‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away!’While this quote is true, there is another fruit that is as nutritious as it– the banana. With its sweet and creamy taste, there is no wonder why this fruit has long been considered as a favorite among many individuals. Not to mention, the abundance and year round availability of this fruit makes it possible to enjoy by everyone. Growing in clusters with a total of between 50 and 150, each ‘hand’ consists of 10 to 25 pieces; thus making it possible to enjoy on a daily basis.
Based on studies, bananas are perceived to have originated in Malaysia approximately 4000 years ago. Despite this, it was only in 327 B.C. when Alexander the Great’s army first recorded the fruit to have grown throughout countries such as India and the Philippines. Bringing the fruit to the U.S., it was the Portuguese explorers who were responsible for this through the olden currency of trading. Thanks to the technology and rapid transport measures, bananas are now sold throughout the world. Meanwhile, they continue to grow in tropical and subtropical regions; with countries such as Ecuador, Brazil, and Costa Rica as the main commercial producers of the fruit.
The most popoular type of banana is the one with a yellow skin; however, this is not the only one variety available. Once ripened, bananas can also come in other hues such as black, purple, pink, and red. Along with its color, the taste of the fruit also varies from sweet to a starchy feel. The most commonly sold variety in the United States include the Cavendish, Martinique, and Big Michael. Meanwhile, plantain bananas are considered as a vegetable and are usually cooked. This variety comes with a starchier taste and a higher concentration of beta-carotene among sweet bananas.
- Vitamin B6 – 25.2%
- Manganese – 16%
- Vitamin C – 13.6%
- Fiber – 12.2%
- Potassium – 12%
- Biotin – 10.2%
- Copper – 10%
Bananas are believed to contain a number of nutrients such as sugar, carbohydrates, sodium, soluble and insoluble fiber, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and many more. Since they are an excellent source of electrolytes, they are recommended for daily consumption.
The consumption of bananas have been known to produce a number of health benefits to the individual. By eating this fruit, you get to improve your health and other aspects of your body including these:
Optimizes Eye Health
Since bananas contain vitamin A compounds like beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, it is able to normalize your vision and protect your eyes. What these compounds do is that they preserve the surrounding membranes in your eyes. They are also among the components of a protein that enables light to enter your cornea. With the adequate daily intake of vitamin A, you can lessen your risk for night blindness.
Depression and MoodLifter
Bananas contain a high amount of tryptophan, that converts itself into serotonin; a neurotransmitter that helps improve an individual’s mood. You can also sleep well and relax your muscles, thanks to vitamin B6 and magnesium found in bananas.
Strengthen Your Bones
The fruit may not be filled with lots of calcium, but they still contain fructooligosaccharides, a component that encourages probiotics through a digestive tract friendly system. At the same time, this component improves the body’s own ability to absorb calcium.
The daily consumption of a banana helps promote a healthy and regular bowel movement. Considering an average 6-inch banana contains over 2.5 grams of total fiber (1/2 insoluble), it is able to help clear up your digestive tract of waste. Along with this, your bowel movement will be soft and easy; giving you an easy time whenever you feel the need to go.
Because of a regular bowel movement, bananas are also considered as a great way to help you lose weight. The soluble fiber in a banana helps slow down digestion as soon as it absorbs the water in the digestive tract. As such, you get to feel full with just a regular-sized banana. Apart from this fact, consuming a regular banana can help curb your hunger whenever you’re craving for something sweet. Since a regular 6-inch banana contains only 90 calories, you don’t get to worry about losing the weight compared to a regular chocolate bar.
Normalizes Heart Function
A daily serving of a regular sized banana at breakfast can add the nutrients that you need in supporting your heart’s normal function. Since bananas are rich in potassium, it helps keep your heart beat regularly through the continuous flow of your cell membranes. A severe deficiency in the supply of this electrolyte in your body can lead to your heart’s rhythm becoming irregular and be a deadly scenario.
Protects Against Cancer
Based on some studies, the moderate consumption of bananas can be a helpful prevention against kidney cancer. One reason for this is because the fruit contains a high amount of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Bananas contains a substance known as chitinases; which are usually connected with latex-fruit allergy syndrome. If you already have a latex allergy, it is common that you will be allergic to these types of food too.
- While there has been no significant side effect that has been associated with the moderate consumption of the fruit, eating too much may produce sleepiness and headaches. This is because the fruit, and overripe ones, are equipped with amino acids that could dilate blood vessels.
- Eating too much of the fruit can also lead to dental problems such as tooth decay, especially for those who do not maintain proper hygiene.
- Overconsumption of potassium has been known to lead to a condition called hyperkalemia, which weakens the muscle, causes an irregular heartbeat, and temporary paralysis.
Selecting and Storing
When it comes to the process of buying bananas, you have to pick out the color of the peel according to when you plan on consuming them. Compared with the yellow peel variety, buying green colored bananas may take a while to ripen. At the same time, the fruit should be firm; yet not too hard.
You may store a banana in the fridge to prolong its lifespan.