What are the health benefits of eating bananas?
Bananas are the world’s most popular fruit, and found in almost every home. Can you imagine a fruit bowl without a banana?
Originating in South-east Asia, more than 500 varieties are grown in all tropical regions of the world. But they are not actually grown on a tree. In fact they are a giant herb, from the same family as lilies, orchids and palms, that grows up to 15 metres.
Today they are the world’s biggest selling fruit, even more popular than apples and oranges. Why are they so popular? Perhaps it has something to do with their bright yellow color, the fact they are so easy to eat and taste delicious or perhaps it has something to do with the amazing health benefits of bananas.
Many people erroneously believe bananas are “fattening” and “high in sugar”. This myth probably arose due to the fact that bananas contain less water and more carbs than other fruits. It is these carbs that give bananas their energy giving properties and explains why they are so popular among sportspeople and the physically active. But the fact is one serving only contains about 100 calories. And eating a banana will leave you feeling full for longer, which makes them a healthy between-meal snack.
Bananas are a nutritional
goldmine. Low in fat and high in fiber, they also contain vitamins A,
C, E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, B12, potassium and
manganese. Popular with sportspeople, they are consumed in great
numbers after intense exercise to replace lost nutrients.
Health Benefits of Bananas
- Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium. In fact one banana provides us with 10% of our daily potassium needs. This is an essential ingredient for regulating the heart and nervous system. Potassium is essential for proper muscle functioning and ensures the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion and muscular movements.
- This high potassium content also benefits
the kidneys and bones, minimizing the risk of kidney stones and the
loss of calcium from the body.
- Bananas contain tryptophan, one of 20
amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. The body does
not produce tryptophan naturally, it has to be obtained through food,
and bananas are one of the easiest ways to get it. Tryptophan helps the
body to produce serotonin which acts as a mild sedative or mood
- Bananas are one of the highest sources of
Vitamin B6, also called Pyridoxine. This vitamin helps maintain
healthy brain function, normal nerve function and is necessary for the
metabolism of red blood cells in the body. It is an essential
ingredient for the proper functioning of the immune and nervous
systems. Vitamin B6 assists the body in converting tryptophan to
- A good source of dietary fiber, one
banana contains 16% of our daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber rich
diets have been proved to lower the risk of coronary heart disease and
Type 2 diabetes.
- They also contain substances called
protease inhibitors which help to eliminate the bacteria that cause
stomach ulcers, which is why they are recommended when ulcers or the
risk of ulcers is present.
Health Benefits of Bananas