Botanically considered an herb, a banana is a fruit that has a thick skin, sweet flesh, and yellow color. Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits that should be added to the diet of both healthy and unhealthy individuals due to its high nutritional value and numerous benefits. In this guide, we will talk about bananas in detail so you can know what magic they hold.
Where the Bananas Grow
It is said by the horticulturists and scientists that the bananas were the first fruit on earth. Bananas are being cultivated in more than 150 countries. Their region is said to be Southeast Asia – in the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia. Each year, nearly 150 million metric tons of bananas are produced (as of 2017 data).
Bananas are mainly divided into two types.First one is the cooking bananas, which are starchy and boiled, fried, and grilled and eaten along with other savory foods. They contain vitamin C, calories, and carbs.The other type is dessert bananas, which are eaten raw since they are sweet.
Here are further types of bananas:
1. Cavendish Bananas
Easily available in the supermarkets of America,Cavendish bananas are the most common type of bananas. They can be added into pancakes, smoothies, or bread. Cavendish bananas are more frequently consumed by Americans than any other fruits such as apples and oranges
2. Lady’s finger Bananas
Occasionally called Baby (Niño), these are small, 3 inches long on average. Ladyfinger bananas have light yellow skin and sweet and creamy flesh.
3. Red Bananas
Red bananas have a thick skin, which is red or maroon in the start and then turns yellow-orange when fully ripe. The flesh of red bananas is creamy white and sweet.
4. Manzano Banana
These are chubby and short bananas – similar to apple and strawberry. This is the reason that they are also called “Apple bananas”.
Bananas are rich in carbs, fibers, dopamine, catechin, minerals, and vitamins. Some of the minerals and vitamins and their benefits are listed below:
Banana fulfills your 10% daily potassium requirement since an average medium-sized banana provides 320-400 mg of potassium. Potassium is good for your heart health. Low sodium, along with potassium, controls blood pressure and keeps it balanced.
Magnesium is good for your skin as it helps your body make collagen. An average-sized banana fulfills your 13% of daily magnesium intake.
- Vitamin B6
Bananas are loaded with vitamin B6. This essential vitamin helps in the production of red blood cells. In addition to that, it promotes the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and converts them into energy. Moreover, itboosts the metabolism of amino acids and is good for your nervous system. It helps in the removal of chemicals and toxins from your kidney and liver. Vitamin B6 is good for pregnant women too.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps your body in the absorption of iron, protects your cells and tissues from getting damaged, and produces serotonin that promotes your brain health. Bananas provide up to 10% of our daily vitamin C need.
When to Eat Bananas and Which Ones to Eat
The best time to eat a banana depends upon your personal preference and nutritional needs. Newly ripened bananas are less sweet as compared to the fully ripened bananas. This is because starch does not fully break down into simple sugar in newly ripened bananas. Eating fully ripened bananas with dark patches are easy to digest and makes you feel full as well as gives you a boost of energy that is required to do workouts.
Bananas are enriched with minerals and vitamins, which are super beneficial for your body. The body uses the minerals and vitamins for nerve and muscle function as well as to maintain the pH level of your body. Bananas also have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants like phenolic compounds and carotenoids present in bananas help to protect the cells. Bananas are beneficial for both physical and mental health.
Following are some top health benefits of bananas:
- Regeneration of Muscles
During a workout, your muscles use stored glycogen which is a source of glucose to get energy, leaving them exhausted. Therefore, it is important to refill the lost minerals like potassium and sodium to prevent muscle fatigue. Bananas contain magnesium, potassium, and other minerals – hence they can be a great post-workout food since they promote muscle growth and restore glycogen.
- Aids in Pregnancy
Sleep during pregnancy gets disturbed, which may lead to gestational diabetes. Banana may help prevent gestational diabetes, and magnesium and tryptophan in it help you have a good night sleep during pregnancy.
- Helps in Digestion & Weight Loss
Bananas are good for digestion as they contain high fiber content. One banana can provide up to 10% of your daily fiber intake requirement. The presence of Vitamin B6 can protect you from type II diabetes and promote weight loss. Due to its sweet taste and filling property, banana also helps in controlling curb cravings.
- Good for Bones
Bananas may not have high calcium content, but they are still important for your bones. They contain a high quantity of fructooligosaccharides, which is a non-digestive carbohydrate that promotes digestive-friendly probiotics—hence enhancing the calcium absorption in your bones.
- Better Vision
When it comes to eyesight, carrots get all the praise. But banana has its role too in the betterment of eyesight due to the presence ofa little but significant amount of vitamin A, which helps in maintaining normal vision and improves night vision. Therefore, bananas can be your best alternative if you don’t like carrots.
Bananas are as equally important for babies as adults. They provide high energy and reduce weight gain in babies. Moreover, bananas are good for the bowel movement and fulfill the nutritional needs of the babies since they contain a lot of minerals and vitamins.
