What are the Health Benefits of Bananas?

bananasBananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. Creamy, rich, and sweet, bananas are a favorite food for everyone from infants to elders. They could not be more convenient to enjoy, and they are a good source of both vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Adding a banana to your daily diet has an array of benefits in your body. Bananas help you reach your weight-loss goals, keep your bowels healthy, provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have vitamin compounds for eye health. Keep a bunch of bananas on your desk at work and replenish your stock each week. You’ll be more likely to reach for a healthy banana — instead of heading to the vending machine — if you have a bunch sitting in front of you.

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, potassium, biotin, and copper.

Health Benefits of Bananas:

Potassium
Bananas are among the most convenient food sources of potassium. This mineral is essential for maintaining proper heart function and regulating normal blood pressure.Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of potassium rich foods like bananas in lowering high blood pressure.So much so that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the banana industry to make official claims (much like they would a pharmaceutical drug) of their ability to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Further research by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests eating bananas regularly in your diet can cut your risk of having a stroke by up to 40%.

The potassium in bananas is also beneficial for your kidneys and bones. A good potassium intake suppresses calcium excretion in the urine that can lead to painful kidney stones.This suppression of calcium loss also reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis and brittle bones. A banana or two a day can have some serious health benefits.

 
Helps in Digestion
Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber that helps the food you eat move smoothly through the digestive tract and improves elimination. A couple of bananas may be a healthier choice than laxatives to treat occasional constipation.
Turning to another important element of digestion, bananas are rich in fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). FOS is known as a prebiotic since it feeds the important friendly bacteria in the digestive tract that help us absorb nutrients more efficiently. Bananas are also known to help relieve the symptoms of heartburn. So once again, try reaching for the natural cure with banana rather than antacids.

 
High in Vitamin B6
Bananas are particularly high in vitamin B6. This vitamin is important for creating hemoglobin for healthy blood. B6 is also involved in maintaining proper blood sugar levels, synthesizing and breaking down amino acids and producing antibodies for a stronger immune response in your body.

 
Vitamins and Minerals
Alongside the high levels of potassium and vitamin B6 already mentioned, bananas also have good levels of vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.They are also a source of most of the other B vitamins and smaller amounts of trace minerals like iodine, iron, selenium and zinc.

 

Good For Your Skin
The fruit contains generous amounts of vitamin C and B6, which ensure that your skin remains supple and elastic. Apart from that, bananas also have antioxidants that protect your skin from premature aging.

The water content present in bananas keeps your skin well hydrated so that it doesn’t get flaky and dry. It works as a great moisturiser as well. This is because it comprises vitamin A, which helps your skin recover the moisture it has lost.

One of the best ways to moisturise your skin is to use a mashed banana and liberally rub it all over your face and neck. After leaving the pulp on your face for about half an hour, wash it off. You also treat pigmented skin with bananas. Simply add a tablespoon of honey to banana pulp and apply it on your skin. Have to go to an important function and don’t have time to visit the parlour? Simply take a banana and add yogurt, honey and almonds to it. Make a paste and apply it all over your face. Not only will this moisturise your face but also remove excess oil and add a glow to your skin.

For those who want to get rid of marks and scars left on the skin due to acne and pimples, bananas are a helpful aid. The vitamin C they contain lightens blemishes caused by skin aggravation. Bananas also work as great exfoliators. Simply mix jaggery and mashed bananas together and use the paste as a scrub on your face and neck.

 

A Hangover Cure
Bananas are a great hangover food for mornings when you’ve overdone it a bit the night before. A couple of bananas in a blender with ice, some berries and coconut milk or organic cow’s or goat’s milk makes a really good recovery drink.

 

Diabetes
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

 

Preserving memory and boosting mood

Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.

 

Athletic performance Boost in Energy Level
The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates in bananas has made them a favorite fruit among endurance athletes. Their easy portability, low expense, and great taste also help support their popularity in this exclusive group.

A 2012 study of distance cyclists found that eating the equivalent of about one half a banana every 15 minutes of a three-hour race was just as good at keeping energy levels steady as drinking an equivalent amount of carbohydrate and minerals from a processed sports beverage. Bananas have long been valued by athletes for prevention of muscle cramps. Since bananas are a good source of potassium, and since low potassium levels are known to contribute to risk of muscle cramps, it is logical to think about the potassium content of bananas as being the reason for fewer muscle cramps after consumption of bananas. There is actually some recent research in support of this reasoning. In a recent study, consumption of one or two bananas prior to an hour of exercise was shown to keep blood potassium levels higher after the training. But there are still some big unanswered questions here, since researchers are not convinced that low potassium levels are the most frequent cause of muscle cramps with training.

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