Did you know that a banana can cheer you up? Or that it can help you focus on your next assignment? You’ve probably been eating bananas your whole life without realising the multitude of health benefits they provide. Read on to learn more about the world’s most ubiquitous fruit.
1. Provide fuel for your day
Need a boost of energy in-between meetings and throughout pivotal moments in your day? Do as the professionals do – athletic professionals, that is. Tennis players like Rafael Nadal, one of the highest-ranked tennis players in the world, are constantly spotted eating a banana during quick game breaks. Why? Bananas instantly boost your energy and keeps you going at a steady and consistent level, unlike many other snacks that will have you feeling low after an initial boost.
This is because bananas contain sucrose, fructose, and glucose, which are all natural sugars that provide a fat and cholesterol free source of fuel. Do yourself a favour next time you’re feeling that energy lag at work and grab a banana, which can be handily stored at your desk and devoured in seconds.
2. Keep things moving along
You know what they say: a banana a day keeps constipation at bay! Wait…what? Yes, eating at least one banana a day as part of your diet will help improve your digestion as these fruits are loaded with dietary fibre. One medium-size banana contains roughly 4 grams of fibre, providing approximately 10-12 per cent of your daily fibre needs.
Both soluble and insoluble fibre are found in bananas which act together as a powerful team to help regulate your bowel movements and keep your gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
3. Improve your mood
Yes, this yellow jacket-wearing fruit can perk up both your colon and your spirit! High levels of tryptophan are contained in bananas, which are converted to serotonin in your brain. This provides a soothing affect as serotonin is one of those heavenly mood-elevating neurotransmitters which we all want more of.
Not only does serotonin enhance your mood, it also promotes good sleep and makes you alert as concentration is improved. This makes bananas ideal for students or anyone needing help improving their focus throughout their day.
4. Get glowing skin
Want smooth, radiant, firm skin? Instead of walking over to your nearest cosmetics counter, go pick up a bunch of bananas and eat your way to youthful skin! Not only do bananas help you get your beauty sleep, they nourish and heal your skin.
Bananas are rich in antioxidants, nutrients and phytochemicals which fight free radicals that cause premature ageing. Want an even more dramatic impact? Make one of these easy DIY banana masks, or follow the easy-as method below. Banana skins have been used frequently across the globe to treat skin conditions and improve skin tone and texture as their zinc and lectin properties fight acne-triggering bacteria.
5. Guilt-free indulgence
Delightfully sweet and surprisingly filling, bananas are a smart snack that promotes weight-loss. Not only do they fuel your workouts, they do so without deducting many calories from your daily intake. The average banana has around 110 calories and is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and blessedly guilt-free.
6. Real convenience
Bananas are the ultimate hassle-free food. There’s a reason they are the world’s most commonly consumed fruit: they’re cheap, available year-round, portable, and can be stored easily. The options for eating bananas are truly endless. They make a great addition to many recipes (chiefly baked goods!) and are a key ingredient in many breakfast items, particularly smoothies.
Bananas put the smooth in smoothie, providing that perfect texture and their flavour complements a great variety of fruits and vegetables, making them a staple ingredient. Here are some delicious smoothie recipes that put to use the infamous creamy fruit.
7. Heart appeal
While many of these nutritional facts may have been novel to you, you probably have heard on occasion how bananas are rich in potassium. This essential mineral is, well, essential to maintaining normal blood pressure and one medium-sized banana contains a whopping 400mg of potassium! Bananas are also low in sodium. This high potassium and low sodium mishmash helps reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack by maintaining water balance and detoxifying your body.
8. Boost Your immune system
Vitamin B6 is part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in the body and is critical in how your immune system operates. Can you guess which uber-convenient, delicious, and affordable fruit is high in Vitamin B6? That’s right: Bananas. They contain 30 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 and help produce many of the antibodies you require to fight off disease and illness. Bonus points for pregnant women, as Vitamin B6 will help meet your baby’s development needs.
9. An unexpected source of Vitamin C
Oranges and other citrus fruit are often promoted as the ultimate sources for Vitamin C, but a medium-sized banana provides 15 per cent of your daily requirement getting you well on your way to meeting this quota! Vitamin C supports the production of collagen, found in your skin, and used to hold you cartilage, ligaments and tendons together. It also supports your immune system and according to new research can even kill cancer cells making bananas the ultimate superhero fruit!
10. Replenish your magnesium levels
Is your alcohol consumption, say, excessive? Of course not. But if it is than you probably have low magnesium levels. In fact, many people are deficient in magnesium as it is under-diagnosed, remaining undetectable in blood tests. Magnesium is yet another essential mineral found in bananas and it helps your heart, muscles, and immune system function properly.
Anxiety, fatigue, headaches, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and constipation are all the results of low levels of Magnesium so this is a nutrient we need in our diets, whether it be in the form of banana bread, banana pancakes, or one of those delicious banana smoothies.
So, are you bananas about bananas yet?