Bananas are the most popular fruit. In the United Kingdom alone, people eat on average 100 bananas per year. But bananas don’t just taste great; the popular yellow fruit has many benefits for our health and well-being. You may already know that bananas are rich in valuable nutrients. But did you know that bananas can help lower blood sugar levels, assist with weight loss, and even boost your mood? Find out about the many health benefits of bananas!
Bananas are loaded with plenty of essential nutrients. They are exceptionally rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, and manganese, among many others. They also contain a variety of vitamins including vitamin C and vitamin B6. In addition, bananas contain valuable fibres and carbohydrates. Unripe bananas contain more of the beneficial dietary fibre pectin while ripe bananas contain resistant starches that come with their own benefits. When bananas ripen more, the starch is converted into sugar, which gives the fruit its sweet taste.
Bananas are especially high in potassium. A medium-sized banana (118g) contains about 420mg of potassium, which makes bananas a true superfood. Potassium is uniquely valuable for promoting heart health and plays a role in regulating blood pressure. People who eat a potassium-rich diet have up to 27% lower risk of heart disease. The magnesium in bananas is also supportive for healthy heart function.
Both ripe and unripe bananas contain dietary soluble fibres that have been shown to moderate blood sugar levels. Bananas are very low on the glycaemic index for foods, which means that they don’t cause a big increase in blood sugar when consumed by non-diabetic individuals. Another benefit from the high fibre content is a reduction in appetite, so you can feel more full, faster.
There are two types of dietary fibres in bananas: pectin and resistant starch. Both decrease as bananas ripen. A medium-sized banana contains about 3g of dietary fibre. Medicinal studies suggest that pectin may help protect against colon cancer. The resistant starch in bananas has been shown to be beneficial for microorganisms in the gut, assisting with our digestive health.
There are many reasons why bananas make a perfect food if you want to lose weight. Despite their sweet and fruity taste, they have relatively few calories; the average banana has just over 100. Because of their rich fibre content, bananas make you feel full and can reduce your cravings. This, along with their valuable nutrients, makes bananas an excellent snack if you want to shed some weight.
Athletes love bananas because they contain plenty of minerals and easily-digestible carbohydrates. The minerals in bananas also help reduce muscle cramps and general soreness from exercising. Because of these benefits, bananas are a great food before, during, and after exercising!
Bananas can help you breathe easier! According to a British study performed in 2007, just one banana a day helped children decrease the chance of developing asthmatic symptoms by 34%.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition that leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, and paleness. It is caused by a lack of iron, often because of blood loss or pregnancy. Those who suffer from anaemia can take advantage of the high iron content in bananas. In addition to being rich in iron, bananas also contain folic acid and B12, which also aid in the treatment of anaemia.
Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for robust health. Studies suggest that tryptophan plays a role in preserving memory functions. What’s more, research has shown that tryptophan leads to fewer depressive symptoms and anxiety. In short, eating bananas can boost your mood!