Beauty Benefits of Bananas
We all know how good bananas are for our body as they help protect it from many serious conditions and diseases. In addition to health benefits, bananas are also very beneficial for your skin if used in the right way. Following are some beauty benefits of bananas:
- Reduce Acne and Acne Scars
To reduce your acne and acne scar, take a piece of banana peel and rub it on the infected area for a few minutes until the inside of the peel turns brown. Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times for 15 to 20 minutes a day for better and quick results.
To remove a wart, take a piece of banana peel and place it on the infected area and leave overnight. Do this until the wart disappears.
- Wrinkles and Fine Lines
By rubbing a banana peel daily on your face can reduce the fine lines and wrinkles. Moreover, it can make your skin toned and tightened.
- Glowing Skin
Banana helps in getting glowing skin as it has natural skin lightening properties as it contains vitamin A and helps with getting rid of discoloration. Banana also contains Vitamin E that protects your skin from free radicals. Mash a banana and apply it on your skin and leave it for 10-15 minutes and then wash your face with cold water and you will get an instant glow.
- Amazing Hair
Instead of buying shampoos and other hair products that contain chemicals which damage your hair, you can make an organic, banana mask for your hair at home. It is quite cheap compared to the products you buy from the stores. Banana contains vitamin B and folate, which are very good for your hair. All you need to do is take a banana, some milk and honey, and mix the ingredients. After mixing them well, apply the mixture onto your hair. Leave the mask for 20 minutes and then wash your hair like you usually do.
You will definitely feel a significant difference in the smoothness of your hair. However, you have to do so regularly as the results won’t just appear overnight.
Some Side Effects
Bananas are beneficial when consumed in moderation. Overdose of everything is harmful. And bananas are no exception as eating too many of them in a day can cause some issues as well. It is recommended not to eat more than two medium-sized bananas a day.
Following are some side effects that you may feel after eating too many bananas:
Bananas contain amino acids that enlarge the blood vessels, and buildup of amino acid can result in a severe headache.
- Tooth Decay
Bananas are sweet and contain a good amount of sugar in them. Therefore, eating too many bananas can cause tooth decay if you do not maintain proper dental hygiene.
Bananas contain Tryptophan that makes you sleepy. Hence, you should avoid eating bananas in great quantity.
Hyperkalemia is a term used when the level of potassium exceeds the normal required level of your body. Since bananas contain a high content of potassium, eating too many of them can lead you to this condition. Therefore, it makes you feel nauseous and slows down your pulse rate.
- Nerve Damage
Bananas contain vitamin B6, which is very good for your nervous system when taken in the right amount. Eating bananas in abundance can cause irreversible damage to your nervous system. Consuming more than 100 bananas can get you overdosed with vitamin B6.
Some people may be allergic to bananas. If you experience itching, difficulty in breathing, inflammation, and swelling, you should get medical help immediately. Severe allergic reactions can cause anaphylaxis, which is a serious and life-threatening condition.
Role of Bananas in Prevention of Some Diseases
If you are suffering from depression, you can give bananas a try since they contain vitamin B6 and amino acid (tryptophan), which promotes the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that improves your overall mood and reduces symptoms of depression.
- Heart Disease
Bananas contain potassium that acts as an electrolyte and keeps the electric charge flow throughout your body. Electrolytes are important for your heart to beat. Furthermore, the low sodium content and high potassium in bananas protect your cardiovascular system from serious problems like high blood pressure.
Bananas contain magnesium that helps in making you feel good. So whenever you have migraine or headache, eat a banana.
- Reduces Anxiety
Bananas contain a high content of potassium, which helps in reducing anxiety and stress. Potassium promotes the production of the stress hormone, called cortisol. So if you have a big presentation and you are anxious, eat a banana before giving the presentation.
The risk of asthma reduced up to 34% in children who had one banana daily. Bananas contain an antioxidant that cleans up your immune system, preventing tissue damage.
Bananas contain a high amount of antioxidants like phenolic, which helps in preventing kidney cancer. Therefore, it is advised to eat bananas in moderate quantities.
Some Interesting Facts about Bananas
- Bananas are grown in more than 150 countries.
- It is believed that bananas have more than 1,000 different types grown around the globe, which are subdivided into 50 categories.
- Bananas fall under the fruits category. However, they are grown on a plant that is informally called a banana tree, which is an herb, related to the ginger family.
- A wart can be removed within two weeks if you rub the banana peel on the infected area daily without skipping a day.
- Since bananas contain seeds in them, they are scientifically considered as a berry. This is because berries contain seeds inside, not in the outside of the flesh.
- Bananas can reduce the risk of heart failure and stroke. They do so by reducing the risk of hardening in the arteries.
- Bananas can float on water.
- We share about 50% of our DNA with bananas.
- The oils inside the skin of a banana can help in reducing the inflammation and itching, caused by the bite of an insect.
- A newly ripened or green banana has high starch content, but in fully ripened or yellow bananas, the starch gets broken into simple sugar.
Banana is a delicious and popular fruit that provides several health and beauty benefits. Try to add bananas into your diet as they are low in calories, promote weight loss, and contain important nutrients that are necessary for your body and good health. We hope that you like our article – don’t forget to share this information with your health-conscious loved ones.