Sweet and satisfying, convenient to take away and eat on the go, present all year round on the stalls of our markets, the banana is a fruit that is unanimous. But is it as nutritionally good as it is for our taste buds? Scroll down to know the health benefits of Banana.
Origin: Africa and Asia
Season: October to January
Color: green to yellow
Nutrition facts of Banana
Nutritional facts for 1 medium-sized banana (100 grams) are given below
- Water: 75%
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Calories: 89
- Fiber: 2.6 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
- Carbs: 22.8 grams
- Sugar: 12.2 grams
Rich in antioxidants, bananas prevent the appearance of many diseases. In addition, the sugars it contains would help maintain good gastrointestinal health. There are 2 types of bananas: dessert bananas, like those we eat for breakfast, and cooking bananas, like plantain.
The Top benefits of bananas
Thanks to its unique composition, the flesh of the banana turn out to be a real health ally on a daily basis. Satisfying, rich in dietary fibers and micronutrients, it has its place as part of a varied and balanced healthy diet.
1- Banana reduce the risk of Colorectal Cancers
A prospective study, carried out on 61,000 Swiss women, demonstrated a link between high consumption of fruit and the lower risk of suffering from kidney cancer. Of all the fruits studied, the researchers found the strongest relationship for bananas. Bananas are said to have the same beneficial effect on the risk of colorectal cancer, in both women and men.
2- Banana extract Cures Stomach ulcers
Some studies in vitro and in animals tend to show that bananas in extract form (especially plantains, but also the dessert variety) could protect the lining of the stomach against ulcers. A study has shown that the extract of 2 varieties of bananas cultivated in Thailand (Palo and Hom) would have gastroprotective potential in rats. However, only the Hom variety is believed to have an effect on healing ulcers. However, current research is insufficient to recommend the consumption of bananas for the prevention or treatment of gastric ulcers.
3- Chronic diarrhea can be treated by Banana
A few studies in Bangladesh have shown that eating bananas can decrease symptoms of chronic diarrhea in children. In some cases, a mixture of rice and cooked plantains or a mixture of rice and pectin could decrease the number and weight of stools, as well as the duration of diarrhea in babies. In other cases, the consumption of unripe bananas (½ to 3 bananas per day, depending on the age of the children) hastened the recovery of both acute and chronic diarrhea.
Another study carried out in Venezuela demonstrated that a diet comprising a cooked plantain-based preparation reduced the number and weight of stools, the duration of diarrhea, and promoted weight gain, compared to a traditional preparation based on yogurt.
4- Banana Cures Cardiovascular illnesses by decreasing free radicals
One study indicated that consuming high bananas with a meal (400g, or more than 3 bananas) reduced free radicals in the body 2 hours after a meal. This diet reduced the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), involved in the development of cardiovascular disease.
5- Banana increases the sensitivity of cells to Insulin
Resistant starch (a type of sugar) in unripe bananas is believed to aid weight loss in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, as well as improve the sensitivity of cells to insulin. A resistant starch extract from unripe bananas is also believed to decrease insulin secretion and blood sugar levels (blood sugar levels) in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers have observed that resistant starch decreases the absorption of sugars consumed at the same time, which leads to a decrease in blood sugar levels (blood sugar levels). In addition, regular consumption of resistant starch would lead to a greater increase in ghrelin during meals, a hormone that has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
6- Bananas are a rich source of antioxidants and carotenoids
Although bananas are not among the fruits that contain the most antioxidants, they still have a high antioxidant capacity, which can possibly help prevent the onset of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and various chronic diseases.
The very popular Cavendish banana is said to contain dopamine, a molecule from the catecholamine family. Dopamine has shown antioxidant activity similar to that of vitamin C, the most potent water-soluble antioxidant.
Since bananas contain both dopamine and vitamin C, this could explain their high antioxidant capacity. The plantain would also be an important source of several phenolic compounds which would be well absorbed by the body, thus optimizing their antioxidant potential.
An antioxidant from the flavonoid family, leukocyanidin, has been extracted from unripe plantains. This active compound has shown a protective effect against the removal of the stomach lining, following the intake of aspirin.
Plantain contains beta and alpha-carotene, 2 carotenoids with the ability to transform into vitamin A in the body. Of all the carotenoids, beta-carotene is the most efficient converting to vitamin A. The latter promotes the growth of bones and teeth, maintains skin healthy, and protects against infections.
7- Unripe bananas contain resistant starch
Also, unripe bananas contain resistant starch, a type of sugar that resists the action of digestive enzymes (similar to dietary fiber) and makes it through the colon intact. Under the action of the intestinal flora, the undigested starch then undergoes fermentation, which transforms it into short-chain fatty acids (for example butyric acid). These stimulate the absorption of fluids and salt in the colon, thus decreasing the loss of water in the stool. Short-chain fatty acids are also thought to indirectly improve the permeability of the small intestine, a phenomenon that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea.
