The fruit is so popular that we probably don’t even give it any importance anymore. And for good reason – given all the benefits bananas offer and the impact they have on our lives.
Everyone knows what a banana is, but the benefits of this fruit are truly amazing. Read on to learn more about this fruit.
It is one of the most popular fruits in the world, and that’s a good thing (we’ll tell you why later). From botany we know that banana is a genus of plants from the banana family (Musaceae) and its scientific name is Musa acuminata Colla.
One banana may differ from another in color, shape and hardness. There is no particular difference between plantains and fodder bananas (plantain), but the former are much softer while the latter are harder.
In terms of monetary value, bananas are the fourth most important crop in the world. They are very popular and come in several varieties:
Apple bananas taste exceptionally sweet. They are sometimes called silk bananas. They have a firm flesh and a light pink color.
Are bananas really useful and why?
The benefits of bananas for the human body are very high. They contain many antioxidants and other nutrients. That’s enough, isn’t it?
One banana contains about 467 mg of potassium – a huge amount. Potassium is important for controlling blood pressure, which in turn protects the heart. In addition, one banana contains only 1 mg of sodium. In addition, bananas contain vitamin B6, which prevents anemia and coronary heart disease and improves sleep quality.
The fiber contained in bananas is important for good digestion and promotes weight loss. The green and unripe fruit is rich in resistant starch (an indigestible carbohydrate similar to dietary fiber). This helps maintain a healthy colon and lowers blood sugar levels after a meal.
Bananas are also rich in magnesium, which can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. This fruit is rich in tryptophan, which is responsible for good mood and helps in the treatment of depression. Bananas are also beneficial for men. The potassium contained in this fruit can improve the sexual health of men.
Nevertheless, banana is a natural product with many benefits – mainly because of the many nutrients contained in this fruit.
What role does the banana play in health?
1. Promoting the health of the heart
According to a report from Harvard Medical School, low potassium levels can cause heart arrhythmias. Bananas, which are rich in potassium, can help with this problem (excess potassium can be harmful to health, so caution is advised). The heart is a smooth muscle that needs potassium to contract properly. Low potassium levels can cause heart palpitations, which is called hypokalemia.
Modern research has shown that eating just one banana a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by a third. This also applies to a healthy lifestyle, not smoking and regular exercise.
The heart also contains potassium ion channels, which also underscores the benefits of bananas, as low potassium levels can lead to cardiac arrest. According to the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood Diseases, the banana is the fruit of choice for heart health.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, potassium helps lower blood pressure. However, be careful with potassium supplements and take them only as directed by your doctor. One study suggests that two bananas a day can lower blood pressure by up to 10%.
According to the American Heart Association, potassium reduces the effects of sodium (high sodium levels in the body lead to fluid retention, which increases blood pressure). However, increased potassium consumption should be combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet to maintain a healthy heart. People with kidney disease should limit their potassium intake because it increases kidney function, which helps flush sodium from the body. Potassium also relaxes the walls of the arteries.
2. improvement of brain function
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which improves cognitive function. According to a Tufts University study, men with high vitamin B6 concentrations performed better on memory tests. The magnesium found in bananas improves the energy activity of neurons in the brain.
More importantly, our brain cells use glucose as a type of “fuel.” Due to the fiber content, the sugar from bananas, unlike refined sugar (cookies, candy, etc.), slowly enters the bloodstream and is gradually consumed by the body – this ensures a constant blood sugar level.
Potassium contained in bananas normalizes oxygen levels in brain cells, and manganese helps prevent diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Serotonin and melatonin contribute to stress reduction.
As you already know, bananas are rich in vitamin B6. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause depression and peripheral neuropathy. Regular consumption of bananas helps to improve brain function, strengthen nervous system function and improve concentration.
Studies have also shown that the potassium contained in bananas can help prevent strokes in old age. And eating bananas in menopausal women may reduce the risk of stroke by 12%. According to the American Academy of Neurology, people with low potassium levels are 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke. While potassium has no effect on hemorrhagic strokes, which are caused by sudden hemorrhage (the least common type), it helps with ischemic strokes (which account for 80% of all types).
