Bananas – Are They Better for You Than You Thought?
It seems like we all love bananas. They’re portable and wrapped in their own biodegradable packaging that makes it easy to transport them and not have to worry about cleaning them before eating. From blended in smoothies, to baked in bread, to dipped in chocolate, they are close to being the perfect health food. What may come as a surprise to you however is that the banana benefits go beyond just being enjoyable and convenient to eat. Scientists and doctors have been studying amazing nutrition in bananas and banana health facts for years. What they’ve discovered about this fruit should lead everyone to want to keep them in the snack rotation. This delicious fruit has hidden benefits for you that go beyond just being tasty. Check out these amazing banana health benefits and get ready to crave this fruit even more.
- Bananas might be the new sports snack.
Muscle cramps plague everyone, even athletes. From charlie horses that rip you from your sleep to cramps in the middle of the big game, everyone has dealt with the pain and frustration of muscle cramps. Imagine being able to replace those chalky sports bars and sugary recovery drinks used to refuel your muscles and cut the pain of a cramp with a delicious banana. One of the biggest banana nutritional benefits is that bananas are a good way to get potassium. Muscle cramps can be attributed to low levels of potassium, and bananas are a quick and tasty way to increase these levels. The next time you’re waking up at night with cramps try eating a banana before bed for a few nights. Or even try eating a banana in place of your regular workout snack. Adding some peanut butter or almond butter is a quick way to round out this snack and increase the nutritional benefit of the banana. This is a little known banana health fact that really comes in handy!
2. They’re secretly helping your heart.
Potassium doesn’t just help with decreasing the frequency and intensity of muscle cramps. In fact, a diet high in potassium seems to decrease the risk of stroke, lower cholesterol levels, and a decrease in heart disease. Who knew that the banana fruit could also help protect your heart? In fact, the potassium levels in a banana combined with the low sodium in a banana work together to promote heart health. A medium banana contains about three grams of fiber, with 1 gram of that being soluble fiber. It’s the soluble fiber that scientists and doctors have linked with a decrease in heart disease. Who would have ever thought that the banana fruit had so many benefits? The high potassium levels and high fiber in bananas make this a wonderful choice for a healthy snack that will have lasting benefits.
3. They might be better than carrots for your vision.
Most kids growing up were told to eat carrots to improve eyesight. What’s surprising to a lot of people though is that among the vitamins contained in bananas is Vitamin A, the vitamin that’s in charge of not only improving your night vision but maintaining your normal healthy vision. While carrots are delicious, the nutritional value of bananas is not one to ignore. This banana health benefit is an easy way to make sure to protect your eyes from a young age. Need more vitamins? Some of the other vitamins in bananas include Vitamin C (helps your body produce collagen), Vitamin D (may help protect you from certain types of cancer), and Vitamin K (helps you have strong bones and increases your blood’s ability to clot). The banana nutritional benefits just keep adding up!
4. Feeling sad? Bananas may be the answer.
Yet another banana benefit is that bananas contain a fairly high level of tryptophan (yes, the same thing in turkey that makes you so sleepy after a delicious Thanksgiving meal). When tryptophan enters your body you automatically being to convert it to serotonin. Serotonin is what makes you happy and gives you a feeling of well-being. Who would have thought that one of the nutritional banana benefits would be better mood? Instead of having to rely on doctor prescribed drugs it’s good to know that a banana health benefit is a naturally happier mood.
5. Bananas promote better gut health and a healthy weight.
Remember that one of the banana health benefits is that it contains fiber? With a diet high in fiber your body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest your food and pass it through your body. If you suffer from constipation either infrequently or regularly, you’d be wise to remember that a banana benefit is to help move along the process of digestion and elimination. Eating a medium banana can give you about 10% of your daily recommended dose of fiber. Don’t get caught in an uncomfortable situation. Bananas will help keep your digestive track happy and regular. Low in calories but high in nutrition, eating a banana will fill you up, keep your blood sugar level, and promote healthy weight loss. This is a banana benefit that a lot of people will enjoy as they focus on becoming healthier.
6. A smarter brain as a banana health benefit?
This is exciting for everyone who experiences “mommy brain”, “chemo brain”, or is just tired and has trouble focusing. One of the most helpful vitamins in bananas is Vitamin B6. Bananas are packed with it, meaning that they contain one half to one third of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin B6. When you have a higher level of Vitamin B6 you are able to perform better on cognitive tests, have an easier time remember facts and details, and may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Research is still being done into that as a banana nutritional benefit, but it’s worth chowing down on this healthy fruit just in case.
7. A few more banana health benefits from Vitamin B6.
Remember how good Vitamin B6 is for you? Of course you do – you eat bananas! Besides promoting brain health, the Vitamin B6 that is present in all varieties of bananas helps your body make antibodies. These are important for a strong immune system. If you’re a woman and suffer from PMS you’ll be happy to know that Vitamin B6 helps with decreasing the symptoms of PMS. It may seem like a stretch that eating the banana fruit could make you more comfortable each month, but research shows that it’s true , . The Vitamin B6 is useful in controlling mood swings, which a lot of women deal with monthly, and can also benefit people with mild depression. Who knew that banana benefits would be so far-reaching?
So next time you feel a little off or want to eat a smart snack that will make you healthier, reach for one of the many different varieties of banana. Remember that the nutritional value of bananas goes far beyond its low calorie and low fat status. Chock-full of wonderful vitamins, important minerals, and fiber to keep you satisfied, the banana is always a good choice for a healthy snack. The vitamins contained in this amazing fruit should be reason enough for you to reach past the bag of chips and into your fruit bowl. Keeping these amazing fruits around means you’re only one snack away from reaping wonderful banana health benefits.