Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. One medium-sized banana provides 105 calories. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. The energy boosting nutrients in bananas are a great way to start your day. They are inexpensive, easy to consume, and can be sliced or frozen to make delicious treats. There are five reasons to go bananas for bananas, but moderation is key.
1. Bananas aid your digestive system in a variety of ways. They contain two types of fiber—pectin and resistant starch. Pectin helps with digestion and resistant starch provides beneficial bacteria for your gut. Dr. Tom O’Bryan recommends bananas as one food to help heal the gut lining. Bananas help to ease constipation, and green bananas help correct diarrhea. They also can be used as a natural antacid by creating a coating on the lining of the stomach to guard against excess acids. Some doctors recommend bananas for patients with Barrett’s Esophagus, a condition caused by acid reflux.
2. Bananas are beneficial for heart and kidney health. They are a great source of potassium and magnesium, both of which are important for heart health. Potassium is also beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys and preventing kidney stones. Potassium regulates circulation, sodium and water retention in the body, and helps lower blood pressure. However, if you are on beta-blockers for heart disease, consume bananas in moderation.
3. Bananas create healthy energy while satisfying our sweet tooth. No wonder athletes use bananas to restore energy before or after a workout. They provide a natural energy source much superior to sports drinks and sugary bars when you need a lift. Bananas can be used as a natural way to sweeten a smoothie or in baking to replace butter, oils, and sugar. The pectin combined with resistant starch help control blood sugar for healthy individuals. Those with blood sugar issues, however, must use them in moderation and opt for bananas that are less ripe. Unripe bananas have a glycemic index of 30 and up to 60 for ripe. The glycemic load is only 11-13 (low to medium range). Foods with a low glycemic load keep blood sugar levels consistent. Unripe bananas actually improve insulin sensitivity. If you crave sugar, eat a banana! This guilt-free option will satisfy those cravings while the fiber makes you feel full enhancing weight loss.
4. Bananas reduce stress and enhance mood. According to Dr. Josh Axe, bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan which is used to produces our happy hormones such as serotonin. They also contain antioxidants that help with the release of dopamine in the brain. The amounts of both potassium and magnesium may reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
5. Bananas can raise your immune system. Livesience.com claims that bananas can help you fight off common infections. It’s the ripe bananas that are 8 times more effective in enhancing the power of white blood cells. And like all fruits, bananas contain vitamin C. Bananas also have anti-inflammatory properties. Although not known as a major cancer-fighting food, enhancing white blood cells, providing vitamin C, and lowering inflammation all help to lower your risk for cancer.
Since bananas are grown high up away from pests and animals and have a thick peel, they are low in pesticide residue. So don’t worry about buying these organic. The sleep doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, recommends making a banana tea from the steeping of the banana peel in water as a sleep aid. Frozen bananas are a wonderful treat for kids on a stick. And there’s never any need to waste these delicacies as they can be frozen and used in smoothies or made into a dairy-free, sugar-free ice cream.
I’ve given you five reasons why we should go bananas for bananas. When the Brant family is together, it’s hard to keep an ample supply in the house. If I didn’t know better, I think we were a bunch of monkeys. We eat at least one daily. And then comes the question, “Who ate the last banana?”
Are you using this easy, affordable staple in your diet? What recipes can you share? And who is the person in your family who always eats the last banana?
For Your Health,