Super Foods

Going Bananas

By Jaspreet Punian

The humble banana often gets neglected in front of other exotic fruits. This everyday fruit, taken for granted, is actually a powerhouse of nutrition. It has many health benefits. It is a rich source of potassium and iron. Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose. These natural sugars combined with fibre give an instant boost of energy. There are numerous other reasons why you should add a banana to your daily diet.

Depression :

Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to improve your mood, make you relaxed and feel happier. People suffering from depression feel much better after eating a banana.

Stress :

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. High stress levels tend to deplete potassium levels in the human body. These can be balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Premenstrual Syndrome and Menstrual Pains :

The vitamin B6 in bananas regulates blood glucose levels, which affect your mood thereby helping in premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pains.

Anaemia :

High in iron and potassium, bananas stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood, curing anaemia.

Lower Blood Pressure :

This tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in sodium, making it perfect to beat blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.

Normal Heart and Nervous System Function :

Bananas are rich in a mineral electrolyte called potassium, which is very vital for the muscle contraction and proper functioning of the heart and nervous system. It helps to increase mental alertness and boost brain power.

Constipation :

Bananas are rich in fibre that helps in regulating the bowel functions thus helping to overcome the problem of constipation without resorting to laxatives. A banana has more than 2.5 grams of total fibre, about half of which are insoluble. As insoluble fibre travels through your digestive tract, it sweeps up waste and helps push it out.

Hangovers :

One of the quickest antidotes to a hangover is a banana milkshake with honey. The banana calms the stomach and the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Morning Sickness :

As bananas keep the blood sugar levels up, they help in avoiding morning sickness.

Ulcers and Intestinal Disorders :

Due to its antacid effect, eating a raw banana reduces irritation in the stomach and reduces the effect of acidity. Bananas work in two ways. Substances in bananas help activate the cells of the stomach lining, producing a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that are the primary cause of stomach ulcers.

Temperature Control :

Bananas are said to have a cooling effect, both on the physical and emotional temperatures.

Smoking :

The B6, B12, potassium and magnesium found in bananas help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal; thus, a very helpful food for people trying to give up smoking.

Eye Health :

Bananas have vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for protecting your eyes and normal vision. Bananas also contain alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A to further keep your eyes healthy.

Healthy Bones :

Potassium prevents the weakening of the body's bones. A high sodium intake can cause excessive amount of calcium to be lost through the urine, which threatens not only the strength and general health of the bones, but also negatively affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one's diet, thus allowing for healthy amounts of calcium to remain within the body.

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