15 Health Benefits of bananas completely new to you
Health benefits of bananas include helping in weight loss, improving the health of our heart, treating insomnia, fighting depression, stress and anxiety, helping people with Diabetes, reduce bad cholesterol levels, improving digestion, making bones stronger, enhancing immunity, boosting energy levels, etc. The list of health benefits of bananas is just endless. There are so many benefits of eating bananas.
What is banana?
Banana is a type of berry fruit which is produced by plants which flower and belong to the genus called Musa. There are many different types of bananas with many different scientific names.
The scientific names of 3 most common types of bananas are Musa acuminate, Musa balbisiana, Musa paradisiacal (which is a hybrid of Musa acuminate and Musa balbisiana). There is another variety called Musa cultivars which are called plantains. Plantains are firmer and contain more starch in comparison to bananas and they are used as a vegetable.
In some countries, bananas are also used to make wine and beer. Banana plant is also used as a source of fiber. These are some uses of banana that you might not be aware of.
Banana was originally cultivated in countries of the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, China, Indonesia, Bali, Philippines and some other countries of south and southeast Asia. Later people from other parts of the world also realized that bananas are highly delicious and nutritious and started cultivating them.
Type of Bananas:
Let us look at some of the most common types of bananas worldwide.
- Cavendish or dessert bananas
- Baby bananas
- Manzano bananas
- Burro bananas
- Plantain bananas
- Red bananas
Another type of classification of bananas:
Musa acuminata subtypes:
- Nino bananas
- Inarnibal or senorita bananas
- Philippine lakatan bananas
- Ney Poovan
- Golden pillow
- Cavendish group subtypes:
- Gross Michel
- Dwarf Cavendish
- Grand Nain
There are much more varieties of bananas. I have just listed out some of the common types of bananas.
Banana nutrition facts:
Bananas are a rich source of energy. They provide us with instant energy or glucose when we are tired and exhausted. Just carry some bananas wherever you go and eat them when you are struck by hypoglycemia. They are a good source of fiber too.
Bananas contain proteins which are essential for our body. They are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. They contain many types of vitamin B like thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, Niacin or vitamin B3, Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, pyridoxine or vitamin B6, Folic acid or vitamin B9. They also contain choline vitamin, which is a type of B vitamin.
Many of you might be aware that bananas are also rich in vitamin C. They contain many minerals which help our body to carry out many metabolic activities like iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc.
Health benefits of bananas:
1. Health benefits of bananas for weight loss:
Bananas contain a vitamin called choline, a type of vitamin B. Choline helps in burning fat. A study was conducted recently regarding the efficacy of choline in reducing weight and body mass in female athletes and taekwondo fighters.
Results of this study proved that choline could reduce weight in these athletes in a healthy way, without causing any side effects.
Bananas also contain very less amount of calories. For instance, 1 banana contains about 80 to 90 calories. It is one such type of food which contains few calories, is highly nutritive and makes us feel full for a long time.
Ghrelin is a hormone which controls our appetite. High levels of ghrelin make us feel very hungry, increases our appetite and we tend to eat more. This leads to weight gain. Bananas contain substances which diminish the release of ghrelin in the body. This makes us feel satiated for a long time and reduces our food cravings.
Bananas are rich in fiber which also makes us feel full for a long time and we eat less of junk food which is the reason behind weight gain. If you eat bananas regularly, you will surely realize the health benefits of bananas for weight loss.
2. Promotes eye health:
Health benefits of bananas for eyes are really very important. Eyes are an important part of our body. Even a small problem in our eyes troubles us a lot. Many people are becoming victims of poor vision and blindness due to various diseases. Nutritional deficiency of vital vitamins is on of the important causes leading blindness as per a research study.
According to this study, vitamin C along with some other nutrients like vitamin E, zinc and copper supplementation helps in preventing vision impairment to a great extent. Bananas are rich in both vitamin C and zinc which improve the health of our eyes.
Vitamin C and zinc in bananas helps in preventing various diseases causing blindness like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, etc.
3. Health benefits of Bananas for GERD or acid reflux:
GERD or acid reflux is a very troublesome condition. In people suffering from GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, the acidic contents of stomach keep regurgitating through the lower esophageal sphincter into the esophagus and into the mouth.
This causes many symptoms like heartburn or pain behind the sternum or breastbone, sour fluid coming into the mouth, severe epigastric pain or pain below the ribs, indigestion, nausea or feeling to vomit, etc.
