When you think of banana benefits, you may only think potassium and its relation to muscle cramps. However, bananas are full of other vitamins and minerals that support your health in many other ways.
Health Benefits of Bananas
Read on to learn about how this cheap, tasty, and convenient fruit can help support your overall health.
1. Heart Health
Thanks to that potassium that so many people associate bananas with, this fruit helps keep your heartbeat regular. According to the FDA, bananas may also help protect you against high blood pressure. In addition, the sterol found in bananas can help prevent the absorption of dietary cholesterol, reducing your risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The soluble fiber found in bananas further increases their heart-healthy benefits as this fiber can help lower your risk of heart disease.
Bananas are high in tryptophan, which can helps create serotonin and sends signals to your brain to elevate your mood. Vitamins are also high in vitamin B6 and magnesium, both of which help you relax and regulate your sleep, further contributing to a positive mood. The potassium in bananas also helps regulate nerve impulses, which can greatly benefit those suffering from depression.
3. Digestion and Weight Loss
Since they are high in fiber, bananas not only help keep you regular but they also help you feel fuller. This reduces your hunger and helps you make smarter food choices for your next meal or snack. The vitamin B6 in bananas can also help fight type 2 diabetes and may aid in weight loss. Since bananas are easy to digest, they may also help soothe an irritable bowel and get the healthy juices flowing again.
Furthermore, the manganese found in bananas may help regulate your metabolism, further contributing to a healthy weight. Bananas also help coat the stomach, preventing and soothing ulcers.
Bananas also contain vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin when it comes to the health of your eyes. Vitamin A specifically works to maintain your normal vision and protect the membranes around your eyes, in addition to preventing macular degeneration.
5. Bone Health
According to research, the fructooligosaccharides found in bananas are carbohydrates that improve the body’s calcium-absorbing abilities. By improving calcium absorption, bananas help keep your bones strong and healthy, which is especially important for children and older adults.
6. Cancer Prevention
There are some studies that suggest consumption of bananas may help protect against kidney cancer. While all fruits and vegetables are helpful in fighting cancer, a Swedish study suggested that bananas in particular helped women and men both cut their risks of kidney cancer, with the highest benefits being realized by the female test group. This is likely due to the high levels of phenolic compounds found in bananas. Bananas are also high in antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals and chronic diseases.
7. Immune Support
Like many fruits, bananas contain a decent amount of naturally occurring vitamin C. One banana can deliver about 15% of your recommended daily value of the vitamin. Vitamin C is crucial in immune system health and it also helps regulate absorption of other key nutrients, such as iron.
Adding Bananas to Your Diet
Bananas are fairly easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Keep plenty of organic bananas around for you to munch on in the morning as a low-calorie and fiber-full way to get your metabolism going. You can also incorporate bananas into many breads, cakes, and muffins. Or, top your cereal or oatmeal with a few slices of banana. Perhaps the tastiest way to enjoy bananas is to add fresh or frozen bananas to your fruit smoothie.
Bananas are full of many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are imperative for your body to be healthy. Among those already mentioned are vitamins B6 and C, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Bananas also contain carbohydrates which provide your body with immediate energy.
While there are few risks that come with eating bananas, it is important to remember that too much of anything is a bad thing. Shoot for one banana per day on a regular basis, and make sure you continue to mix in a variety of other fruits and vegetables. While bananas are full of health benefits, those benefits will go to waste if you are not maintaining a well-balanced diet.