Bananas are not only delicious but they are extremely healthy for us, too. Also known as nature’s candy, they are naturally sweet, contain several essential nutrients, and are good for digestion and heart health. They are also affordable, making them one of the most exported fresh fruits in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Aside from their healthy goodness, they are also a convenient snack. Here, we are listing some of the benefits associated with eating a banana every day.
1. They are packed with potassium.
Potassium is a mineral that is essential for heart health and also helps regulate blood pressure. Despite potassium being an important supplement in our diet, most people do not get enough of it through the meals they consume every day. Bananas however, can provide a person with the necessary needed potassium. An average banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium, or about 12% of your daily value of the mineral, according to the National Institutes of Health.
2. They help you stay hydrated.
One might be wondering exactly how solid food helps your body stay hydrated. Everything has to do with potassium, which plays a major role in balancing the fluids in your body. Every day, we lose electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium; especially after a workout. Eating bananas can not only replenish them but also reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness. Bananas also provide excellent nutrition before, during and after endurance exercise.
3. They are high in fiber and help you feel more full.
A medium-sized banana contains 3.1 grams of fiber or 2.6 grams per 100 grams. They are a good source of many nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium. Yellow or ripe bananas have lower amounts of resistant starch and higher amounts of soluble fiber. According to Healthline, resistant starch offers appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals.
4. They are rich in vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is one of eight vitamins in the B complex group. While most people get enough B6 in their diet, Vitamin B6 deficiency is more common than we imagine. B6 is involved in more than 150 enzyme reactions that help your body process the protein, carbs and fat you eat. Most recently, scientists discovered that B6 also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that bananas contain nearly one third of your daily value of vitamin B6, which is also necessary for brain development.
5. Due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, they help fight depression.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million around the world suffer from depression. A report from WHO also shows that depression rates will only continue to rise since most people with depression do not seek treatment. Eating bananas has been known to help with depression since they contain the amino acid L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan is then converted to 5-HTP in the brain and the 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin. The process also helps improve our mood, promotes feelings of calm, relaxation, and sleepiness.
6. They are high in antioxidants, providing protection from free radicals and chronic disease.
Delphinidin is an antioxidant found in bananas that is known to have anti-tumor properties. A study in Carcinogenesis also found that delphinidin may prevent and treat cancer. Bananas are also known to help stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
7. They help to quit smoking.
Bananas are known to contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium to speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal. Studies show that smoking blocks our body from absorbing important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamins C and D. In fact, smoking just one cigarette a day can drain the body of 25 mg of vitamin C. Incorporating vitamin rich fruits and vegetables can not only help restore them but also help with reducing cravings to smoking.
8. Your vision will improve.
According to Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition, bananas contain vitamins A and C. They are both antioxidants and are eye and skin-healthy nutrients. “They also have beta carotene, an antioxidant that can help to protect cells and repair damage at the cellular level. Bananas also contain other nutrients like vitamin E and lutein—both which are eye-healthy. Lutein is a nutrient that may help to reduce risk for macular degeneration”.
9. You will feel less bloated.
Bloating can make even the most toned six-packer look like they just went through an entire buffet. Bananas can help fight gas and water retention. According to one study, women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days reduced their belly-bloat by 50 percent. So how exactly does a banana help with bloating? Well, they increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach. Bananas are also rich in potassium, which can help diminish retention of fluids.
10. You will sleep better.
This is also because of the tryptophan. According to Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life, “It’s a precursor for melatonin, which promotes relaxation and helps to regulate sleep”.