Happy Banana Day!!
Isn’t that just bizarre? Banana Day… we make a party out of everything, don’t we? Well, maybe bananas are worth celebrating! Let’s give them a hand then!!
Not only are bananas delicious, but they’re also loaded with nutrients that can benefit your body in so many ways. From supporting healthy digestion to helping you maintain a healthy weight, bananas are a superfood that should definitely be a part of your diet.
- Promotes healthy digestion and blood sugar: Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10% of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 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 curb cravings. Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a form of dietary fiber. A 2017 review published in Nutrition Bulletin found that the resistant starch in bananas may support gut health and help to control blood sugar. Resistant starch increases the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which are necessary to gut health.
- Portable electrolytes: For replenishing energy and electrolytes, bananas can be more effective than sports drinks. A 2012 study published in PLOS One looked at male athletes competing in long-distance cycling races. They compared athletes refueling with Gatorade every 15 minutes with athletes refueling with a banana and water. Researchers saw that the athletes’ performance times and body physiology were the same in both cases. But the banana’s serotonin and dopamine improved the athletes’ antioxidant capacity and helped with oxidative stress, improving performance overall.
- Mental health: Bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body uses to help produce serotonin and melatonin — a compound that helps to regulate sleep, according to MedlinePlus. Plus, vitamin B6 can help you sleep better, and magnesium helps to relax muscles.
- Kidney health: Some evidence suggests that moderate consumption of bananas may be protective against kidney cancer. A Swedish study published in 2005 in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who ate more than 75 servings of fruits or vegetables per month cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40%, and that bananas were especially effective. Women eating four to six bananas a week halved their risk of developing kidney cancer. Bananas may be helpful in preventing kidney cancer because of their high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
- What about the peel? It turns out that the biggest risk from a banana peel might actually be slipping on it! They’re not dangerous, but instead they’re edible and packed with nutrients. Banana peel is eaten in many parts of the world, though it’s not very common in the West. It contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fiber and protein.” According to a 2011 article in the journal of Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, the peel also has “various bioactive compounds like polyphenols, carotenoids and others. It is important to carefully wash a banana peel before eating it due to the pesticides that are usually sprayed in banana groves — also why I only get organic bananas, though that doesn’t preclude them entirely from any type of chemicals.
- Banana overload: Eating bananas becomes significantly risky only if you eat too many. If you eat dozens of bananas every day, there may be a risk of consuming excessively high amounts of vitamins and minerals, too much sugar, and not enough fat or protein to maintain a healthy body. Eaten in moderation, there are no major side effects from bananas. However, eating them in excess (or for those with banana or latex allergies) may trigger headaches and/or sleepiness. This type of headache can be caused by the type of amino acids in bananas that open up blood vessels. Overripe bananas contain more of these amino acids. Magnesium also relaxes the muscles but can be helpful for those who suffer migraine, so sometimes this can be beneficial; it’s dose dependent and more is not always better!
Here are a few fun facts for you trivia nerds:
- Bananas may have been the world’s first cultivated fruit. Archaeologists have found evidence of banana cultivation in New Guinea as far back as 8000 B.C.
- Though the name doesn’t imply as much, bananas are considered berries. Oddly enough, the strawberry, raspberry and blackberry are not true berries in the botanical sense, because they don’t have the three required fleshy layers of a berry, Live Science previously reported.)
- The banana plant is classified as an arborescent (tree-like) perennial herb.
- A bunch of bananas is called a hand; a single banana is a finger.
- There are almost 1,000 varieties of bananas, but all the bananas sold in stores are cloned from one variety, the Cavendish.
- Botanically, there’s no difference between plantains and bananas. But in general use, “banana” refers to the sweeter form of fruit, which is usually eaten raw, while “plantain” refers to the starchier fruit, which is often cooked before eating.
- India is the world’s biggest banana producer, followed by China and then Indonesia.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The relationship between a doctor and patient is an important one, and nothing in this post should be construed as creating a doctor-patient relationship or as providing medical advice. Reliance on any information provided in this post is solely at your own risk.