Who wouldn’t love to eat bananas? This sweet tasting exotic fruit can tickle your taste buds and refresh your mind. Something hard to believe is that banana is the 4th staple food that is eaten all over the world, right after rice, wheat and corn. It is the most consumed fruit in the US; apple is the second most consumed fruit.
Banana is believed to be cultivated way back in 5000 BCE (some say 8000 BCE) in New Guinea. Each year 80 million tons of bananas are produced all over the world out of which less than 20% are exported and the rest of them are used for local consumption. In India and sub-Sahara it is commonly used as a staple food. In Islamic culture banana is considered as food of Heaven.
Bananas are rich in essential vitamins such as A, B complex, B-6 and C. 75% of banana is composed of water
In some of the tropical regions of south-east Asia the fruit and its leaves are used in cooking. Bananas that can be cooked are also known as plantains and are green in color. In English and American cooking this fruit is used to make exotic drinks and smoothies and also used a lot in baking and desserts. Bananas that are used in raw and ripe form are known as desert bananas.
What essential nutrients do the bananas contain? Bananas are rich in essential vitamins such as A, B complex, B-6 and C. 75% of banana is composed of water, and the other important nutrients found in it are potassium, manganese, protein, phosphorous, calcium, iron, carbohydrates and fiber.
Best Food for Improving Digestion
The contents of dietary fiber and carbohydrates present in bananas help to regulate bowel movements which then result in healthy digestive system. It is ideal for getting rid of chronic constipation due to the pectin contents present in it. It helps reduce stomach ulcers and also diminishes the risk of developing gastric cancer. It is a natural remedy for curing acidity in the digestive track due to its antacid effect (personal experience).
Quit Smoking – Take Banana’s Help
You might have tried to quit smoking many times before, but the sick feeling, headaches, stomach cramps, irritation and stress may have forced you to start smoking again. Give banana a chance and try to quit smoking. The rich source of potassium, magnesium and other vital vitamins present in the banana gives your brain a soothing effect whenever it screams for nicotine. It also makes up for the energy levels that you feel to be drained out without smoking and ease out the cramping legs.
Banana as a Mood Fixer and Stress Reliever
Next time, when you feel stressed out or if you would need something to fix your bad mood, try eating a banana. Why? Because the tryptophan contents found in bananas have a soothing effect on the brain. Tryptophan is a kind of amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, which is helpful in stabilizing mood. When we are stressed out our body loses potassium, eating banana could prove to be the best source for maintaining a balanced potassium level.
Improves Kidney Functions
This amazing fruit is rich in antioxidant phelonic compounds; these compounds are beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys. The potassium contents found in bananas also aid the kidneys by reducing the production of kidney stones. It also regulates the amount of calcium that is excreted by urine. Studies by Internal Journal of Cancer also revealed that the fruit reduces the risk of developing kidney cancer if taken 4 to 6 times a week.
The prebiotics called fructooligosaccharide are essential for the absorption of essential nutrients by our body; these prebiotics are present in bananas. It also helps the body to absorb calcium; as a result we get strong bones. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis that many people develop at a later age because the potassium contents found in bananas prevent the loss of calcium by the body.
Reduces Blood pressure
It is highly recommended for the people having high blood pressure to increase the intake of this fruit. The low sodium and high potassium contents make an ideal combination to reduce the chances of stroke and also prevents hypertension.
Banana as a Ready Source of Energy
Banana is a power boosting fruit; the healthy carbohydrates present in bananas helps to increase energy. The reason why bananas are recommended to be taken at breakfast is that they contain all the power giving elements that will get you through the day. It is also recommended for the people executing strenuous workouts. So throw away those energy drinks and eat bananas instead.
Positive Effects on Vision
Eating banana on daily basis can have a positive effect on vision. To avoid the risk of macular degeneration (loss of vision with growing age) 3 servings of banana is suggested per day. A study revealed that out of people who had 3 servings of banana per day 36% didn’t develop macular degeneration at all.
Ideal Food for Dieting
The fruit contains 108 calories, the fiber contents present in bananas are found effective in lowering overeating habits. The vitamin B6 present in the fruit is effective for reducing obesity.
Effective in Diarrhea
In uncomfortable conditions like diarrhea electrolytes are drained out of the body, causing weakness. These electrolytes can be restocked with the help of potassium levels present in bananas.
Good Source of Vitamin B6
There are a number of benefits vitamin B6 has, to maintain body’s health. The vitamin B6 found in bananas has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the risks of developing type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Vitamin B6 also maintains the lymphoid gland functioning, which are responsible for production of white blood cells and thus protects the body from infections. Last but not the least this vitamin also helps in formation of brain cells and proper functioning of nervous system.
Researchers suggest that at least 4 bananas should be eaten in a week to supplement your body with powerful nutrients.
There are a lot of varieties of Banana available in the market; red, green and yellow, but it is suggested to make the most healthy and delicious choice. Bananas with yellow skin and dark spots on them are 8 times more effective in enhancing the functionality of white blood cells than the green bananas.