Bananas are the most widely purchased fruit on the planet and this is no coincidence. Remember the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, compared to apples, bananas have five times the vitamin A and iron, four times the protein, three times the phosphorus, and twice the carbohydrates, vitamins and other minerals. So maybe it’s time to change that well-know phrase.
Reduces the risk of Heart Diseases and Blood Pressure – An average banana has about 4g of potassium, which is almost 13% of the suggested daily allowance for an adult. Potassium is an essential mineral that interacts with sodium to regulate the body’s balance of fluids. It is also necessary for the muscle contraction and proper functioning of the heart, and the nervous system.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer – A study by the Internal Journal of Cancer illustrated that the probability of kidney cancer is lowered by frequent consumption of vegetables and fruits, especially bananas. The study showed that the probability in developing kidney cancer in females decreased by 50%, by eating bananas four to six times a week.
Protects the Stomach and Reduces the Risk of Ulcers – Bananas help protect and maintain the stomach in two ways. They first trigger the creation of mucus in the stomach which forms a protective barrier against stomach acids. Secondly, bananas possess a substance called protease inhibitors, which breaks down bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers. Protease inhibitor also fights against the replication of certain cells and viruses including HIV.
Keeps Bones Healthy – High amounts of sodium in a diet causes excessive amounts of calcium to be lost through urine, which reduces the strength and general health of the bones. The high amount of potassium found in bananas neutralizes the sodium in our diet, therefore allowing the calcium to remain in our body and help preserve and strengthen our bone structure.
Gives a Boost of Energy – Bananas contain three natural sugars; sucrose, fructose and glucose. Eating bananas can give you a quick energy boost that can help you when you exercise in the gym or play your favorite sport. That is why you see Tennis players munching on those bananas during a tennis match.
Reduces Menstrual Pains and Helps Depression – Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 which helps regulate the blood glucose levels. They also contain a type of protein called tryptophan that the body converts into serotonin, which is known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Help Quit Smoking – When smokers decide to take that all important step, to stop their smoking habit, bananas can be their ally in that they contain vitamins B6 and B12, and also minerals potassium and magnesium which help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Mosquito Bites and Skin Irritation – The inside of the banana skin is known to be very effective with reducing the irritation and swelling of mosquito bites. Just rub the inside of the banana skin on the affected area.
Increase Your Alertness and Brain Power – (this one is for students) In a study among 200 students in Middlesex (U.K.), it was proved that students who ate three bananas during the day, had a higher mental alertness and boost in brain power.
Helps Hangovers – (this one is also mainly for students J) One of the best ways to assist in hangovers is to have a banana milkshake mixed with some honey. The banana calms the stomach and with the help of honey, will build up depleted sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Still thinking of adding bananas to your daily diet?
Maybe this is why monkeys are so strong and energetic. I’m still not quite sure whether they eat bananas to help them with hangovers however.
NOTE: If you would like to add comments on the above article or if you have any personal opinions and know of other banana health benefits, we would be grateful and honored if you shared your thoughts and ideas in the "comment" section below. Adding banana recipes would also be a big bonus.
Great Banana Recipes
1 1/2 cups
1 cup mashed ripe banana (3 medium)
1/2 cup skimmed milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 F (210 C) degrees.
2. Grease or paper line muffin cups.
3. Combine cereal, bananas, milk, egg and oil in bowl; mix well. Let stand 5 minutes; stir to break up cereal.
4. Combine flour, sugar (sweetner), baking powder, baking soda, spices and nuts (if using) in separate bowl.
5. Add flour mixture all at once to cereal mixture, stirring just until moistened.
6. Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups, which comes to about a heap tablespoon per muffin.
7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves: 12 muffins
Approx.calories 130 per muffin
cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 mashed very ripe bananas (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1. Mix together dry ingredients until well combined.
2. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, applesauce, and bananas.
3. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture, and then add blueberries.
4. Stir carefully (the blueberries crush easily).
5. Bake in a greased loaf pan for approximately one hour at 350°F.
6. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Approx.calories 320 per serving
1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1/4 cup orange juice
1. Grease and flour baking sheets.
2. Process oats in blender or food processor at medium speed til finely ground. (about 1 minute).
3. Combine oats, flour, wheat germ, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in large bowl.
4. Use knives or pastry blender to cut in margarine until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
5. Add bananas and orange juice to bowl and stir.
6. Cover and chill dough for 20 minutes in the freezer.
7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
8. Drop dough by teaspoonfulls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
9. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
10. Let sit a couple of minutes to cool and set, then move them to racks to finish cooling completely.
Approx.calories 60 per cookie