3. strengthening of the bones
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, potassium is good for bones. Bananas are also a good source of silicon, which, according to initial studies, may also be beneficial. In addition, the magnesium contained in the fruit is important for bone structure. Potassium-rich foods also produce bases in the body to maintain acid-base balance. This is also important because when the body becomes acidic, bone tissue tends to dissolve to release the alkali. Foods containing potassium can prevent this problem. In other words, potassium intake can prevent the loss of calcium in bones. In addition, potassium improves bone density in older women, which makes banana a useful fruit for women. The study also links potassium intake to a lower risk of osteoporosis. Another American study links potassium intake to preventing age-related bone loss.
4. help in the treatment of diarrhea
Bananas help treat diarrhea by replacing electrolytes. Since the fruit is rich in potassium, it can help replace potassium loss. Eat a banana to relieve the discomfort. Then add a pinch of salt to the water and drink the solution – this will replenish the sodium and chloride levels in the body.
A fairly well-known diet for quick treatment of intestinal infections. It is called BRAT, which is an abbreviation for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. This diet is especially suitable for babies and children with stomach upsets. It reduces the amount of stool your body produces and gives your stomach a break. However, the sooner you return to a normal diet, the better, because the BRAT diet is low in protein, fiber and fat, so the body lacks all the nutrients it needs. In the first 24 hours you should also eat fruits and vegetables. Although the BRAT diet is quite effective, it is not the best diet for relieving diarrhea symptoms.
5. improved digestion
Bananas help restore normal intestinal function because they are rich in fiber. In addition, the proper functioning of the digestive tract depends on its muscles, which contract in wave-like contractions (this process is called peristalsis). Potassium plays an important role in muscle function.
Bananas are rich in insoluble and soluble fiber. The former makes food more bulky, improves digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness. Soluble fiber improves intestinal health and slows the absorption of fats and carbohydrates, keeping blood sugar levels at an appropriate level.
Bananas are a source of fructooligosaccharides – the most potent of all prebiotics, which support levels of natural bacteria in the gut and normalize its function. Fully ripe bananas are more effective in treating digestive problems. Since bananas are natural antacids, they can help neutralize stomach acid and are useful in the treatment of ulcers. Another component of bananas, leucocyanidin, increases the thickness of the stomach lining – this provides additional protection against ulcers. Even unripe plantains can stimulate the growth of the stomach lining.Many people wonder if green bananas are healthy? The answer. Green bananas are rich in resistant (healthy) starch, which can help with constipation. However, there are some rather contradictory studies. The unripe fruit contains about 100-250 mg of tannins (per 100 g) and large amounts of amylase-resistant starch. This can lead to constipation. Incidentally, this very property is used in the BRAT diet to treat diarrhea. Since bananas have very low acidity, they can be effective in treating heartburn. A ripe banana forms a protective film that relieves heartburn.
6. treatment of a hangover
Potassium is a mineral that is excreted from the body after alcohol consumption, which leads to dehydration. If you have a hangover, drink a banana milkshake with honey. The banana soothes the stomach, the honey restores sugar levels and the milk replenishes fluid loss.
Bananas are rich in vitamins B1 and B6, whose content also decreases after alcohol consumption. The glucose and electrolytes in bananas also help with a hangover.
7. teeth whitening
Although there are few studies on the subject, some reliable sources claim that the potassium, manganese and magnesium found in ripe bananas can help whiten teeth. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel over your teeth for a few minutes 10 minutes before brushing.
In any case, magnesium is good for your teeth.
8. stress reduction
Potassium not only helps lower blood pressure, but can also help manage stress. And the carbohydrates in bananas can help you relax because they produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect.
A banana also contains dopamine, a substance that calms the nervous system. Vitamin B6 is also useful in combating stress.
9. immediate increase in activity
Bananas are a combination of complex carbohydrates, amino acids, natural sugars and other minerals that provide an energy boost. Carbohydrates enter the bloodstream slowly and provide a constant supply of “fuel”. Such carbohydrates are found in bananas, bread and pasta.
Bananas also contain nutrients that are important after exercise – they help repair muscles and normalize water balance. Research has shown that just two bananas can provide the energy for a 90-minute workout.
According to a report from Appalachian State University, bananas can be just as beneficial as sports drinks. Another report from Harvard Medical School says bananas have clear benefits over most sports drinks. The fruit contains antioxidants and healthier sugars (as well as fiber and vitamin B6), which can also help maintain energy.