Plantains contain more resistant starch than sweet bananas. In addition, as the banana ripens, the amount of resistant starch decreases to such an extent that only bananas which have not reached their optimum ripening stage would contain resistant starch in significant amounts.
8- Micronutrients contained in bananas
Bananas have a unique nutritional profile. Among other things, it contains various nutrients essential for the good health of the organism. Among these nutrients, we can mention the following.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6.
- Manganese: bananas are a good source of manganese for women, but only a source for men.
- Vitamin B9 (folate): bananas and plantains are sources of vitamin B9.
- Vitamin C: bananas and plantains are sources of vitamin C.
- Copper: bananas and plantains are sources of copper.
- Magnesium: bananas and plantains are sources of magnesium.
- Potassium: bananas and plantains are sources of potassium.
9- Banana can help with weight loss
This popular fruit has several attributes that could make it a favorable weight-loss food. Unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be satiating and lower your appetite. If you want to include unripe bananas in your diet, try using them like you would use plantains.
Bananas are relatively low in calories. The average banana is just over 100 calories, but it’s nutritious and filling. Eating more fiber from vegetables and fruits has been repeatedly linked to decreased body weight and weight loss.
10. The manganese in bananas is good for the skin
One medium-sized banana provides about 13% of your daily manganese requirement. Manganese helps your body make collagen and protects your skin and other cells from free radical damage.
11- The potassium in bananas is good for heart health and blood pressure
A medium-sized banana will provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of your daily potassium requirement.
Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. Plus, bananas are low in sodium. The combination of low sodium and high potassium helps control high blood pressure.
12- Bananas give you energy, without the fat and cholesterol
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose, and glucose – giving you a source of energy without fat or cholesterol. As such, bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, midday tea, or before and after sport.
13- Natural Laxative
Eat bananas and you might say goodbye to constipation. Well-ripened bananas contain a type of fiber that helps restore and maintain regular bowel function. They are a natural source for improving the movement of waste through the intestines, according to a 2014 Chinese study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. So eat ripe bananas twice a day.
14- Put a Smile on Your Face
Bananas contain a small amount of tryptophan, an amino acid which, when combined with the natural vitamin B6 in bananas, helps stimulate the production of serotonin, a “feel-good hormone”.
This mood-regulating substance can help relax your mind and body so that you feel happier.
Or maybe it’s just the bright yellow color and smiley shape of a banana that does the trick, according to nutritionist Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., CNS, at the University of Hawaii.
Contraindications While Using bananas
Although excellent for health, bananas are nonetheless an allergenic fruit for many people. You should therefore be careful and watch out for signs of a possible oral allergy, which can have serious consequences if not treated in time.
Beware of allergies
Bananas are a food implicated in oral allergy syndrome. This syndrome is an allergic reaction to certain proteins from a range of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It affects some people with allergies to environmental pollens and is almost always preceded by hay fever.
So when some people consume the raw banana (cooking usually breaks down the allergenic proteins), an immunological reaction may occur. These people experience itching and burning sensations in the mouth, lips, and throat. Symptoms can appear and then go away, usually within minutes of eating or touching the offending food. In the absence of other symptoms, this reaction is not serious and banana consumption should not be avoided systematically. However, it is recommended that you consult an allergist to determine the cause of the reactions to plant foods. The latter will be able to assess whether special precautions should be taken.
People who are allergic to latex may be hypersensitive to bananas as well as other foods such as kiwi and avocado. The reactions are diverse, ranging from hives to anaphylactic reactions. Due to the potential severity of the reactions, extra care should be taken when consuming these foods in people who know they are allergic to latex. Once again, it is recommended that you consult an allergist to determine the cause of the reactions to certain foods as well as the precautions to be taken.
Want to know more about Bananas? Feel free to scroll down……..
How to Choose the banana?
The more green marks the banana has, the less ripe it is and the longer it will keep. It can then be used for cooking. On the other hand, it will have to be left to ripen before consuming it raw, because at this stage, it is indigestible. It is ready to eat when the flesh gives way slightly to the pressure and the peel is quite yellow and slightly striped, without any green coloring.
When it shows brown or black spots, it is past this stage and is then better suited for cooking. Note that small bananas are generally sweeter than large ones. Plantains are usually sold when their skin is green.
How to Keep Banana well for use?
1- Store at Room temperature: as the banana turns black in contact with the cold, it is recommended to store it at room temperature, in a fruit bowl, or on the counter. To hasten the ripening of green bananas, they are placed in a brown paper bag.
2- Freezer: Remove the skin and freeze it whole, in pieces or mashed. Sprinkle with lemon juice right out of the freezer to prevent it from oxidizing.
The banana tree and its diet
Tree of Banana is not a tree, but it’s like giant grass. The trunk is in fact a pseudostem, made up of leaf sheaths (leaves overlapping at the base).
The set of bananas produced on the same plant (from 100 to 400) is called a “bunch”, which is divided into groups of 10 or 20 fruits called “hands” or “legs”. The individual fruits are called “fingers”.