Convenient, inexpensive, and delicious-bananas are one of
the most popular fruits in the world.
Native to Southeast Asia, bananas are
today grown all over the globe and vary in color, shape, and size. The yellow
banana, green when unripe, is the most commonly eaten variety.
But different stages of the fruit’s maturity offer different
health benefits. So the next time you think you’ve picked up a banana that’s
too ripe, or too green- think again before trading it out for another! From
heart health and weight loss, to beauty care and digestive support, there are
dozens of reasons you should incorporate all varieties of this fruit into your
Benefits of Bananas
- Control High Blood Pressure
Potassium and magnesium are key minerals the body needs to function correctly. Both
play vital roles in maintaining a healthy heart and stable blood pressure.
medium sized banana provides 12% of the recommended
daily intake (RDI) for potassium, and 16% RDI for magnesium, making it an outstanding
source of both nutrients! Getting enough potassium and magnesium has been
linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. For patients with high blood
pressure, foods high in potassium, such as bananas, can be used as a
remedy to help lower blood pressure.
- Promote Weight Loss
coined the “original 100- calorie snack”, yellow bananas are an excellent, healthy, grab"n"go food. Despite being just over 100
calories, bananas are high in fiber- meaning they will keep you feeling full,
for a longer period of time than foods with lower fiber content. This can
decrease your overall caloric intake for the day, making it a great weight loss
Green bananas also promote weight loss. They are one of the
best sources of resistant starch. Resistant
starch differs from regular starch in that it is an indigestible carbohydrate.
Instead of being digested, it functions like a soluble fiber and feeds the
friendly bacteria in your intestines, promoting better digestion. Resistant
starch also has fewer calories than regular starch, yet still satisfies hunger
the same. So, just like with yellow bananas, green bananas increase the feeling
of fullness and result in a decreased appetite.
for Pregnant Women
There are many reasons
bananas are a great food choice for pregnant women. First off, bananas are rich
in folic acid. Folic acid is used to make extra blood your body needs during
pregnancy. In addition, bananas have a high iron content that helps prevent
anemia, which is perfect since the body needs to keep enough blood
for the growing fetus and the mother.
Bananas are also great for preventing, or at least
helping to ease, some of the not-so-fun side effects of pregnancy. The fruits high
fiber content is a great aid to combat constipation. This natural solution is a
healthier alternative for chemical laxatives. As mentioned already with the
BRAT diet, bananas can help take the edge off of nausea, making them a perfect
snack for pregnant women dealing with morning sickness. They also help regulate
blood sugar levels when eaten in between meals.
women have to be extra careful of their salt intake because it can easily cause
the body to retain water and can elevate blood pressure levels. The potassium
in bananas helps the body process salt out quickly, decreasing the chances of
negative salt-induced side effects.
- Boost Energy and Increase Stamina
are composed of three different types of sugars: glucose, fructose, and
sucrose. Glucose and fructose are quickly absorbed into the blood stream and
provide an immediate energy boost. Sucrose, on the other hand, is absorbed
slowly and thus keeps blood sugar levels stable so that they never peak and
abruptly drop. This spares you the sugar crash that can be a result of other
sweet foods, like soda. This longer-lasting energy supply from bananas is great
for increasing stamina and endurance.
Bananas are also a
great energy-booster for
your intellect. Potassium acts as fuel for the brain, making us more alert and
receptive to learning, while magnesium helps improve our ability to focus.
Various studies have shown bananas, rich in both potassium and magnesium, to be
a great snack choice before exams due to their ability to promote
Bananas are chock-full of
nutrients that support bone density. Potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, and
vitamin C are all extremely great for maintaining strong bones.
also contain very high amounts of
fructooligosaccharide (FOS). Fructooligosaccharide is a prebiotic compound that
helps probiotic bacteria to produce digestive enzymes and vitamins. These
vitamins and digestive enzymes promote the body’s ability to absorb nutrients,
especially calcium,which is one of the most important minerals linked to
- Superfood for Endurance
athletes benefit from the carbohydrates (energy) and nutrients found in bananas
for a variety of reasons. The majority of muscle cramps, especially leg cramps,
are a result of dehydration. Potassium helps the body retain fluid and process
salt, eliminating the likelihood of cramps and spasms. Low levels of calcium
and magnesium can also increase chances of muscle cramps. Athletes who eat
bananas regularly provide their body with a constant supply of these essential
Bananas also supply you
with lots of vitamin C- approximately 15% of the RDI can be obtained from just
one banana! Vitamin C is essential for strengthening muscles, tendons, and
ligaments. It also plays a vital role in keeping your immune system strong
under the stress of intense exercise. Vitamin C even helps speed up and promote
the repair of wounds and soft tissue damage incurred by rigorous workouts. It
also plays an essential role in the synthesis of adrenaline throughout training
sessions or performances, such as marathons.