10. help in the fight against cancer
A yellow banana has many advantages. But a brown banana with dark spots on the peel can be even healthier. The more dark spots, the greater the tumor necrosis factor (TNF). According to research, TNF is a cancer drug that helps fight abnormal cells in the body. In addition, yellow bananas with dark spots are about 8 times more effective in fighting bad cells than those with green skin. They also stimulate the production of white blood cells, which strengthen the immune system.
Another study links banana consumption to a lower risk of colon cancer and lung cancer. Bananas are also associated with a reduced risk of kidney cancer. The study states that women who consume four to six bananas per week can reduce their risk of developing kidney cancer by 50%. This effect could be due to the antioxidant phenolic compounds in bananas.
11. strengthening of vision
Doctors in Nigeria are known to use a drug called Orinol to treat yellow spot degeneration and cataracts. This is due to the content of vitamin A (also found in bananas), which protects the membranes of the eye and helps in the treatment of the cornea of the eye.
12. menstrual pain treatment
The banana is also of great health benefit for women. The fruit can help with menstrual pain. This can be explained by the potassium content of bananas. This mineral can act as a myorelaxant and relax the uterine muscles during the menstrual cycle.
Bananas may also have a positive effect on muscle cramps during the menstrual cycle. Vitamin B6 (as well as potassium) helps prevent water retention and bloating (a common symptom during menstruation).
13. reduction of inflammation due to mosquito bites.
Banana peel should also be mentioned here. The sugar it contains can help drain the fluid from a mosquito bite. Simply rub the inside of the peel over the affected area and disinfect it beforehand.
14. strengthening of the immune system
The banana contains copper, which is essential for maintaining the immune system and protects cells from damage caused by chemical reactions. It is also the enzyme responsible for the absorption of iron in the body – yes, iron is also important for the immune system.
The fruit also contains vitamin C, which stimulates the production of vital white blood cells. This vitamin also protects white blood cells from the chemicals they produce to destroy pathogens. Another important ingredient in bananas is folate, a nutrient needed for the synthesis of cytokines, proteins that regulate immune response.
In addition, bananas contain what is known as banana lectin, which is the subject of much scientific debate today. This lectin, called BanLec, is able to count sugars outside the virus and the cell. In the future, this drug will be able to prevent dangerous viruses (especially AIDS viruses) from entering healthy cells. In addition, in one study (http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/23230-drug-engineered-from-bananas-shows-promise-in-fighting-deadly-viruses), the banana drug was able to protect test mice from the flu virus. According to another report (https://www.mayoclinic.org/documents/mc5129-0709-sp-rpt-pdf/doc-20079085), the magnesium and potassium in bananas also perform important functions for the immune system.
15. advantages of bananas in smoking cessation
Although this aspect is not very well researched, bananas are not harmful. Large amounts of nicotine accumulate in a smoker’s bloodstream, tempting him or her to smoke – and thus to develop a bad habit. It is believed that the potassium and magnesium contained in bananas lowers the level of nicotine in the blood, helping smokers to cope with the addiction.
16. advantages for people with diabetes
For diabetics, it is important to avoid carbohydrates in their diet because they raise blood sugar levels faster than other nutrients. Bananas contain carbohydrates (about 93% of all calories) in the form of sugar, fiber and starch.
But can bananas be good for diabetes if they contain so many carbohydrates?
The answer is simple: they are rich in fiber, which slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. They prevent blood sugar spikes and regulate sugar levels. Another important factor is glycemic load, which is based on the glycemic index (a measure of a food’s effect on blood sugar levels). The GI of bananas ranges from 42 to 62, depending on the ripeness of the fruit, and the data means that they have a low glycemic load and are therefore less harmful for diabetics.
As mentioned above, green (unripe) bananas contain resistant starch. It acts as a dietary fiber, regulates blood sugar levels and supports natural bacteria in the intestines, which improves metabolism and prevents blood sugar spikes.
Vitamin B6 found in bananas helps manage stress, which is important in diabetes. According to one study, daily consumption of bananas can slightly improve blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. According to a report from the University of Maryland Medical Centre, the consumption of bananas is recommended in diabetes because the fruit contains little fructose.
17. help in the treatment of anemia
Anemia, especially during pregnancy, can be counteracted with an adequate dose of folic acid, a B vitamin found in large quantities in bananas and other foods. Folic acid prevents anemia in pregnant women and promotes healthy fetal development. Therefore, the benefit of banana for the female body is also high.
