Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. Eating bananas could help lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of cancer and asthma. Today, bananas are grown in over 107 countries and is ranked 4th among the world’s food crops in monetary value.
Banana is native to Southeast Asia, but are now grown in many warmer parts of the world.
There are many varieties of bananas, which vary in color, size and shape, and the most common type being the yellow banana, which is green when unripe. Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. It contains the following: Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Carbs, Fiber, Protein and Fat.
Health Benefits of Banana
Heart Health: Bananas are good for the heart since they are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout your body, and is required to keep your heart beating.
Bananas has high potassium and low sodium content, and can help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA.
Depression and Mood: Bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression due to its high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin (a mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter). Plus, vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles, and both are contained in bananas.
Digestion and Weight Loss: Bananas are high in fiber. One banana can provide nearly 10% of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6, contained in banana can also help protect against type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss.
In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps reduce cravings. Bananas also help to sustain blood sugar levels during workouts.
Vision: The fruits contain a small but significant amount of vitamin A, which is essential for improving and protecting the eyes.
Vitamin A is good for maintaining normal vision and improving vision at night, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes around the eyes.
They are an element in the proteins that bring light to your corneas. Like most other fruits, bananas helps in prevention of macular degeneration, an incurable condition, which blurs central vision.
Bones: Bananas are helpful in keeping bones strong. According to a 2009 article in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, bananas contain lots of fructooligosaccharides; some nondigestive carbohydrates that encourage digestive-friendly probiotics and enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Cancer: Some studies suggests that good consumption of bananas may be protective against kidney cancer. A study in 2005, found that women who ate more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40%, and that bananas were especially effective.
It showed that women eating four to six bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer. This is very logical as bananas may be helpful in preventing kidney cancer because of their high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Bananas Fight Anemia: Banana is rich in iron, and it helps strengthen and boost your immune system and blood so it can naturally fight off anemia.
Make You Smarter: Bananas are capable of boosting the functions of your brains, like your reasoning ability. This can be so as a result of the high potassium content found in the bananas that boost and stimulate brain activity.
Bananas Boost Your Energy Levels: Bananas will do an amazing job of energizing you, as they can significantly boost your energy levels which is why they are recommended by many experts for pre-workout consumption.
Health Risks of Banana
When eaten in moderation, there are no significant side effects associated with eating bananas. However, excess consumption may trigger headaches and sleepiness.
Such headaches can be caused by the amino acids in bananas that dilate blood vessels. Bananas can also contribute to sleepiness when eaten in excess due to the high amount of tryptophan found in them.
Banana is a sugary fruit, and eating too many can lead to tooth decay, without proper dental care. Bananas also do not contain enough fat and protein to be a healthy meal on their own, or an effective post-workout snack.
Eating bananas becomes significantly risky only if you eat too many, as there may be a risk of excessively high vitamin and mineral levels in your body.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reported that excess consumption of potassium can lead to hyperkalemia, which is characterized by muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and an irregular heartbeat.
Banana peels: Banana peels are not poisonous, but are edible, and packed with nutrients. The biggest risk from a banana peel might really be slipping on it. Banana peel contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein, with various bioactive compounds like polyphenols, carotenoids and others.
Banana peels are usually served cooked, boiled or fried, though they can be eaten raw or blended with other fruits. They are not as sweet as banana flesh.
Banana Facts That You Should Know
- Bananas may have been the world’s first cultivated fruit, as Archaeologists have found evidence of banana cultivation in New Guinea as far back as 8000 B.C.
- Bananas are produced mainly in tropics and subtropical areas of Africa, Asia and the Americas, as well as the Canary Islands and Australia.
- Bananas do not grow as trees. The banana plant is classified as an arborescent (tree-like) perennial herb, and the banana fruit is considered a berry.
- The correct name for a bunch of bananas is a hand, while a single banana is a finger.
- Bananas are also called plantains sometimes. But in general, “banana” refers to the sweeter form of the fruit, which is usually eaten uncooked, while “plantain” refers to a starchier variety that is often cooked before eating.
- There are 50 recognized species of banana.
- India is the leading producer of bananas worldwide, accounting for 23% of the total banana production.