At just 110 calories each, bananas provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese and, of course, potassium. Those who consume diets rich in potassium are 50% less likely to have a stroke compared to their non-potassium consuming peers, according to a study recently published in Neurology. This mineral also fights high blood pressure and UCSF researchers found it may prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. The "b" in bananas reminds us they are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which according to Dr. Terry Shultz, a professor at Washington State University, has been shown to lower the risk of colon, prostate, lung, gastric and pancreatic cancers. These researchers speculate that the B6 may be b-hind banana's anti-cancer benefits, by helping to inhibit DNA strand breaks. Banana consumption has been linked to lower risk of leukemia, colorectal and kidney cancers. In fact, a study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that those who consumed bananas three or more times per week had a 72% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to those who consumed them less than one time per week. Bananas are also bursting with phytochemicals such as myricetin (which could help lower blood sugar), beta-sitosterol (lowers cholesterol), and dopamine (neutralizes free radicals).
Bananas have a long list of health benefits, some of which are:
- Ease Constipation: its high fiber content helps digestive tract and bowel movement.
- Diarrhea: the potassium replaces the lost electrolytes.
- Anemia: the iron helps to replenish the red blood cells.
- Healthy bones: bananas contain a complex sugar compound that nourishes good bacteria in the colon. This good bacteria produce enzymes which help digestion and in the process increase the absorption of calcium.
- Prevent High blood pressure: its high potassium and low sodium ratio helps prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
- Help reduce Ulcers: bananas stimulate the cells on the internal stomach lining to produce a thick mucus protecting it against acid; it contain enzyme inhibitors that get rid of bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers.
- Reduce Depression: bananas contain an amino acid that can be converted to serotonin and help reduce depression.
- Relief Stress: when a person is highly stressed, his potassium level will deplete quickly. Eating bananas, which is high in potassium, will restore the level and provide a good balance in the body.
- Reduce Heartburn: bananas help to prevent the build-up of acids in the stomach and provide relief for people suffering from heartburn.
- Reduce Morning Sickness: bananas help keep the blood-sugar level up and reduce morning sickness.
- Help to quit Smoking: bananas contain vitamins B6, B12, potassium and magnesium that can help a person trying to quit smoking to recover from nicotine withdrawal.
- Anti-Cancer quality: a fully ripe banana produces a substance known as TNF that can fight abnormal cells. Dark spots will appear on the skin of the banana as it ripens. The more dark spots it has the better its fighting ability and anti-cancer quality. In researches conducted in Japan using animals, the health benefits of various fruits were compared. The fruits include banana, apple, pear, pineapple, persimmon, grape, and water melon. Banana came out top. Eating bananas produced the anti-cancer substance TNF, increased the white blood cells count, and improved the immunity of the body.
by Chongyim Ng