The vitamin C found in bananas also promotes the absorption of iron (yes, iron is needed in the fight against anemia). Vitamin B12 helps treat pernicious anemia (a condition in which the body cannot produce enough red blood cells on its own due to a lack of vitamin B12). Although bananas are not high in vitamin B12, vitamin B6 contributes to its absorption and replenishment. Bananas also contain copper, which also contributes to the proper absorption of iron.
18. elimination of morning sickness
Also in this case bananas are good for the body. Potassium and carbohydrates can help relieve morning sickness, but this aspect needs to be better studied.
19. lowering the temperature
Excessive sweating, diarrhea and vomiting are common symptoms of fever. These symptoms deplete the body’s potassium reserves and cause feelings of weakness. Bananas can compensate for the loss of this useful substance and also help restore lost electrolytes, which speeds up recovery.
The flavonoid compounds contained in the fruit can reduce inflammation and strengthen immune activity.
20. lift the mood
How can bananas improve your mood? Since bananas help stabilize blood sugar levels, they improve mood. Vitamin B6 reduces stress and eliminates anxiety. Bananas are also an excellent source of tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin (also called the happy hormone). Adequate intake of vitamin B can prevent depression, and bananas are rich in vitamins. Potassium also has a positive effect on brain neurons, the lack of which can lead to brain fog and other cognitive problems.
An average banana contains about 785 micrograms of niacin and 24 micrograms of folic acid – B vitamins that help restore emotional well-being. And bananas can also help with mood swings (especially PMS). However, an excess of vitamin B6 can harm the nervous system. So be careful.
One controversial study says that the serotonin found in bananas does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so it is not as effective at elevating mood.
21. help with the treatment of hemorrhoids
The benefits of the banana cannot be overstated. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, eating one banana a day on an empty stomach can help treat hemorrhoids. For bleeding hemorrhoids, increase the amount of fruit to three.
22. insomnia treatment
The potassium and magnesium contained in bananas helps relax muscles and prepare them for sleep, and tryptophan is used to treat a variety of sleep disorders. A dose of tryptophan has been shown to improve the condition of patients with sleep apnea. Bananas also contain melatonin, which helps in the treatment of insomnia.
23. promotes weight loss
Dietary fiber can help with weight loss. And since bananas also contain starch, they can control blood sugar levels. This is good for weight loss, because excess sugar is converted into fat in the body.
You can stick to the morning banana diet, where there are no strict limits and no calorie counting. It is enough to eat fruit, not to fast and to have dinner before 8 pm, but under one condition: you can eat the same foods as always (at lunch and dinner), but you must stop eating when you are 80% full. You also have to give up dessert. Breakfast should consist of fresh bananas and room temperature water. A snack in the afternoon is allowed. There are no specific studies that prove the effectiveness of this diet. All evidence is based on recommendations only. However, excessive consumption of bananas may lead to weight gain. In addition, there is little research on how bananas can contribute to healthy weight gain. If at all possible.
What are the benefits of banana for my skin?
There is not much research on this topic. The masks and compresses described below are based on feedback and personal experience. No harm was found.
24. hydration of the skin
Bananas are an excellent natural moisturizer. Vitamin A contained in bananas restores lost moisture and repairs damaged, dull and dry skin.
To instantly moisturize dry and dull skin, mash a ripe banana and apply to your face without touching your eyes. After 20-25 minutes, rinse with cold water. Your skin will immediately become soft and supple. If you are struggling with excessive dryness and flaking, add honey to the mask. Such a mask will also help eliminate skin pigmentation.
For a simple moisturizing mask, mash half a ripe banana and add 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil. Apply a generous amount to clean face and rinse off after 30 minutes.
25. helps to restore the radiance of the skin
Bananas are rich in vitamin C, which helps to maintain the natural and youthful radiance of the skin. With these masks you can regain your lost glow:
- Mix half a ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of sandalwood paste and ½ teaspoon of honey. Leave on face for 20-25 minutes, then rinse with cold water. This mask is good for oily skin, as sandalwood helps to rid the skin of excess sebum, while the banana has a moisturizing effect.
- Apply a mixture of one ripe banana and the juice of one lemon on the skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes. This mask is rich in vitamin C, which helps to get rid of dull skin and eliminate blemishes.
