Possible health benefits of bananas
Bananas contain all kinds of good things – health-promoting flavonoids and poly-phenolics, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta and alpha carotenes, acting as free radical-gobbling antioxidants. That’s also an advantage in the high vitamin C content, most known for its infection-fighting properties.
Just one banana contains 467 mg of potassium, which is important for controlling your heart rate and blood pressure. This is interesting, since the same amount of banana has just one milligram of sodium. The vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in bananas provides around 28% of what is needed daily to help prevent anemia and coronary artery disease.
And that’s just part of it. Fiber in abundance helps keep your digestive system regulated. Magnesium helps strengthen your bones and protects your heart. Manganese is needed to activate antioxidant enzyme. Onebanana supplies an adequate amount of copper to keep up the production of red blood cells.
1) Blood pressure
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.3
Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.3
A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.
Consuming bananas, oranges and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhoodleukemia. As a good source of vitamin C, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
4) Heart health
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.3
In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).3
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.3
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.
6) Treating diarrhea
Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.
7) Preserving memory and boosting mood
Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.