Why Bananas Pack Such Healthy Punches

21Jul
banana benefits

Aside from being very nutritious, having digestion and heart health benefits, and aiding in weight loss, they are also a highly convenient, versatile snack food.

Oh The Many Nutrients

Bananas contain a fair amount of digestive fiber, as well as several antioxidants to keep our immune system strengthened and fighting on. One medium-sized banana, 118 grams, contains:

  •     Potassium: 9% of the RDI (Required Daily Intake)
  •     Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI
  •     Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI
  •     Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
  •     Copper: 10% of the RDI
  •     Manganese: 14% of the RDI
  •     Net carbs: 24 grams
  •     Fiber: 3.1 grams
  •     Protein: 1.3 grams
  •     Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Each banana contains only about 105 calories, and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas contain almost no fat. With all that they possess, no wonder monkeys can live off of exclusively this super food and thrive!

Blood Sugar Moderator Anyone?

Ripe bananas are rich in a fiber called pectin, which gives the flesh its structural form. Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, a soluble fiber that escapes digestion. Both pectin and resistant starch aid to moderate blood sugar levels after meals, and reduce appetite by slowing stomach emptying. No wonder they often give you such a full feeling.

Furthermore, bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index, with an average glycemic value being 50, meaning they don’t cause major spikes in blood sugar levels.

Digestive Benefits For The Win

Bananas contain mainly two types of fiber:

Resistant starch, found in more unripe bananas, escapes digestion and ends up in our large intestine, where it becomes food for the beneficial gut bacteria.

And pectin, found more in ripe bananas, linked to protecting against colon cancer.

Weight Loss, Yes Please

Bananas contain relatively few calories. An average banana contains just over 100 calories, yet it is also very nutritious and filling. And since bananas are rich in fiber, they are linked to lower body weight and weight loss in regularly consuming individuals. Moreover, since bananas tend to make you feel more full, they can reduce your appetite and eventually, your waistline.

Healthy Heart, Improved Life

Potassium is a mineral that is essential for heart health, especially blood pressure control. Despite its importance, most people are not getting enough potassium in their diet. People who eat plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease.

Bananas also contain a decent amount of magnesium, which is important for heart health and maintaining a regular heart rhythm, among other benefits.

Did Someone Say Antioxidants?

Fruits and vegetables in general contain lots of antioxidents, but banana in particular, contains high levels of dopamine and catechins. These antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases that come with age and varying lifestyles.

Antioxidants help reduce damage from free radicals in the body and lower the risk of an array of diseases.

Who Knew Insulin Sensitivity Was So Vital?

Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for many of the world’s most serious diseases, including type II diabetes. Several studies have shown that 15–30 grams of resistant starch, found in more green bananas, consumed per day can improve insulin sensitivity by 33–50%, in as little as 4 weeks.

Kidney Health Benefits Too?!

Bananas can be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys, also due to their high potassium content. Several studies have found that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease, compared to people who don’t consume bananas.

It’s Also A Great Natural Pre-, During-, and Post-Workout

Bananas are often referred to as the perfect food for athletes, largely due to their mineral content and easily digested carbs. They provide excellent fuel for endurance exercises as well. Eating bananas may help reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness. The reason for the cramps is theorized to be a combination of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which up to 95% the general population reports experiencing.

What An Easy Diet Addition!

Bananas are incredibly easy to transport as a snack. They make a great supplement to your breakfast yogurt, cereal or smoothie. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking. Try it next time you bake a healthy recipe dessert (they do exist!).

Another nice feature is bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants, due to their thick protective skin.

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