Know the Health Benefits of Bananas

Edited by Ermin, Robbi, Graeme, Lynn and 4 others

Bananas - main pic - ermin.jpg

Bananas are among the world's healthiest fruits. Everyone should include bananas in their everyday diet.

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The Virtues of the Banana

  • The banana is said to be able to treat various health problems, from digestive disorders to osteo to neurological problems. Bananas are said to also reduce morning sickness or nausea, combat depression, ease a hangover, and even make you smarter.
  • Bananas are easy to find. You can buy them at supermarkets and grocery stores. You may want to store a bunch of bananas in your kitchen and reach for one whenever you are hungry for a snack. In one banana a day, you will be able to get many nutrients you need.
  • Bananas are a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, etc. The average sized banana contains 95 calories, but is low in fat with zero cholesterol. It is also low in sodium and is an excellent source of fiber.
  • If you're interested in learning the health benefits of bananas as well as different variations, and the vitamins and minerals they contain that are responsible for promoting a better health, keep reading.

Classifications of Bananas

There are two major classifications of bananas:

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    Plantains
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    The plantains are not sweet, so they are used as starchy vegetables for cooking, frying, and making some desserts. Plantain bananas are longer than ordinary bananas. The plantains are green or yellow, and some are even black with thicker skins, while the ordinary bananas are green when unripe, but yellow when they turn ripe.
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    Bananas
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    These include all "bananas" that aren't plantains. They are usually eaten raw, but are sometimes cooked, although plantains are usually the ones you use in cooking.
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Types of Bananas

Like many fruits, bananas come in different varieties, depending on the place they grow. What many people think is that all bananas are yellow, but actually, some varieties are green or red. Some varieties of bananas available at supermarkets and grocery stores include:

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    Cavendish bananas
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    Cavendish bananas -ermin.jpg
    These are the most widely known bananas in the United States. Plantations of these fruits can be found in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. In western supermarkets, the bulk of bananas you find there are mostly Cavendish bananas. The fresh Cavendish bananas are available all year round. Americans usually buy Cavendish bananas for making puddings, muffins, bread baking, yogurts, smoothies, pies, and custards. Of course, they also love to eat the fresh bananas.
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    Red bananas
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    Red bananas-ermin.JPG
    These kinds of bananas have pink flesh and red skin with slightly dark spots. Compared to other bananas, they are bigger around, yet shorter. The flesh of red bananas is slightly firmer and sweeter. They also vary in color from pink to purplish hue. Red bananas are originally from southern Asia, Mexico, and India, but can also be found in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.
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    Plantain bananas
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    Plantain bananas- ermin.jpg
    These bananas are also called platano bananas, and are native to India and other tropical countries. The good quality platano bananas look overripe with dark scars and spots. These bananas should have firm flesh when eaten. These bananas are referred to as the potatoes or pastas of the Caribbean. They are suitable for frying, cooking, or making desserts. These kinds are used like a starchy vegetable, because they are mainly starchy and not sweet, unlike other types of bananas.
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    Burro bananas
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    Burro banana - ermin.jpg
    These bananas are also called chunky bananas. They originally hail from Mexico. They look like regular bananas, but they are shorter than most, and more angular. The taste of the burro bananas is tangy - something like a lemon and banana mixture. When ripe, the skin of burro bananas becomes yellow with dark spots. The flesh is either yellow or creamy white. You can eat them fresh or use them for cooking.
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    Manzano bananas
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    Manzano bananas - ermin.jpeg
    Like Cavendish bananas, manzano bananas are short and have thick, golden yellow skin. They are commonly called apple bananas, because their flavor has a slight apple-strawberry taste. They taste best when they are ripe. When these bananas have ripened, the skin should be black or have dark spots. Manzano bananas are sweeter than other types of bananas. They hail from Asia, Caribbean, South America, Mexico, and Africa.
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    Nino or baby bananas
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    Nino banana - ermin.jpg
    These bananas are also called lady finger bananas, because they are among the sweetest and smallest types of bananas. A baby banana is just about 7.5 cm or 3 inches long. When baby bananas become ripe, they look bright yellow in color with thick skin. The flesh is creamy and dense. Baby bananas are rich sources of vitamin B6, which is good for the heart. Baby bananas are native to Colombia.
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What Do We Get from Eating Bananas?

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    Nutritional value
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    Bananas are loaded with helpful nutrients, which are good for the health and mind. There is a debate whether a banana is good for dieters, since a large banana has about 95-125 calories. This may not be good for people who are on a diet. However, what you may not know is that the calories found in bananas are actually fat-free calories. Bananas are good substitutes for desserts and other sweet foods. That is why many people eat them, because they feel energized and full after eating just one banana. The good calories found in bananas can make one energetic throughout the day. The best news is that the calories are nearly fat-free, which is really good for dieters and those who want to lose weight. The nutrients also help reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.
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    Bananas are rich sources of fiber
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    What is the role of fiber in one's body, anyway? Fiber can help digest solid foods in our body and regulate bowel movements. Fiber removes unwanted fats and toxins in the body and helps keep the digestive lining safe and healthy. When you eat bananas, you will also feed the probiotic bacteria in your gut, making you a lot healthier. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels, which is especially good news for people with type-2 diabetes. It slows down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Fiber can help reduce bad cholesterol in the body, as well.
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    Bananas are rich sources of potassium
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    The main responsibility of potassium in one's body is that it helps regulate the body's fluid levels. It is one of the important electrolytes in the body, making the entire body and healthy cells work properly. It helps make all systems work well, from central to cardiovascular, and all systems in between.
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    Bananas are excellent sources of vitamin B6
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    Vitamin B6 deficiency results in anemia, cracks at both corners of the mouth, scaly skin on the lips, itchy rashes, and a swollen tongue, among other problems. This vitamin can help prevent many forms of diseases and ailments, such as neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
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    Bananas also contain vitamin C, which is good for boosting the immune system
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    The fruits also help protect the body against free radicals and other foreign substances. Make it a habit to eat at least one banana a day to protect yourself from viral diseases, such as common colds and flu. Children can also eat a banana a day to make them more alert and smarter at school.
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Health Benefits of Bananas

