ananas' health benefits make bananas one of the most nutritious fruits in the world. And the fact that bananas taste good makes bananas all the more popular. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep healthy and fit. Bananas can also help overcome or prevent a number of illnesses and conditions such as depression, stroke, cancer, anemia and ulcers, making bananas a must to add to our daily diet.
Did you know that a banana milkshake is one of the quickest ways of curing a hangover?
And did you also know that bananas can help you quit smoking?
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Bananas are relatively high in iron, which helps the body's hemoglobin function. The most common cost of anemia is iron deficiency.
Due to their content in fiber, they help restore a normal bowel function. In addition, diarrhea usually depletes your body of important electrolytes, the most important of which is potassium contained in high amounts in bananas. They also contain pectin, a soluble fiber (hydrocolloid) that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract.
Eating bananas frequently can increase our body's ability to absorb calcium. In addition, green bananas contain indigestible short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are very nutrient to the cells that make up the linings of the intestines. When these cells are well-nourished and healthy, the body's ability to absorb calcium becomes much more efficient.
Research studies published in the International Journal of Cancer show that frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, cabbage and root vegetables, may reduce risk of kidney cancer. This is because bananas and many root vegetables contain especially high amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Bananas are extremely high in potassium (a big banana has about 478 mg and very low in sodium - 1 mg), which is a perfect ratio for preventing high blood pressure. The US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claim that bananas have an ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of your regular diet reduces the risk of stroke by 40%.
Ripe bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood-sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. Banana nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, as well as potassium and magnesium help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Ripe bananas are considered the most effective home remedy for gastritis and peptic ulcers. Bananas help reduce acidity and reduces irritation in the stomach lining and contain protease inhibitors that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of ulcers.
Research published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has proven that adults consuming at least 3 servings of fruit per day have a reduced risk (by 36%) of developing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
Bananas are high in potassium, which helps normalize the heartbeat and regulate the body's water balance. During periods of high stress, our body's potassium levels tend to be rapidly depleted: eating bananas is a healthy way to re-balance them without using drugs.
Bananas are high in B vitamins that have been found to improve nerve function. Also, studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods, like bananas, every two hours to keep levels steady.
Bananas are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin A and, combined with bananas' high potassium content, it is ideal to strengthen the mind. Eating bananas frequently can help delay senility.
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
- One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
- Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
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With all the goodness of bananas, don't you think it's time to change that well-known phrase to say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away."
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