Banana as Fruit

Bananas are one of the most populous fruits known all over the world. They contain essential nutrients that can help protect human health. They not only protect human health, but they are also very easy to eat. Bananas vary in color, size, and shape. Each banana is composed mainly of water and carbohydrates. Bananas contain very little protein, low calories, and no fat. Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and several nutrients.

Bananas ripen steadily when at room temperature. Bananas ripen faster when kept inside a paper bag. Bananas kept inside refrigerators ripen slowly. The outer peel gets darkened inside the fridge but the banana itself could stay in good condition for a very long time. Due to their outer protective peel, bananas rarely contain pollutants or pesticides. Unripe bananas contain a high level of starch, when ripe the starch is converted to glucose in the body.

 

Nutritional Composition of Banana

The table below shows the amount of each nutrient in a medium-sized banana. It also shows how much nutrients an adult needs daily according to the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines. Requirements differ based on a person’s gender and age.

 

    NUTRIENT

AMOUNT IN ONE BANANA

DAILY ADULT REQUIREMENT

Energy (calories)

105

1800-3000

Carbohydrates (g)

27, including 14.4g of sugar

130

Fiber (g)

3.1

25.2-33.6

Protein (g)

1.3

46-56

Magnesium (mg)

31.9

320-420

Phosphorus (mg)

26

700

Potassium (mg)

422

470

Vitamin C (mg)

10.3

75-90

Choline (mg)

11.6

425-550

Folate (mgDFE)

23.6

400

Beta carotene (mcg)

30.7

No data

Alpha carotene (mcg)

29.5

No data


Selenium, Choline, Vitamin C, Alpha, and Beta carotene all have antioxidant attributes.

Science-based Health Benefits of Bananas

·        Bananas aid Digestion:

A medium-sized banana is a good fiber source as it contains about 3 grams of fiber.

Bananas contain two major types of fiber:

Pectin: As the banana becomes ripe, the fiber amount reduces.

Resistant starch: Found in unripe bananas.

Resistant starch doesn’t get digested. It ends up in the large intestine where bacteria in the gut feeds on it.

 

·       Bananas Help Moderate the Level of Sugar in the Blood:

Bananas consist of a high level of fiber nutrient- pectin that gives the skin it’s spongy structural nature. Unripe bananas consist of resistant starch that acts like soluble fiber. Both pectin and resistant starch help moderate the level of blood sugar.

However, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should avoid eating lots of ripe bananas to prevent an increase in blood sugar level.

 

·        Bananas Improve the Sensitivity of Insulin:

Several studies show that about 15-30g of resistant starch daily helps improve insulin sensitivity by 33-50% in probably four weeks but not all studies concur to this finding. Since unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch, they may help boost insulin sensitivity thereby preventing the risk of Diabetes.

 

·        Bananas Can Serve as a Nutritious Meal for Athletes:

Consumption of bananas, help reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness known to affect 95% of people in the world due to their mineral content and easily digestible fibers. There’s a theory that stated the cause of cramps. The theory stated that cramps are caused by an imbalance of water and electrolyte in the body.

 

·        Bananas boost Heart and Kidney Health:

Bananas contain potassium and also an appropriate amount of magnesium that is important for the control of blood pressure. A potassium-rich diet (bananas inclusive) could help lower blood pressure and also the risk of heart diseases. Bananas are vital for the health maintenance and function of the Kidney. Studies show that those who eat or consume bananas at least 4-6 times a week are less likely to develop kidney disease.

 

Bananas are known to prevent diseases like:

·        Asthma: A study conducted in 2007 showed that eating bananas may help prevent wheezing in children with asthma simply because they contain antioxidants and potassium.

·        Cancer:Investigations conducted in the laboratory have shown that lectin (a protein that can act as an antioxidant) may help prevent leukemia cells from developing. The antioxidants help destroy free radicals (molecules) in the body especially if they are too much to prevent cell damage that could possibly lead to cancer.

A research conducted in the year 2004 showed that children who ate bananas or drank orange juice regularly had a lower risk of having Leukemia. This was linked to the fact that orange juice contained Vitamin C, an antioxidant property.

 

·        Bananas contain strong Antioxidants:

Vegetables and fruits are one of the best sources of dietary antioxidants and bananas are no exclusion. They contain numerous types of antioxidants- dopamine and catechin inclusive. These antioxidants reduce the risk of heart diseases and other potential diseases. They also help remove molecules (free radicals).

Tips on how to use Bananas

Bananas make an excellent snack food, dessert, or breakfast. They are very easy to be incorporated in whatever diet or meal as they can perform the role of many functions. Below are five various ways in which one can use a banana in diets.

You can;

·        Add a sliced banana to your meal in the morning for a nutritious breakfast.

·        Mash ripe bananas and use in place of butter or oil in baked products.

·        Add mashed bananas to cakes, cookies, smoothies, or snacks generally for a sweet flavor.

·        Take a banana in between meals as snacks.

·        Use banana as sugar in baking and cooking

Banana can also, be processed and become a product that can be used or consumed such as banana powder and plantain chips.

Bananas also help in making one easily satisfied as both resistant starch contained in unripe bananas and pectin contained in ripe bananas help reduce appetite and increase satisfaction after meals.

It is important to note that bananas aid learning, weight loss, and preserves memory too. It also regulates mood. So frequent consumption of bananas improves one’s capacity to grasp and remember things.

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