and protects the skin and cells from free radicals. While potassium helps maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure.
Bananas are known to be low in sodium and contain potassium; if you combine this characteristic (low sodium + high potassium), it can help control high blood pressure.
3. Aids Digestion and Helps Weight Loss
Newly ripped bananas contain resistant starch, which does not digest in your small intestines. This resistant starch passes through the large intestines, which helps with bowel movements. Resistant starch is an insoluble fiber that aids the weight and softness of stools. Bananas can also help gastrointestinal issues like constipation, stomach ulcer, and heartburn.
Although there is no conclusive study done to test the effectiveness of bananas for weight loss, many believed they do. With resistant starch in bananas, you will tend to feel full and reduce your appetite when you eat them.
The amount of resistant starch in ripe bananas is lower than that of the green bananas – the greener the banana, the higher the resistant starch content. However, ripe bananas contain proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber like pectin. Both pectin and resistant starch offer appetite-reducing effects. They also increase the feeling of fullness after meals.
4. Good Source of Energy
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose, and glucose – that give you fat- and cholesterol-free energy source. It is ideal for athletes for breakfast, a midday snack, or before and after sports.
It is also the most convenient breakfast or snack for children. You can add it to yoghurt, cereals, smoothies, and even baked foods. And because of their thick protective peel, you are sure that the banana fruits do not contain any pesticides or pollutants.
5. Contains Antioxidants
Not only are they delicious, but bananas also contain several types of antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins. These antioxidants found in bananas can reduce the risk of heart disease and degenerative illnesses.
6. May Moderate Blood Sugar Levels
Pectin and resistant starch in bananas not only can reduce your appetite by making you feel full, but it may also lower blood sugar levels after meals. Bananas are also in the low to medium rank on the glycemic index (GI).
- The GI value of an unripe banana is 30.
- A ripe banana has a GI value of about 90.
- The average GI value of all bananas is 51.
Please note that bananas should not cause any significant spikes in healthy individuals’ blood sugar levels; however, this case might not be valid for type 2 diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes should avoid eating a lot of ripe bananas. If they do, make sure to monitor their conditions, especially their blood sugar level.
7. May Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Unripe bananas, bananas with green peel, are a great source of resistant starch, known to improve insulin sensitivity. According to several studies, 15-30 grams of resistant starch per day may improve insulin sensitivity by 30-50% in as few as four weeks.
8. Fights Anemia
Another mineral found in bananas is iron. Bananas have high iron content, which is suitable for those suffering from anemia. You can get 0.3 mg of iron per 100 grams of banana.
9. Helps with PMS Pain
A lot of women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), and this is a known fact. If you are one of those, try eating bananas instead of taking pills. As you know, bananas contain vitamin B6, which a study suggests could reduce symptoms of PMS.
According to the same study, the combination of magnesium (Mg) and B6 showed the highest effectiveness in relieving the PMS symptoms. Bananas both contain magnesium and B6, so eating them would bring you relief on those red days.
10. Fight Morning Sickness
Eating bananas is also suitable for pregnant women. Banana is a natural remedy for morning sickness. The vitamin B6 in bananas helps keep nausea at bay, and potassium helps maintain the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance. The blood volume o pregnant women expand significantly in the early months of pregnancy so, it is essential to increase fluid intake.
11. A Hangover Remedy
Yes, you’ve read it right eating bananas can relieve a hangover. When you drink alcohol, it blocks your body from producing an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin helps your body hold on to water, and it typically limits how much urine your kidneys make. This action of suppressing the production of the hormone can lead to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes.
And, eating bananas remedy this problem. Bananas can replenish your body with the fluids and electrolytes it needed because they contain potassium. It is a way of reducing the effects of a hangover.
12. Relieves Itch and Treats Warts
This time the superstar is the banana peel. You can use a fresh banana peel to reduce the itchiness and swellness of insect bites. Rub the inner part of the peel to the bitten area. Although there is no conclusive research report about this, there’s no harm in trying.
Another use of banana peel is to reduce or remove plantar, flat, or common warts. A study shows that taping a fresh banana peel over plantar warts after washing can effectively shrink and eventually remove warts.
13. Soothe or Prevent Stomach Ulcer
The sitoindosides in dried, unripe bananas increase mucus in the digestive tract that acts as a protective coating around the stomach’s inner walls. This protective coating reduces the digestive system’s irritation, helping heal and prevent stomach ulcers.
Bananas can also help neutralize acidity in the stomach. They are an excellent food to get rid of heartburn as it acts as a natural antacid that quickly soothes the burn.
Bananas surely do have a lot of benefits to our body however, as we all know eating too much can also be detrimental to our health. So, always remember to eat in moderation and have a balanced diet. For most healthy people, it is advisable to eat one to two bananas per day (this is considered as a moderate intake).