Bananas help in controlling GERD symptoms in many ways. They help in reducing the acid secretion in the stomach. They increase the production of a mucus like substance in the stomach, which lines the stomach wall and protects it from acidic contents of the stomach.
Banana is rich in potassium which acts as an alkaline substance and reduces the acidity. They also promote the functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter and prevent the reflux of the food into our esophagus.
Ways to treat GERD symptoms with bananas:
- Eat a banana half an hour before your meals.
- You can make a smoothie with banana, milk and a pinch of cinnamon powder and drink it immediately when you have heartburn symptoms.
- You can also eat a ripe banana and drink some cold milk immediately when you have acid reflux symptoms.
4. Prevents aging:
Bananas contain vitamin C in good amounts. Vitamin C is a very good antioxidant. Antioxidant help us fighting the harmful substances called free radicals which are produced in our body. These free radicals cause impairment of many organs like heart, liver and also cause aging.
The vitamin C in bananas act an antioxidant and prevent aging. They help in reducing all the signs of aging in the body like wrinkles, age post and also fine lines on the face. You can eat bananas regularly to fight free radicals. You can also make banana face masks and use them to reduce the signs of aging and also make your skin soft and supple.
5. Strengthens bones:
Strong bones formation needs the help of nutrients like calcium. People with low calcium levels have brittle bones and their bones tend to fracture very easily. This is the reason for women of postmenopausal age or elderly women to suffer from fractures quite often.
This is because these women have low calcium levels due to reduced levels of estrogen which facilitates calcium to be in appropriate amounts in the blood.
Banana has many vital compounds which promote the absorption of calcium which ultimately leads to strong bones. According to a study, banana helped in the growth of helpful intestinal bacteria called lactobacilli which help in maintaining intestinal health. This facilitates proper calcium absorption. Also, short chain fatty acids in banana also improve intestinal health.
6. Health benefits of bananas for diabetes:
Bananas are high in calories and carbohydrates. They are really healthy and control diabetes when used with some caution. If you don’t follow some precautions while eating bananas, they might increase your blood sugar levels beyond desirable values.
According to a research study, unripe bananas are really good in improving the blood sugar control or glycemic control. They also increase the insulin sensitivity which aids in better blood glucose control.
Very ripe bananas can increase blood sugar very fast. So, make sure you eat unripe bananas more, for example, use plantains more as a vegetable. Even if you eat banana fruit, choose the ones which are not very ripe. Eat them in small portions and distribute eating them throughout the day.
According to a study, bananas have shown to be nephroprotective or protect the kidneys in people suffering from diabetes.
7. Treat anemia:
Bananas are rich in iron which helps in the formation of hemoglobin. They are also rich in vitamin C which enhances the absorption of iron. Both of them act synergistically to improve the levels of hemoglobin and get rid of anemia.
If you are suffering from anemia, make sure you eat bananas regularly. You can eat them directly or make yummy smoothies help kids with anemia.
8. Controls menorrhagia:
Menorrhagia is the excess bleeding during menstrual cycle. Many women suffer from this problem due to various reasons and they don’t know what to do.
Banana flower comes to their rescue during such times. Banana flower is rich in a hormone called progesterone which helps in controlling excessive bleeding or menorrhagia. Just make a curry or gravy with banana flower and eat it with bread, parathas, chapatis, rice, etc.
9. Help in breast enhancement:
Many women suffer from the problem of having a small size of the breast. They keep searching for various remedies which help them solve their problem. But, many pills and creams available in the market fail to help these women to enhance their breast.
Banana flowers are really a good way to increase the breast size. Banana flower contains progesterone hormone which helps in increasing the size of the breast and make these women more confident about themselves.
10. Health benefits of bananas for hemorrhoids:
Hemorrhoids or piles can annoy and trouble a person a lot. They cause severe pain while defecation and may also bleed causing embarrassment. But, you can control hemorrhoids and also external hemorrhoids by using simple home remedies like the banana.
Bananas contain many substances which make it act like a good laxative. Banna contains fiber which helps in easy passage of stool. It also soothes the intestines and the hemorrhoids due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
You can also use banana peel to control the pain of hemorrhoids. You might not have heard about this banana peel remedy for piles before. But, it surely works. Just take a banana peel and rub it over the external hemorrhoids for 5 to 10 minutes. It relieves pain very fast nad helps in healing the piles. Use this remedy several times a week for good results.
