Natures snack in a pack . . . the banana consists of the sugars, glucose, fructose and sucrose and fiber making them an ideal as a source of prolonged energy. Bananas are sweet with a creamy flesh and packed with essential minerals and vitamins.
Bananas are one of nature best sources of potassium but are also low in sodium and due to this, have the ability for preventing high blood pressure. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration have allowed the banana industry to officially make this claim.
For those women who suffer the effects of morning sickness, snacking on bananas helps keep the blood-sugar levels elevated thereby avoiding morning sickness. They also have a natural antacid effect on the body and eating a banana brings soothing relief.
With their high fiber content, bananas help in restoring a normal bowel function but their high potassium levels also help in restoring important electrolytes which are depleted when one suffers from diarrhea. They also contain a soluble fiber or hydrocolloid called pectin that helps normalize movement through the digestive tract.
The B vitamins in bananas improve nerve function whilst the tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to serotonin which leads to an improved mood. The high potassium in bananas aids in the normalization of the heartbeat and regulation of the body’s water balance. During periods of high stress, potassium levels are depleted rapidly and the ingestion of bananas helps in replenishing the lost nutrients.
For those who suffer from ulcers, bananas are the only raw fruit that can be eaten that helps in reducing acidity and irritation. Bananas stimulate the internal lining of the stomach to produce thicker mucus thus protecting against acids. They contain protease inhibitors which help eliminate the bacteria which are the primary cause of ulcers in the stomach.
With the ever increasing number of cases of kidney cancer annually, it has been found that the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables, especially bananas aids in the protection of the kidneys. Studies have shown that the banana contains high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds which help reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Women who ate bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease when compared to those who did not eat bananas.
Fructooligosaccharides are a compound that nourishes probiotic bacteria in the colon, by producing enzymes that increase the digestive ability and protects against unhealthy bacterial infections. Bananas contain large amounts of Fructooligosaccharides which help in increasing the number and functionality thereby allowing the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Green bananas contain indigestible short chain fatty acids that are nutritious to the cells of the mucosa of the stomach. These cells aid in the absorption of calcium thus aiding in the formation of healthy bones.
Research carried out and published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has shown that 3 servings of banana per day for adults help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. ARMD is the primary cause of vision loss in the elderly.
Bananas which contain high levels of iron aids the body’s hemoglobin function thus helping curb anemia.
The B6, B12 vitamins, potassium and magnesium found in bananas assist the body to recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal for those wanting to give up smoking.
These power packed, nutritious pre-packaged fruit are also linked to studies which show that eating bananas as part of a regular diet help reduce the risk of death by strokes by almost 40%.
Adding bananas to your diet not only promotes good health but a wonderfully sweet creamy taste too. So, blend them in your smoothie, make a sandwich or add them to a salad.