Most of us know bananas are rich in potassium, packed with vitamins, and high in flavor. However, there are plenty of other unexpected reasons to love this popular fruit. Here are 12 of them. Did you know:
1. Bananas Assist With Weight Loss?
Bananas are a nutritious snack option at about 100 calories a serving. But, they’ve got much more than that going for them. The average banana contains three grams of fiber, much more than the 0.9 grams in a plum and the 0.6 grams in a cup of sliced watermelon. With all that fiber, bananas will help you feel full and keep cravings at bay.
Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found you don’t even need to eat one to get the effect. Just sniff a banana when you’re hungry and you can fool your brain into thinking you’ve already eaten one.
2. Bananas Ease Hangovers?
The high levels of potassium in bananas aren’t just useful for aiding organ, tissue, and cell function. This element is one of the valuable electrolytes your body loses on a night of night drinking. Bananas also improve bowel function, so they’ll sort out a hangover-induced upset stomach.
3. Bananas Are Brain Food?
Bananas release energy slowly, so they help the brain stay alert for longer. The high potassium levels also energize the brain, which makes us more alert and receptive to learning, while the magnesium improves focus. Various studies show students improve their exam grades when they eat bananas throughout the day.
You shouldn’t stop chowing down when you graduate though. The Linus Pauling Institute found that the high levels of Vitamin B6 help prevent memory loss in old age.
4. Bananas Give You Energy?
Jamaican Olympic sprinter Yohan Blake reportedly eats 16 bananas a day. Champion tennis players Roger Federer, Novac Djokovic, and Maria Sharapova have also been snapped munching on bananas courtside. So why do so many athletes reach for this superfood ?
It seems they know bananas give you energy, the right way. Every banana contains three different kinds of sugar. Glucose and fructose are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, so they’ll give you an energy boost fast. Sucrose acts more slowly, so it keeps your blood sugar level stable and ensures you don’t suffer the crash that comes with other sweet treats like candy and soda.
Studies back up the science too. The Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab recently found that eating half a banana every 15 minutes during a cycling time trial test aided performance just as much as drinking a sports energy drink at the same intervals.
5. Bananas Boost Libido?
A banana’s sexy shape is your first clue of its natural aphrodisiac properties. Its potassium and B vitamins are essential to sexual hormone production, so eating bananas is a great way to give your libido a lift. No wonder Indians offer bananas to their fertility gods and Islamists call the banana a forbidden fruit!
6. Bananas Can Treat Stomach Ulcers?
Traditional Ayurvedic doctors in India have known of the healing power of dried green banana powder for generations. Recently British research confirmed that the powder contains sitoindosides, an element which increases mucus in the digestive tract. This creates a protective coating which prevents and heals peptic ulcers. Dried green banana pills are available, although eating whole bananas and banana chips are also likely to have some benefits.
7. Bananas are a Natural Heart Burn Remedy?
Almost 40 percent of Americans struggle with the symptoms of heartburn at least once a month. When this health hazard hits, don’t reach for an antacid. Eating a banana is a chemical-free solution to this common complaint.
The extra mucus that prevents and heals peptic ulcers will also protect your stomach from too much acid. The high potassium level in a ripe banana will also reduce the stomach’s natural acidity. Its fiber then speeds up digestion, which reduces the amount of acid the stomach needs to produce.
8. Bananas Lower Blood Pressure?
If your blood pressure’s on the high side, make sure bananas are in your shopping cart. A local study found that eating five bananas daily was half as effective as taking prescription medication for hypertension. This research was supported by an Indian study which found eating just two bananas a day reduces blood pressure by 10 percent in as little as a week. Bananas are low in sodium and high in potassium, so they’re perfect for 67 million Americans suffering the condition.
9. Bananas Help You Quit Smoking?
Why spend money on nicotine patches when there’s a much more nutritious solution? The combination of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12 is a potent mix which fights the effects of nicotine withdrawal. When you feel the urge to suck on a cigarette, just stick a banana in your mouth instead.
10. Bananas Ward Off Neurological Disorders?
Bananas are rich in magnesium, a substance which the body uses to convert dietary fatty acids into a substance in the brain cells called DHA. Researchers have found a link between DHA deficiency and a host of neurological disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
Similarly in 2010, Japanese researchers also found people with diets lacking in vitamin B6 were at greater risk of Parkinson’s disease. This vitamin is known to prevent potential dangerous levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the brain. Preventing all these neurological disorders could be as simple as eating more bananas.
11. Bananas Make You Happy?
Bananas contain tryptophan, a substance which the body converts into the feel-good hormone serotonin. No matter who you are, you’ll enjoy the calming effects and positive vibes this natural mood booster brings.
But it’s especially important for folks suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression, as these conditions are caused by a drop in natural serotonin levels. The National Association of Mental Health discovered people with depression felt better after eating a banana. With chemical antidepressants taking six to eight weeks to kick in, perhaps sufferers would be better off reaching for a quick banana fix!
12. Banana Peels Also Have Benefits?
Banana peels can do much more than offering comic relief in slapstick films. Rub the inside of the banana peel over a mosquito bite to soothe the itch. The inside of a banana peel can also heal planter warts. If you’re free of such health complaints, it’s still worth keeping your peels out of landfill. Instead bury them in your garden; they make a great natural fertilizer.
With all those advantages, why not peel yourself a banana today?