The health benefits of banana include helping with weight loss, reducing obesity, curing intestinal disorders, relieving constipation, and curing conditions like dysentery, anemia, tuberculosis, arthritis, gout, kidney and urinary disorders. Banana can also help with menstrual problems and burns. It is good for reducing blood pressure, protecting heart health, boosting metabolism and immunity, reducing the severity of ulcers, ensuring healthy eyes, building strong bones, and detoxifying the body.
What is Banana?
Bananas are elongated, slightly curved edible fruits with a fleshy outer peel that can be easily removed to expose the white to yellow flesh. They grow in clusters near the top of the fruiting plant, and come in a range of colors, including green, red, yellow, and brown (when ripe). A banana tree is the largest flowering herbaceous plant in the world. The scientific name of bananas is Musa acuminata. The fruit of the banana tree is eaten directly when ripe or is included in fruit salads, juice, and shakes. Unripe bananas can cause severe indigestion and should be eaten only in a cooked form. Also, bananas make a good topping for breakfast cereals or a snack for a quick burst of energy. Bananas are now grown in more than 100 countries around the world and can also be used to make fiber, banana wine, and are included in ornamental decorations.
The main distinction between bananas and plantains is that plantains are smaller, starchier, and denser fruits and are traditionally eaten in Asia and other tropical countries. Bananas are more commonly found in Europe and America and are soft, desert fruits.
One serving or 126 grams of banana contains 110 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates. They are a rich source of protein, potassium, and dietary fiber. They have zero fat and cholesterol, as well as negligible sodium. Thus, bananas have been considered one of the healthiest options for fruit consumption for many years.
Their impressive nutritional content includes vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, and niacin, as well as trace amounts of other vitamins. Bananas also contain minerals like phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
Health Benefits of Banana
Banana has many amazing health benefits, they include the following:
Lower Blood Pressure
Bananas are a rich source of potassium, so they reduce blood pressure. By relieving the tension on arteries and veins, blood can flow smoothly through the body and oxygenate various organs to increase their function. This can help eliminate atherosclerosis and the subsequent strokes and heart attacks that are so commonly associated with it. The fiber in bananas also scrapes excess cholesterol from the arteries and blood vessels and further reduces stress on the cardiovascular system.
Bananas contain significant amounts of dietary fiber and therefore help in smooth bowel movements. The roughage soothes the excretion process and relieves a person from constipation. They also help in treating other intestinal disorders.
Prevents Colo-rectal Cancer
The high fiber content in bananas help bulk up the stool and stimulate the body’s peristaltic motion, which facilitates bowel movements through the intestinal tract. This can help prevent colo-rectal cancer and reduce unhealthy digestive conditions.
A banana provides about 3 grams of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for both type-1 and type-2 diabetics. Type-1 diabetics may have lowered blood glucose levels and type-2 may have improved blood glucose levels.
Preserves Memory and Boosts Mood
The amino acid tryptophan in bananas plays a vital role in boosting mood and preserving memory. Additionally, magnesium helps relax muscles and vitamin B6 helps you sleep well.
Bananas contain high iron content and therefore aid in treating anemia since iron is an essential part of red blood cells. Bananas also have a significant content of copper, which is an important element in the creation of red blood cells. By increasing your red blood cell count, not only do you prevent anemia, but you can also increase circulation to all parts of the body, thereby oxygenating them and optimizing their functionality.
Aids in Weight Loss
Bananas are useful for weight loss as one banana has approximately only 90 calories. They contain a lot of fiber as well and are easy to digest. Furthermore, they do not contain any fats. Therefore, an overweight person does not have to eat too much if their diet contains bananas because they are very filling. The roughage will also not make the person feel hungry by inhibiting the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. This will reduce overeating and also help in weight loss.
The presence of fructooligosaccharide, a prebiotic, is a beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract that boosts the intake of minerals and nutrients by the body. Bananas are also linked to an increased absorption of calcium. Calcium is the most important element in the production and regrowth of bone matter in the body. It reduces our chances of getting affected by osteoporosis and natural weakness.
The compounds inside bananas are anti-inflammatory in nature, meaning that they can reduce swelling, inflammation, and irritation from conditions like arthritis and gout.
Bananas, like many other fruits, are packed with antioxidants and carotenoids, as well as a healthy mix of minerals that can seriously boost the health of your eyes. Macular degeneration, cataracts, night blindness, and glaucoma have all been shown to decrease with normal intake of bananas and other similar fruits.
Promotes Weight Gain
Bananas can be useful for weight gain. When consumed with milk, bananas help increase a person’s weight rapidly. Milk provides the necessary proteins and bananas provide the sugars. Furthermore, since bananas are easily digested, an underweight person can gulp down 5-6 bananas in a day apart from the regular meals without facing indigestion. This leads to an additional intake of 500-600 calories, which is quite necessary for weight gain. Since bananas have the ability to provide instant energy, sportsmen eat bananas during the breaks in between games for an extra surge of energy.
Treats Piles (Hemorrhoids)
Bananas have been used as a natural remedy for piles as the high fiber content makes it easy to pass stools. The laxative effect prevents any kind of strain, thus providing relief and curing hemorrhoids (swollen veins around the anus region).
Traditionally, bananas have been used as an antacid food to soothe upset stomachs as they can also suppress acid secretion. The protease inhibitors in bananas eliminate the harmful bacteria that have been linked to the development of stomach ulcers.
Prevents Kidney Disorders
Potassium and various antioxidants in bananas help ease the strain on kidneys and encourage urination. This can help keep toxins from accumulating in the body.
Relieves Menstrual Problems
Cooked banana flowers help in providing relief from painful and excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle and can relieve other menstrual distress too.
The Morning Banana Diet for weight loss became so popular that it lead to the shortage of bananas in food stores of Japan. This diet plan involved consumption of unlimited bananas with water in the morning, unrestricted lunch and dinner but no deserts. And no eating after 8:00 pm.
Uses of Banana
For a more balanced diet, you can have the fruit of banana in any of the following ways:
- Add a banana to your bowl of cereal, oats or muesli to increase the nutrients.
- Add frozen bananas to your smoothie for a delicious flavor.
- Add ripe mashed bananas in baked goods. It is a good replacement for oil and butter in cooking.
- Add banana in cakes and cookies. It gives them a yummy taste.
- Coat the banana with grated coconut and bake it. Enjoy it as a snack or you can freeze it and have it for dessert.
- Peel off and have it directly
Different parts of banana are used for cooking in different countries. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked. Some also eat the peel or the skin of the banana, which are also nutritious. The banana heart (flower) is also used in various curries and soups. The banana leaves are used as wrapping materials for baking and boiling various dishes. They are also used as biodegradable plants or containers. The trunk of the plant is also used in a Burmese dish called mohinga, which is a rice noodle with fish soup.
Side Effects of Banana
Consuming banana may have some side effects like:
- High potassium levels: Certain medicines consumed for heart disease and hypertension have the ability to raise potassium levels in the body. These include beta-blockers and diuretics. Therefore, those on medication are advised to consult a doctor before adding bananas to their diet.
- Allergy: Those who are allergic to bananas may experience itching, swelling, hives, and wheezing in the throat and mouth.
- Migraine: Those you get frequent migraine attacks are advised to have no more than half a banana a day.
- Gastrointestinal distress: Due to the abundant amount of fiber, eating too many bananas may cause various gastrointestinal disorders. These include stomach cramps, bloating, gas, and many more.