By Sally Perkins
Discover the Natural Healing Power of Bananas
Delectably sweet. Sumptuously creamy. It’s no wonder the banana is the nation’s favorite fruit with 27.9 pounds of fresh bananas consumed per capita in 2014. And it’s not just their delicious taste that makes them so popular: they come conveniently pre-wrapped in their yellow skins and are available to buy all year round. Yet the greatest value of bananas lies in their nutrition. Jam-packed full of vitamins and minerals, they provide an array of health benefits including powerful healing properties.
What’s in a banana?
A single banana is approximately 110 calories, containing 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium, and are rich in potassium, fiber, manganese, and vitamins B6 and C.
So how can bananas heal? Let’s look at how these nutrients translate into natural healing powers.
Bananas can improve heart health
Potassium, fiber, vitamins B6 and C are all essential to maintaining a healthy heart. In particular, an increase in potassium intake and decrease in sodium intake can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure. The humble banana is the ideal food for such a diet, containing 450mg of potassium, which is 9% of the RDI, and no sodium at all.
Bananas can restore digestive order
After a bout of diarrhea, bananas are recommended to help restore balance to the digestive system. Not only are bananas a good source of fiber, but they also replenish electrolytes, like potassium, which are lost in large quantities during diarrhea.
Bananas can help control your diet
The fiber in bananas is partially made up of resistant starch which escapes digestion in the stomach and passes to the colon. This causes you to feel full for longer and reduces your appetite, so making bananas ideal for weight loss. Some studies have even suggested that resistant starch might help the body to break down stored fat.
Bananas can boost energy levels
Well-known as the athlete’s friend, the banana contains three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose - which, combined with fiber, make the ideal energy snack. Research has shown that bananas are as beneficial as sports drinks for athletes if not moreso as they offer a healthier blend of sugars and the addition of antioxidants and increased nutrients.
Bananas can lighten your mood
The key nutrient involved in this healing power is an amino acid called tryptophan. When you eat a banana, carbohydrates help the absorption of tryptophan in the brain. Vitamin B6 then helps to convert the tryptophan to serotonin which lightens your mood, making it the ideal food for when you are a little down.
Have a banana!
There’s no doubt about it, bananas are a wonderfully rich source of powerful goodness. It’s recommended that just one banana a day is enough to reap the many rewards. Enjoy your banana fresh from its skin, baked to gooey yumminess or frozen to crisp sweetness. It’s no wonder this curved yellow gem is widely recognized as a true natural superfood!