We’re constantly being told about the importance of following a healthy and balanced diet, with a great deal of emphasis being placed on fresh fruits and vegetables in particular. Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered so healthy and beneficial because they’re absolutely loaded full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and various other nutrients that are considered vital for everyday health and well-being. But which, if any, of these foods are considered the best? Well, in reality that all comes down to personal preferences and circumstances. Say for example, a person was suffering from a weakened immune system due to a lack of Vitamin C. In that particular instance, fruits such as limes and oranges would be considered the best for those individuals, because they’re full of Vitamin C. In terms of a general balance of nutrients, which in turn are able to provide a variety of different health and fitness benefits to individuals from all walks of life however, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a healthier food than the humble banana, which is what we’ll be focusing on right now, by providing a few great reasons why you may want to consider eating more bananas.
They’re a near instant source of energy
One of the main benefits of bananas, and one of the main reasons why they’re so popular amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts is the fact that they’re able to provide a near instantaneous source of energy, which stays in the system for at least two hours. They’re a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates and they’re very easily digested as well. If you’re struggling due to a lack of energy, or know that you’ll need more energy than usual over the next few hours, a banana could be the answer to all of your troubles.
They’re great for bone health
As far as general health and well-being is concerned, many of us tend to neglect our bones because we can’t actually see them with our own eyes. Despite this however, looking after our bones is an essential part of everyday life, especially as we grow older, or if we wish to protect ourselves before we grow older. Diseases and conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis are very common, especially in slightly more elderly individuals, and what’s more is the fact that they can easily be prevented. The great thing about bananas is the fact that they’re a rich source of the mineral Potassium, which has a number of benefits, some more of which we’ll be learning about later. Diets rich in sodium (salt) can cause calcium, an essential mineral required for the bones, to be excreted in urine, which weakens the bones and puts them at risk. The great thing about potassium in bananas however, is that it neutralises extra sodium, which means more calcium stays within the body, benefitting the bones as a result.
They assist with digestion
Having a healthy digestive system is another vital part of everyday health and well-being as it can assist with nutrient uptake and absorption. Bananas are packed full of dietary fiber which plays a key role in digestive health and well-being in a number of different ways. To begin with, fiber allows foods consumed to make its way far more smoothly through the digestive tract, which in turn can help with the removal of toxins and ingredients deemed unhealthy and unhelpful. They’re also rich in Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which is a pre-biotic. Pre-biotics are beneficial because they help supply food to the healthy bacteria already living in the gut and digestive tract, which in turn helps improve nutrient absorption. There is also evidence to suggest that they can help eliminate heartburn as well.
They help with stomach ulcers
If you’ve ever suffered with a stomach ulcer, you won’t need anybody to tell you just how painful they can be, and if you haven’t, take it from us, you don’t want to. Studies have found that regularly consuming bananas could help to prevent and treat painful stomach ulcers in a number of different ways, for a number of various reasons. One of the reasons why bananas are so beneficial is because they contain compounds which are able to provide much thicker and larger protective barriers within the stomach, which in turn help provide additional protection against hydrochloric acid, which can lead to painful ulcers. They’re also rich in protease inhibitors which are able to eliminate bacteria within the stomach that has been known to contribute towards stomach ulcers. So, the next time you feel your stomach causing you pain, try reaching for a banana and see if that helps.
They’re a great source of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is very important for the formation of haemoglobin required for healthy blood, as haemoglobin is basically essential for the transportation of oxygen within the bloodstream itself. The vitamin also plays a key role in blood glucose maintenance and regulation as it helps to synthesize certain amino acids and to create more potent antibodies required for increased immunity. One average sized banana contains around 20% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, though obviously larger ones will provide more, and smaller ones slightly less.
Bananas are also great for the skin
Ironically, it is the skins of the banana that are considered the most beneficial our skin as they have been used to help treat skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. It may sound like an old wife’s tale to some of you, but generally it has been found that rubbing the inside skin of a freshly peeled banana over infected skin, and then being left for several hours, can actually help to provide much softer and much healthier looking skin. Beauty salons now use banana skin peels and treatments for various beauty purposes and if you search online you can read numerous reviews from people who have indeed enjoyed a great deal of success as a result of using banana skins on their own skin.