- You can also use banana milk. Mash one ripe banana to a fine pulp. Add the same amount of milk and mix thoroughly. If your skin is dry, you can add a few drops of olive oil. Apply the mask to your face and neck and leave it on for 20 minutes. While you enjoy the mask, you can still eat a banana! First wash with warm water (to open the pores) and then with cold water (to tighten them).
26. elimination of the signs of aging skin
The nutrients found in bananas help fight wrinkles and keep skin looking young.
For a rejuvenating face mask rich in vitamins A and E, mash a banana and an avocado, leave it on your face for 20 minutes and rinse. Your skin will look soft and youthful. The vitamin E found in avocado, combined with the nutrients in the banana, fights free radicals and repairs damage.
You can also mash ¼ of a banana and add 1 tablespoon of rose water. Apply the mask on the face and neck for 30 minutes.
27. benefits for the care of the skin of the feet
The moisturizing properties of bananas can be used to eliminate cracked heels.
Mash two ripe bananas and apply the mixture on clean, dry skin. Leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. The pulp of the banana penetrates deep into the dry, cracked skin and softens it.
28. elimination of puffiness in the eye area.
The nutrients contained in bananas are good for the blood vessels under the eyes and can thus reduce puffiness. Simply mash half a banana and apply the mixture to the affected area. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off with cold water. Potassium helps to eliminate excess fluid and provides relief.
You can also use the peel instead of the mashed banana.
29. removal of dead skin cells
Prepare a banana scrub to exfoliate the skin. It is full of antioxidants that not only help remove dead cells, but also promote skin renewal.
Here are some banana scrubs that you can easily make at home:
- Mix well the mashed banana and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Apply to the skin and massage in circular motions. The banana moisturizes the skin and the sugar grains remove dead cells.
- Mash one ripe banana. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of milk. Apply on face and rinse with cold water after 5 minutes. If you have very dry skin, you can replace the milk with fresh cream.
- Take ½ pulp of a ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of raw rice. Mix until you get a thick paste. Gently massage it into your face and rinse with cold water.
- For a body scrub, puree 2 bananas and 4-5 strawberries in a blender. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and use the mixture as a body scrub when you take a bath.
30. help with acne treatment
You can use banana peel to treat acne.
Cut a small piece of banana peel and gently rub it on the inside of the affected area. Continue the treatment for 5 minutes or until the peel has darkened. Allow the banana to dry and rinse with cold water. For best results, repeat the treatment three times a day.
31. help with itching, warts and psoriasis
To relieve itching, rub the inside of the banana peel on the affected area and you will immediately feel better.
To treat warts and psoriasis, apply the banana peel to the affected area and rub for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the treatment twice a day. You can use this method in addition to the main treatment, but you should consult your dermatologist beforehand.
32. gives a rested appearance after sleep
What else are bananas good for?
Everyone knows how important a good night’s sleep is for healthy skin. Melatonin is the hormone that initiates sleep in the human body, and tryptophan is an amino acid that is essential for the production of the sleep hormone.
You already know that bananas help to improve the quality of sleep. Eating this fruit a few hours before bedtime helps the skin to recover.
33. improve the appearance and health of your hair.
Bananas contain folic acid, which gives shine and moisturizes the hair. Potassium and natural oils also improve the health of hair. There are a number of different useful banana masks:
For soft hair:
- Mix together ripe banana, avocado and coconut milk.
- Apply the mask on the hair for 15-20 minutes.
This mask softens damaged hair. Instead of avocado, you can add cocoa. It helps to emphasize the natural color of the hair.
For shiny hair:
- Peel the banana, add ¼ cup olive oil and 1 egg white.
- Mix all ingredients in a blender for a few minutes.
- Apply the mask on your hair for 15 minutes.
- Wash your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
For damaged hair:
- Mash the banana and add a few drops of almond oil.
- Apply the mask on the hair for 10-15 minutes.
Vitamins A and C and vitamin E contained in the banana make the hair silky, shiny, soft and moisturized.
Useful information: Before using any of the hair masks, keep the following in mind:
First, mash the banana thoroughly before applying it to your hair. The resulting mass should not have lumps. To be safe, puree the ingredients in a blender.
Second, never leave the mask on your hair until it is completely dry. The mask should be wet so that you can easily rinse it off, otherwise a banana may stick to your hair. The mask may feel a little stiff at first – just wait until your hair is completely dry and you will see the result.