There are bananas galore in grocery stores, and when we buy a bunch we hardly focus on their nutritious value and health benefits. There are a much greater number of them than we think! Bananas are great for everyone, regardless of sex and age.
What makes them healthy?
We’d better start with what they are law on: protein, fats and, consequently, calories. What bananas are high on are net carbs, starch, water, and fiber. Other key substances and elements include potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and manganese. As a fruit ripens, the starch bulk begins to transform into carbohydrates – fructose, glucose, sucrose.
What’s the role of these ingredients?
Heart, blood sugar and digestion
- Potassium plays a key role in maintaining the functioning of the heart and blood system. Particularly, it regulates blood pressure and prevents related cardiac and vascular issues. Research indicates that men who eat bananas and other potassium-rich meals are less prone to strokes.
- Bananas do contain carbohydrates, and it is one of the few foods that contain healthy amounts of them. The average glycemic index of a medium-sized banana is 50, ranging between 30 in unripe and 60 in ripe bananas. It is a well-known fact that bananas do not cause blood sugar to soar in healthy people. Ripe bananas are rich in fructose-containing carbohydrates (fructooligosaccharides), which, instead of being metabolized in the digestive system, reach the lower bowel and feed healthy bacteria.
- Fiber (pectins and resistant starch) helps the body to adjust digestion and regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates. As a banana ripens, it accumulates sugar and water-soluble pectins simultaneously. The fiber blocks excess sugar intake and keeps general blood sugar level stable.
Reduced risk of kidney issues
Along with the cardiac system, potassium exerts a very healthy influence on kidneys and related organs. Some research data suggests that a few bananas each week can cut the occurrence of renal problems by at least 30%. Some scientists say that they are good at preventing kidney tumors.
Fitness and weight control
The unique and rich chemistry of carbs, minerals and vitamins makes a banana an excellent energy booster. It has been estimated that half a banana eaten every 15 minutes can give a cyclist or racer shot equivalent to that of a sports drink. Also, there are reasons to believe that bananas can reduce muscle cramps, which, most likely, occur due to dehydration combined with electrolyte imbalance. The magic combination of nutrients can pretty much compensate for the losses and get an athlete back on his or her feet.
Thanks to high fiber and low calories, bananas are an excellent substitute for foods, which people with weight issues have to abandon. Unripe bananas (they have a green tint) are very filling, because they contain a lot of resistant starch.
Banana pulp contains tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin – a neurotransmitter, which is responsible for our mood. For this reason, it is advisable for people dealing with depression to include bananas in their diet. They are rich in antioxidants and can prevent free radical damage.