Your Body And Bananas
The banana is a superfood but this humble “fruit” botanically, is actually a berry! This is because rather than developing from flowers with one ovary, they develop from flowers with multiple ovaries. That is why they’re often found in clusters and categorized as aggregate fruit.
Bananas have often been called “the perfect food,” for good reasons. Not only do they come perfectly packed and you can easily grab one for a snack on the go but they are delicious and contain a lot of what our body needs with no preparation necessary.Here are some of the top health benefits of bananas:
Help to build lean muscle
If your muscles are sore after a workout or their growth is very slow, you might not be getting enough magnesium in your diet. Bananas are a good source of magnesium and can help with muscle contraction and relaxation as well as the combining and production of protein,which in turn, increases lean muscle mass. In addition, magnesium intake helps boost lipolysis, a process by which your body releases fat from its stores. An interesting way to get magnesium is by making banana tea. Just boil some water, cut off both ends of a banana (still in its peel) and boil for 7-10 minutes. Then drain and drink before bed.
Help muscles recover
Many people know that bananas are a prime source of potassium. Potassium happens to be an electrolyte which helps your muscles recover from a workout, strengthens their development, and allows you to work out more. According to WebMD, potassium is a mineral that is important for heart health, mainly by lowering blood pressure by ridding your body of sodium (salts) when you urinate. Potassium can help relax the walls of blood vessels, which will also naturally lower blood pressure. Because potassium plays a buffering role in your blood, it helps keep the bone-strengthening minerals, calcium and phosphorus, from being lost from the bones and kidneys. Numerous studies suggest that having plenty of potassium in your diet helps increase the density, and thus the strength, of your bones.
A source of Vitamin C
Usually when people think about fruits that are packed with vitamin C, they think about citrus fruits like oranges. But citrus fruits are not the only important antioxidants on the market. Like with many other fruits, bananas contain a good amount of vitamin C. In fact, these long, curvy fruits contain about 10-mg of vitamin C, which is approximately 15-percent of what you need every day. Getting more vitamin C can help boost immunity, as well as help your body absorb other essential nutrients such as iron.
Help regulate blood pressure
The combination of a low-sodium, high potassium intake is associated with the lowest blood pressure levels and lowest frequency of stroke in individuals and populations. One of the main causes of high blood pressure is the high level of sodium in the body. Potassium reduces the effect of sodium on the body. Hence, eating bananas could help lower blood pressure due to their high potassium content. You can try eating 2 bananas per day for one week which may reduce your blood pressure by about 10%. Eating bananas for dinner may not be a good idea as they may not digest properly at night. Eating bananas for high blood pressure may not be recommended for everyone, especially those with other chronic health issues or medical conditions with BP. Banana is good for high blood pressure because it has high potassium content which may not be good for conditions like kidney stones. Consult your doctor before adding bananas to your diet if you have other serious medical conditions.
Helps you feel fuller
Ripening, bananas are rich in something called resistant starch, which, as the name suggests, literally resists the digestion process. This feeds healthy gut bacteria, which suppresses the appetite and leads to more efficient fat oxidation. In fact, one study found that replacing just 5 percent of the day’s carbohydrates with a source of resistant starch can boost post-meal fat burn by up to 30 percent! Since unripened bananas are not the best tasting, adding them into weight loss smoothies with other fruits and veggies may mask the taste, making it more palatable.
Reduce bad cholesterol
Bananas contain phytosterols, which are compounds that have LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) lowering effects according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition. Additionally, Bananas also contain Vitamin B6 which is important for many things including heart health, immune health, digestive health, and nervous system function. Fruits like avocados and apples, oranges, grapefruits and bananas can also help lower cholesterol.
Help raise immunity
Bananas potentially can help you fight off common infections. The interesting thing is that the more ripe the banana, the more it can help in this area. A study showed that bananas with dark spots were eight times more effective in enhancing the power of white blood cells than green-skin bananas. Having more white blood cells helps your body resist bacteria, fungi, viruses and other bad things that can make us sick.
Support bowel movements
The high fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel mobility. With 3 grams of insoluble fiber, they help you push out waste better by making stools easier to pass. Bananas are binding for anyone with diarrhea, and they also contain probiotics that are essentially food for the healthy microbes that live in our gut system.
Brain and body benefits
The manganese content of bananas seems to benefit our skin, bones, and even the brain. Manganese is vital to many functions in the body, including proper brain function. Studies have shown that manganese can help prevent conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Some (animal) studies have shown that low levels of manganese appears to be associated with poor bone health and even osteoporosis.
A good source of energy
Many athletes will eat a banana before, during or after a workout: Bananas are rich in glucose, the most easily digestible source of sugar that will provide optimal energy for your run, workout or cycling class. Eating one post workout helps to quickly replenish energy stores that are depleted during a tough workout session. If you’re working out or training for a marathon, then perhaps you should give bananas a second look. Bananas have been called “the perfect food for athletes,” as they are loaded with minerals and easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Bananas may also reduce the soreness and cramps associated with exercise. While there are some disputes to that claim, there’s no dispute that bananas are a helpful source of nutrition “before, during and after” any activity that requires endurance.
Help to detoxify the body
Rich in pectin, bananas are an all natural detox. This gelatin-like fiber sticks to toxic compounds in the blood and flushes them out of the body through the urine. In fact, citrus pectin has been proven to increase mercury excretion in urine by 150 percent within 24 hours of supplementation, according to a study in Forsch Komplementärmed. As a rapid weight loss bonus, research shows pectin can limit the amount of fat your cells can absorb. Pectin can also help to regulate blood sugar. To reap the benefits, pick ripe bananas over green bananas, as the proportion of water-soluble pectin increases as bananas yellow, according to a Food Chemistry study. Try consuming protein and healthy fat with the banana to slow down the absorption of the sugar from the banana into your bloodstream. This is the most effective strategy for keeping blood sugar levels stable, which means consistent energy levels and weight loss.
Bananas are a healthy addition to almost any diet, but too much of any single food, including bananas is not healthy. Bananas are not typically considered a high-calorie food but if the amount we are consuming is causing excessive calories way more than your body needs, it could lead to unhealthy weight gain and other serious health issues. Let’s strive to be “temperate in all things” even with our favorite fruit/berry.