Hiding out behind a yellow skin, they seem like such a simple and humble fruit. But, did you know there are actually some great health benefits of bananas? Yep. Knowing about these health benefits makes the value of this easy to grab food even better!
Bananas are a great first food for children, and a perfect snack option because they are so easy to carry with you anywhere.
Everyone has their “color preference” on when they peel one open too, right? Do you like yours slightly green? How about speckled? Or just plain brown?
A fun way to get bananas in your diet (and get the kids helping in the kitchen) is to dip them in homemade chocolate! I also use bananas in my Chocolate Avocado Pudding to help balance flavors, texture and add sweetness.
7 Health Benefits of Bananas
1. Rich in potassium, fiber and other nutrients
Increasing your potassium can aid in easing muscle cramps as well as helping maintain a healthy blood pressure. Bananas are an easy way to consume potassium, and many adults are deficient in this mineral. A potassium rich diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure, as well as, help prevent heart disease.
The high fiber in bananas can help keep blood sugar levels stable. There are 2 types of fiber found in a banana: pectin and resistant starch.
Other nutrients found include antioxidants, vitamins B6, C, magnesium (also important in preventing heart disease), copper, and manganese.
2. Great for helping with weight loss
A medium banana has about 105 calories. The high fiber and resistant starches in bananas keep you fuller longer. Resistant starches are similar to soluble fiber in that they are not fully broken down and absorbed. Rather, they are broken down into short-chain fatty acids by the bacteria in the intestines.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food increases the blood sugar level. Because a banana has a low to medium gylcemic index, bananas should not cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Adding a banana at breakfast is a great way to start the day and tide you over until the next meal. The greener a banana is, the more resistant starches it contains. Don’t worry if you like them riper, they still contain a proportional amount of soluble fiber.
3. Mood boosters
Bananas contain two important amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine. Both along with vitamin B6 are needed in your body to manufacture norepinephrine. These powerhouses can help you feel less stressed by regulating the fight or flight response. Vitamin B6 (also found in bananas) helps convert the tryptophan into the mood-lifting hormone serotonin.
Bananas are a real food mood booster without a prescription, so adding them to an overall healthy diet will help keep a smile on your face.
4. A help in improving kidney health and prevent kidney disease
Potassium also helps keep kidneys healthy. Studies have shown that those who consume bananas are less likely to develop kidney disease in their lifetime. This decreased risk of kidney disease can be by as much as 50% for those eating bananas 4 – 6 times per week compared to those who do not.
5. Anemia fighters
This wonderful fruit is also high in iron. It is so easy to become deficient in iron, and many of us reach for red meat or leafy greens to prevent or help an iron deficiency. But adding bananas to your diet is also a way to add variety when increasing iron intake.
6. Fuel for your workout (and recovery)
The sugars and carbs in a banana are great fuel for before workouts. They are light enough to digest easily, and you can add some fat with simple nut butters. This fuel will keep you going and it has also been shown to aid in recovery time post-workout and relieve muscle cramping.
Now, you don’t have to be shy about adding a banana to that post workout smoothie or protein drink!
7. Budget friendly and convenient
Due to their thick peel, it is not necessary to buy organic bananas. It is recommended to wash them well before consuming so you don’t transfer any pesticides to the fruit. The peel also makes them easy to take with you.
They are great fresh, frozen, or baked into items. They can even replace (or help you reduce the amount used) sugar in baking recipes. The riper they are, the sweeter taste they will lend to your baked goods.
Are you Convinced of the Health Benefits of Bananas?
I hope this quick look at the health benefits of bananas has convinced you to add them to your diet. Besides being delicious, they are good for you!
HIPPOCRATES SAID, “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD”.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather get my medicine from delicious good-for-me food rather than taking pills!
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