Sunday, 13 January 2013

Peeling the Benefits of Bananas

Bananas are one of the most popular and least expensive fruits to add to your diet. As such, they’re an economical way to help meet your daily fruit and vegetable requirements. More than just a naturally sweet snack and versatile ingredient, the banana is also a superfood — thanks to its nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber. You need to eat at least 2 cups of fruits every day, and eating a large banana satisfies half of that daily need. We suggest you eat a banana two or three days each week.

One banana contains more than 450 milligrams of potassium, a mineral that’s important for keeping your body fluids in balance, which in turn keeps your blood pressure at healthy levels. Experts agree that everyone needs about 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day. But bananas have many other benefits, too. Read on!

Eating bananas for more than just potassium Bananas protect your heart because they contain potassium and dietary fiber, and they’re low in sodium. However, bananas can do so much more. Eating bananas (along with other fruits and vegetables) is an important part of a healthful diet.

Eating bananas provides you with potassium, vitamins B6 and C, plenty of fiber, and some magnesium, all of which are essential for good health. Bananas have the following in their favor:

✓ They lower your blood pressure. Bananas are not only high in potassium, but also low in sodium, a combination that may reduce high blood pressure. This means your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump blood throughout your body.

✓ They’re high in vitamin B6. Your body needs B6 to produce red blood cells and to break down protein into components your body can use. Vitamin B6 also helps keep homocysteine levels in check. High homocysteine levels correlate to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

✓ They have lots of dietary fiber. Studies confirm that people who eat diets high in fiber have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. Fiber is also important for keeping the digestive tract healthy by keeping bowel
movements regular.

✓ They’re rich in fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a natural substance that feeds the friendly bacteria that live in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins, enzymes, and other organic acids that help protect you from unfriendly bacteria. Bananas also contain a compound that combats the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and works as a natural antacid.

✓ They may help protect you from cancer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancers, including a kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma. Of all the fruits and vegetables studied, the International Journal of Cancer reported in 2005 that bananas have the strongest association for prevention of this disease. Bananas also contain plant lectins, proteins that survive digestion intact. Lectins are very biologically active and may fight cancer by killing cancerous cells and inhibiting tumor growth.

✓ They may help protect your bones. Bananas may help reduce calcium loss through the urine and improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, including calcium and other minerals needed for strong bones.

1 comment:

  1. Bananas are so good for us. They definitely need to be more of a staple in most people's diets especially children.