The banana is one of the first plants domesticated by humans and today it is the second most consumed fruit after tomatoes. Technically considered a berry, it is part of the Musa genus that contains around 70 species and subspecies, including more than 1000 bananas.
Bananas are a sweet treat that develops its sugars as it ripens, from starch to fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and potassium , as well as containing adequate amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, and magnesium.
Nutrients in bananas
Bananas may be a sweet treat, but they are packed with shades of needed nutrients. Bananas are the perfect snack, packed in their banana peel requiring no packaging, it is also beneficial for the planet.
As the banana ripens, it becomes more digestible and richer in nutrients. Therefore, to get the most nutrients it is important to consume ripe bananas .
A medium-sized banana (118 grams) includes:
- Energy (kcal) – 105
- Protein – 1.29 grams
- Fiber – 3.1 grams
- Sugar – 14.43 grams
The main nutrients present in a ripe, raw banana include:
- Magnesium – 32 mg
- Phosphorus – 26 mg
- Potassium – 422 mg
- Folate – 24 mg
- Vitamin C – 10.3 mg
Health problems that bananas help heal
Bananas can provide a great deal of energy. So don’t hesitate about whether or not eating a banana is an option. Bananas are a great food that is very useful for our body.
Bananas are much more than a delicious and sweet treat, they are a source of nutrients that provide us with wonderful health benefits. If you still need a reason why you should include bananas in your diet, then you can see its effects to treat different ailments.
What are the benefits of eating a banana and how can they be more efficient than using a drug?
Your body needs energy and it is supplied through diet that contains sugars. Bananas contain three types of natural and healthy sugars that include glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Therefore, one can get enough energy by eating a banana.
They work very well to treat cramps, as they contain high levels of potassium. By eating them, your body can expand and contract more freely. This is particularly important for athletes.
Ingesting bananas during and after exercise is an effective way to reduce inflammation in the body. Banana metabolites work in a similar way to aspirin or ibuprofen, in terms of their ability to decrease inflammation.
Bananas also increase mitochondrial respiration . All of this makes bananas a perfect alternative to conventional sugary sports drinks during strenuous exertion as an effective strategy to enhance metabolic recovery and reduce post-exercise inflammation at the cellular level.
High blood pressure
The lack of potassium and excessive salt intake can lead to serious adverse effects on our body, particularly on blood pressure . One banana contains 460 mg of potassium and 1 mg of sodium.
With extremely high amounts of potassium and very low amounts of sodium, bananas help prevent a rise in blood pressure, as well as maintain proper fluid and electrolyte levels throughout the body.
Bananas also have ACE inhibitory properties similar to antihypertensive drugs, more prominent in ripe bananas.
People deficient or low in potassium have a higher risk of stroke. Potassium-rich foods, such as medium-sized bananas that contain about 350 mg of potassium, can reduce the risk by up to 50%.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, regular intake of bananas as part of the diet can help reduce the risk of developing strokes and death by the equivalent of 40 percent.
The bananas can also help with depression due to the presence of tryptophan, which stimulates the secretion of the hormone of happiness, called serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain, thus acting as a mild sedative which leads to a better mood. Low serotonin levels have been attributed to depression and anxiety.
All you need to do to improve your mood in a few minutes is eat a banana. After its ingestion you will feel calmer and you will get a feeling of satisfaction.
Bananas are also very rich in tyrosine, which synthesizes dopamine. Dopamine, another neurotransmitter, helps nerve impulses within the brain to cross the small gap between nerve cells.
Low dopamine levels have been associated with depression. Eating bananas will help increase dopamine levels in the brain and make you feel mentally good.
They also provide stress relief. During high stress, potassium levels in the body tend to deplete which can have a negative effect on metabolism. Bananas can supply it, since in stressful situations it may be more necessary.
Therefore, eating bananas helps to rebalance potassium levels naturally without using drugs. This is possible because they contain high amounts of potassium that help regulate the water balance in the body and help normalize the heartbeat.
Bananas contain indigestible fiber, a combination of cellulose, hemicellulose, and alpha-glucans. This helps in smooth bowel movement. Diarrhea generally causes the body to deplete important electrolytes, especially potassium.
Bananas contain high amounts of potassium and also pectin, a soluble fiber, which are helpful in normalizing movement through your digestive system. They are a mild laxative, a cure for constipation and diarrhea.
Bananas contain exceptionally high amounts of certain compounds, such as fructooligosaccharides and SCFAs (short chain fatty acids). The fructooligosaccharide nourishes the probiotic bacteria and thus increases their function and increases their numbers within the colon.
This bacterium produces enzymes that increase digestive capacity, the body’s ability to absorb calcium, and protects the body from infections caused by harmful and unhealthy bacteria. SCFAs help increase the body’s ability to absorb calcium more efficiently.
They can also prevent annoying heartburn. Bananas offer a natural antacid effect within the body . Therefore, people suffering from heartburn can eat this fruit as it provides soothing relief. They reduce irritation and acidity by stimulating cells in the inner lining of the stomach.
This stimulation produces thicker mucus that protects against acid. They contain protease inhibitors that help inhibit bacteria within the stomach as these bacteria are the main cause of ulcer development.
Potassium regulates fluid balance in the body, improving heart function.
Bananas contain a lot of vitamin B6, which are very useful during PMS . Vitamin B reduces premenstrual symptoms and can help reduce abdominal pain and improve mood very effectively.
Regular consumption of bananas helps ulcer patients as it has an antibacterial substance that can inhibit the growth of the ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria.
The pectin and vitamin C in banana are effective in healing the damaged digestive system faster. The high amount of serotonin found in bananas neutralizes the excessive amounts of the hydrochloric acid discharge and alleviates the discomfort.
Green bananas have traditionally been used as a treatment for ulcers, they are not only beneficial in reducing ulcer pain, especially from gastric juices, but also help to heal ulcers.
Bananas and bananas alike help in the formation of a layer or lining of the mucosa, decreasing the shedding of cells, leakage and increasing the rate of ulcer healing.
Make sure to consume a banana a day, which you can even combine with other healthy foods in smoothies and shakes or recipes with bananas that can prevent diseases or treat health problems better than a pill, in some occasions, since some medications can have effects side effects that bananas will never have on your health.