Ok, bananas may not keep you out of the doctor’s office entirely, but bananas do contain vital nutrients to help keep you healthy.
Bananas are rich in potassium, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and plant sterols, just to name a few.
Here are just a few reasons you should consider adding more bananas to your diet:
Cardiovascular Health – Bananas can help with a healthy heart in 3 ways.
- With more than 9% of the RDI of potassium, bananas are essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and heart beat. Studies show a diet high in potassium and magnesium (also found in bananas) is associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced chance of stroke.
- It turns out bananas have healthy fat, although not much (only about 4% of their total calories), in the form of plant sterols. Plant sterols can help block the absorption of cholesterol, there by lowering blood cholesterol.
- Bananas contain 1 gram of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is linked to a lowered risk for heart disease.
Digestion – Bananas contain 2 types of fiber, pectin and resistant starch. Pectin helps regulate blood sugar by slowing digestion, protects against colon cancer, and helps minimize the effects of toxins and heavy metals. Pectin levels drop as the banana ripens, so eat them just after they ripen. Resistant starch is not broken down and absorbed by the small intestine. As a result, it moves into the large intestine where it helps support gut-friendly bacteria. This helps with regularity and supports the immune system. Bananas are also a natural antacid and soothe stomach upset due to ulcers.
Mood – Bananas contain high levels of the amino acid, tryptophan. The body converts tryptophan to serotonin, the “happy hormone (actually it is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter). This can help with feelings of depression.
Sleep – Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which along with magnesium helps you relax and sleep better.
Exercise – Bananas are great for improving exercise performance. Bananas can help reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps both before and after exercise. Some muscle cramping is the result of imbalances in electrolytes, especially potassium which is found in abundance in bananas. The fiber in bananas helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood keeping blood sugar stable while providing the energy necessary during a workout.
In addition, the nutrients in bananas can also: help prevent kidney cancer, protect against macular degeneration, build strong bones by increasing calcium absorption, reduce swelling, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and increase the production of white blood cells.
So, how many bananas does it take to get all of these amazing benefits? One or two bananas each day is all you need to be healthier and happier.
Remember, the greatest health benefits come from bananas the are newly ripe rather than overly ripe or unripened ones.
If you don’t like bananas you can get similar benefits from other fruits such as apples, pears, or oranges.
Now that you know some of the amazing ways bananas can improve your health, here is a delicious banana recipe. ENJOY!!!
Spinach Salad with Bananas
3 cups spinach, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/3 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup pineapple juice, fresh
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- To make the dressing combine pineapple juice, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange spinach and onion on a serving platter or individual plates and top with pineapple pieces and banana slices.
- Sprinkle with walnuts.
- Serve the dressing on the side or drizzle over the salad.
Serves : 2