Endurance athletes tend to require more
vitamin B6 as a result of the extra strenuous and lengthy workouts they
perform. Vitamin B6, found in bananas, aids in cell protection and can help
decrease the risk of heart disease.
The carbohydrates in
bananas are simply converted to energy. Quick and easy, bananas are a perfect snack for
before, during, or after exercising.
- Improve Gut Health and Digestion
fiber is known for its ability to promote
healthy digestion. Bananas contain two types of fiber: pectin and
resistance starch. As discussed earlier, resistant starch skips digestion and
serves as food for your gut-replenishing your body by feeding the good bacteria
in your stomach.
Studies have shown pectin can help protect
the body from colon cancer. The pectin content in bananas, however, decreases
as they ripen. So green bananas will offer higher protection for your colon.
particularly yellow bananas, are an easy-to-digest food, and thus an excellent
choice for when you’re sick with an upset stomach. The BRAT (bananas, rice,
applesauce, and toast) diet is highly recommended for both adults and children
dealing with stomachaches, diarrhea, or nausea. Recent studies have even
suggested other fruits be added to the BRAT diet to increase fiber, making
bananas an especially important component of this remedy.
- Improves Mood and Mental Health
is a neurotransmitter often attributed to mood regulation. When serotonin is
released, our mood is
enhanced and we feel happy. While serotonin itself is not found in
food, tryptophan (which the body converts into serotonin) is. And bananas have
a lot of it! Eating this fruit stimulates the body to produce this feel-good
hormone, leaving you feeling happier.
Tryptophan has also
been found to help promote a healthy sleep schedule. Great for those who suffer
from insomnia, eating a banana before
bed can help regulate your sleep pattern. The high amount of B
vitamins found in bananas also have a calming effect on the mind and can leave
you feeling more relaxed and at peace.
- Skin and Hair Care
aren’t only good for eating- they’re also an excellent food for your skin and hair.
of antioxidants, bananas and their peels have a
revitalizing effect on the skin and help repair damaged cells. The peels are
especially good for treating acne. The vitamin A in bananas also helps fade
dark spots and scars on the skin. The banana peel can be directly applied over
blemished areas of the face. Mashed banana combined with other ingredients,
such as yogurt and turmeric, can also be mixed together to form a facemask that
helps prevent acne and brighten the complexion. Adding lemon juice and honey to
the mashed bananas for a facemask will help combat an oily complexion. The B vitamins in
bananas will also help protect your skinfrom harmful free radicals
that can cause premature aging.
This fruit is extremely high moisture content is
excellent for nourishing hair as well. You can make a simple hair moisturizing
mask with nothing but mashed bananas.
The inner side of a
banana peel can also be placed on the eyelids to reduce puffiness. The
potassium in bananas counteracts fluid retention, commonly caused from heavy
salt consumption, riding you of unwanted bags and dark circles around the eyes.
In addition, the peel can be used to relieve itchiness from
irritations such as mosquito bites or skin rashes. Mashed bananas have also
been used as a topical remedy for irritated or overly dry skin.
Improves Male Health
Bananas are full of
potassium, bromelain, and B vitamins- nutrients that all play a vital role in
the production and regulation of sexual hormones. With these natural
aphrodisiac properties, bananas can increase libido, sexual function, and
enhance stamina. Eating this superfood a few hours before partaking in such
activities will provide the fullest benefits.
and manganese found in bananas are also extremely
beneficial for male health, as they both help the body maintain a
healthy prostate. A deficiency in either has been shown to put the individual
at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
How to Include Banana in Your Diet?
are a number of ways to consume bananas. The easiest, of course, would be just
eating the fruit raw. However, you can incorporate bananas into fresh fruit juices or smoothies to
further increase your vitamin intake.
- Bananas can also be
added to a peanut butter sandwich, which is a great way to encourage children
to eat more of the fruit.
- Green bananas are an excellent
cooked snack. They can be boiled whole, with the peel still on, for about 20
minutes. Season as desired, and they’re a low-fat, healthy starch.
can also make delicious green banana fries. Simply peel the unripe banana with
a knife, chop into strips, and deep-fry, for a great alternative to potato
- Banana flour, one of the newest health trends
circulating these days, is a great, gluten-free alternative to less-healthy
white flours. Banana
flour has a higher starch content - which means you can use less flour overall.
The rule of thumb is to use 25% less banana flour than the suggested flour in
any recipe. Try substituting banana flour in a brownie recipe for a much
healthier version of the dessert.