Many people eat bananas because it’s delicious, cheap and easily accessible. However, there are not many who are aware that this fruit was even being called as ‘happy fruit‘ by the Europeans, thanks to its endless benefits.
Bananas are rich in nutrients such as protein, sugar, lipids, carbohydrates, crude fiber, pectin, beta carotene, vitamins B1, B6, C, E, P and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
It also has a high composition of magnesium and potassium.
With all these nutrients, it is no surprise that eating banana will be very good for our overall health. Here are a few benefits of eating bananas:
1. Improve immunity
Banana is surprisingly a type of berries. As berries are always known for their antioxidant substances, banana also has other nutrients such as copper that can protect cells from damage and Vitamin B6 to make important proteins for the immune systems such as antibodies. Vitamin C found in banana can protect lymphocytes from chemicals they release when attacking invading pathogens.
2. Replenish physical strength and rejuvenate
Thanks to its high potassium content, banana can help to enhance heart function and supply energy to the body—rejuvenate and replenish physical strength. Potassium is also important to help maintain fluid levels in body and regulate movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.
3. Reduce blood pressure
Eating banana can help us to maintain a low sodium intake, hence assist in lowering and regulating blood pressure.
4. Alleviate anemia
Dietary iron in banana can promote the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin, strengthening blood supply to the body.
5. Strengthen the nerves
Vitamin B in banana can maintain normal blood sugar, ease the nervous system, help the body to relax and also able to relieve pain.
6. Help to quit smoking
This sounds unlikely but banana contains Vitamins B6, B12, potassium, and magnesium which can help people who quit smoking adapt to the effects of no nicotine stimulation.
7. Relieve dry eyes
Potassium in banana can help the body to discharge excess salt so that the body can reach the balance between potassium and sodium—relieving discomfort in our eyes.
8. Laxative effect
Banana is rich in fiber, hence it has a good laxative effect. It also has pectin component that can fully lubricate the intestines. However, beware of eating unripe banana as it may cause constipation.
9. Makes you happy
Banana and its skin contain tryptophan, a substance that can be converted to serotonin—an important chemical that can induce happiness in the brain. Hence, eating banana can make you feel happy and also effectively treat depression.
Serotonin in banana not only bring happiness, but also makes you calm, help you sleep better, and resist melancholy and anxiety.
Despite all the benefits, there are also things that you should pay attention to when eating them.
Tips to remember before eating a banana
- Eating banana with food like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and taro that have a high starch content will make it easy to produce flatulence.
- As banana is a cold fruit that can slow down gastrointestinal motility, it is not recommended to eat it on an empty stomach as slow gastrointestinal motility can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and even abdominal cramps.
Japanese doctor and nutrition medicine expert Tsurumi Takashi suggested it’s best to eat banana with 40 to 60 % spots as studies from Teiko University found a high concentration of ‘tumor necrosis factor’ that kills cancer cells in spotted bananas.
Although banana has a lot of health benefits, it is not for everyone
- Patient with intestinal failure should avoid it as the potassium in banana can rapidly increase potassium concentration in the patient’s blood, making the condition worse.
- Banana does not affect bones in general, but eating cold fruit like banana when you have bone damage or wounds resulting in abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and slow blood circulation—hence the bone damage can’t quickly heal.
- People with too much stomach acid are not recommended to eat any banana as it contains a high level of sugar and can stimulate gastric acid secretion.
Banana flowers and peels are good for you too
In 2013, a Taiwanese biomedical company extracted serotonin and catechin from banana peels to make anti-depressant drinks. You can make it yourself by washing the banana peel, boil it with water, and add honey or milk to make it taste better.
Besides the fruit and peel, you can also boil banana flower and eat it as it can anneal heat, stop bleeding, lower blood pressure and prevent stroke.
In other words, banana is not your average fruit!