11. Health benefits of bananas for cholesterol:
Hyperlipidemia or high levels of cholesterol can lead to various health ailments. It can cause heart diseases like heart attack and also stroke, a brain disorder.
Many parts of the banana plant including banana fruit have many constituents which help in reducing the levels of cholesterol in the body. As per a study, intake of banana has shown to lower the levels of both LDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose in people with diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
Bananas have also shown to increase the helpful HDL levels and they have improved the LDL/HDL ratio in animal studies. A study was conducted using banana root or Musa balbisiana root extract in patients. It has shown to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
The stem of Musa sapientum also has significant antidiabetic and anticholesterolemic effects as per the study. Eat bananas regularly to keep your cholesterol in check.
12. Protects the heart:
Heart diseases like the heart attack or myocardial infarction, angina and heart failure are mainly caused due to high cholesterol level, high blood sugar levels and also due to high blood pressure or hypertension. All these factors damage our heart.
Banana contains ingredients which control cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. This helps in preventing heart diseases. Banana is rich in potassium which helps in reducing hypertension or high blood pressure. Banana surely makes our heart very healthy.
13. Health benefits of bananas for arthritis:
Arthritis is a condition in which there is inflammation or swelling of joints. Bananas contain any compounds which have anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce the swelling of the joints.
People suffering from arthritis definitely benefit from regular consumption of bananas. Also, bananas reduce the weight of overweight individuals, thereby reducing the strain on the joints.
14. Prevents colon cancer:
Bananas are rich in fiber which helps in relieving constipation and easy passage of stools. Bananas have anti-inflammatory properties which help in relieving the inflammation of the intestinal lining.
They contain short chain fatty acids which promote the health of intestinal lining. They also stimulate the growth of helpful intestinal bacteria like lactobacilli. Due to many beneficial effects on our gut, bananas play a vital role in preventing colon cancer.
15. Relieve muscle cramps:
Muscle cramps are caused due to many different raesns. Some of the most common reasons ae deficiency of vital electrolytes and also dehydration. Many athletes suffer from muscle cramps after their exercises. People new to exercising and also people who are tired due to various reasons develop muscle cramps.
Bananas contain electrolytes like potassium which are essential for proper muscle health. They help in easing muscle aches and cramps. Eat a banana when having sore muscles and feeling tired. You will feel better within a short duration.
Ways to include bananas in your diet:
- Just slice some bananas and sprinkle some powdered sugar and cinnamon powder over it and enjoy your delicious treat.
- Make a smoothie with bananas, apples, strawberries and some of you favorite fruits.
- Make a milkshake with bananas and milk. You can add some ice cream to make it a party treat for kids. You can replace sugar with honey for making it more healthy.
- You can add sliced bananas to your oatmeal. Add some honey and nuts too to make it crunchy and to add more nutritional value to the oats.
- Add bananas to your favorite cakes and muffins recipes.
- You can even make bread with banana added in it. It has a nice distinctive taste.
- Bananas can also be added to biscuits and cookies. They taste really awesome.
Some cautions while eating bananas:
Bananas are bad for people with kidney problems:
- Bananas contain high levels of potassium and sodium. So, people suffering from chronic kidney diseases, kidney failure or renal failure should avoid eating them.
- Bananas can cause fluid overload due to their high sodium content which is not good for kidneys of renal failure patients as their kidneys can’t filter out the excess water.
- Renal failure patients also have hyperkalemia or high levels of potassium. Bananas also contain high potassium and it can aggravate their problem and may even lead to heart rhythm disturbances.
- So, people with kidney diseases should avoid eating bananas. If you want to eat bananas, consult your doctor and make sure that all your blood tests are normal before eating bananas.
Diabetes and bananas:
- If you are suffering from diabetes, eat bananas cautiously. Try to eat more unripe bananas or bananas that are not too ripe.
- Distribute bananas throughout the day and don’t eat many bananas at once.
Other names of bananas:
Telugu: Arati pandu
Tamil: Vazhai Pazham
Punjabi: Kella, kela
Marathi: Kele, kel
You have seen all the health benefits of bananas. make sure you eat at least one banana a day. Tell us what is your experience with bananas. How often do you eat them?