Now you have learned the most popular vitamins and minerals found in bananas; you may want to learn more about the health benefits of the fruits below:

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    Bananas help protect your eyesight
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    In the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, it was reported that three or more servings of fruits daily can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which usually occurs in older adults. Loss of vision is a big problem when you get older. In order to prevent this issue, you have to eat at least three servings of fruit a day.
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    Bananas help treat digestive problems
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    Diarrhea is a serious health problems that can make one become inactive - because you have no energy. When you have diarrhea, it will deplete all the nutrients in your body. However, if you eat a banana, it will help replenish all the fluids and other nutrients you have lost, because bananas are rich sources of potassium, a natural electrolyte mineral.
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    In addition to potassium, bananas are excellent sources of fiber that can help eliminate toxins and regulate bowel movements
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    The fruits will also help ease stomach pains, including constipation and ulcers.
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    The nutrients found in bananas can help normalize the stomach lining, making thicker mucus to protect it from damage and stomach acids
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    In fact, the stomach acids are risk factors for stomach ulcers.
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    Bananas can help prevent cardiovascular problems
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    Potassium in bananas can help protect your heart from cardiovascular diseases. It helps normalize your heart function as well as your blood pressure. One large banana contains 467 milligrams of potassium, with only 1 milligram of sodium. In one study about potassium-rich foods for the heart, researchers monitored 40,000 male Americans for four consecutive years to study the effects of potassium on blood pressure. Some researchers claim that men who ate rich sources of potassium had reduced risk of heart failure. You may want to eat a banana a day to help avoid getting cardiovascular diseases.
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    Bananas can help strengthen your bones
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    Bananas do not contain rich sources of calcium, but they do help promote calcium absorption. How do bananas strengthen the bones? Bananas contain rich sources of fructooligosaccharide, an essential compound called probiotic. This compound helps nourish the good bacteria (probiotics) in the colon. The role of these bacteria is to produce digestive enzymes and nutrients that help promote one's ability to absorb nutrients, including calcium. When this compound is fermented by the probiotics, the number of probiotic bacteria increases, and the body's ability to absorb calcium improves. Calcium helps strengthen the bones.
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    Bananas can help reduce the risk of kidney-related diseases
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    There are 190,000 reports of kidney cancer diagnosed each year. Smoking, obesity, exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals, and high blood pressure are major risk factors that can lead to kidney cancer. According to the researchers in the International Journal of Cancer, regular but moderate consumption of fruits and veggies daily, most especially bananas, can protect one against kidney-related diseases. Among the fruits and veggies, bananas are the most protective fruits against kidney cancer. This was proven effective when the researchers conducted a based protective study for about 14 years on 61,000 women aged 40-76. The study shows that women who eat more than 75 servings of vegetables and fruits monthly could decrease the risk of kidney cancer by 40 percent. [A month of 75 servings is equivalent to 2.5 daily servings.]
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Some Smoothie Recipes

Not only are bananas healthy, but they are delicious to eat, and can give smoothies added flavour, and a better texture.

How to Use Bananas to Make a Smoothie

While eating fresh bananas is a great way to consume all the nutrients found in them, drinking blended bananas with other healthy ingredients is another great way to become healthier than ever. Below are instructions on how to use bananas for making smoothies: Just remember, don't over blend when you're making your smoothies. Many people believe that over-blending creates two problems.

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    Over-blending tends to destroy a lot of the nutrients.
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    Over-blending basically masticates the fiber you were eating the fruit for in the first place.
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Banana with Skimmed Milk Smoothie:

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    Banana smoothie-ermin.jpg
    Ingredients
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    1. 1 1/2 cups of skimmed milk (375 ml)
    2. 2 ripe, peeled and chopped bananas
    3. 1/4 cup of low-fat natural yogurt
    4. 1 tbsp. of wheat germ
    5. 1 tbsp. of honey
    6. 6 ice cubes
    7. 2 tbsp. of crunchy peanut butter
    8. Extra honey to taste
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    Procedure
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    1. Place all ingredients, except the extra honey, in a blender and blend until smooth.
    2. Fill your glass with the smoothie and add extra honey to taste.
    3. Drink your new banana with skimmed milk smoothie!
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Banana with Almond Smoothie

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    Ingredients
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    [Serves four persons]  
    1. 2 ripe, peeled and sliced large bananas
    2. 2 cups of almond milk
    3. 2 cups of ice cubes
    4. Ground nutmeg
    5. 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
    6. 2 tbsp. of golden brown sugar
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    Procedure
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    1. Place all ingredients, except the nutmeg, into a blender and blend them smoothly.
    2. Fill your glass with the smoothie and sprinkle it with ground nutmeg.
    3. Enjoy your new banana with almond smoothie!
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Tips & Warnings

  • The right number of bananas to consume daily varies from person to person. Some can tolerate a lot, while others may experience side effects.
  • It is better to eat one banana a day with a combination of other fruits, maybe in a fruit salad, or, you can alternate the fruits and vegetables you eat daily.
  • Keep your foods as varied as possible - this is also recommended by many health professionals.
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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Nuance, Eng, Maria

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