Bananas are some of the most widely eaten fruits in the world, as well as some of the most readily recognized due to their distinctive shape and bright colors which, added to the health benefits of bananas, makes them a household stable. They are nutritious and readily eaten raw, and are mostly composed of sugars, such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose, in addition to fiber. As a result, they are among the best choices for a source of energy that gives both immediate boost and more prolonged boosts. There are a number of additional benefits to bananas that have been discovered in recent years that may result in a higher quality of life for people of all ages and backgrounds. The mindful consumption of bananas help people live healthier and more active lives through taking advantage of the energy and health benefits bananas can provide.
Health Benefits of Bananas
Eating bananas is a great way to promote healthy bones in both children and adults. There are many reports of the dangers of osteoporosis in older adults, particularly women who are past menopause, and there are a variety of prescription medications marketed to such people, but they are not effective in all cases. Similarly, for those in their formative years, there are numerous reports every year detailing the importance of building strong bones in children, whose skeletons are still in the developmental stage.
Bananas are among the rare fruits that can lead to increased bone strength in people both young and old. This is because they contain fructo oligo saccharide, which is a compound that feeds certain bacteria in the colon known as probiotics, or bacteria that contribute to our health. These healthy bacteria live in the gut and make enzymes that help us to digest food more rapidly and efficiently.
Probiotic bacteria are good because they also help to crowd out bacteria that are pathogenic, or damaging to human help. Because of the high amounts of fructo oligo saccharides found in bananas, probiotic bacteria in the body can increase in their functionality as well as in their number, which leads to an increase in the ability of the body to take in calcium.
Similarly, bananas that are green also contain short chain fatty acids, which are not digestible in the body. These short chain fatty acids, however, are helpful in that they are taken up by the cells that make up the stomach lining, which is called the mucosa. When these cells are healthy, they are then able to do a much better job of absorbing calcium into the body. Calcium, of course, is one of the building blocks of bones in both the young and the old, and a body rich in calcium will be a body with stronger bones that are less prone to fractures or decay.
Strong bones is an essential part of a healthy life, but these are not the only advantages that bananas confer to people who eat them regularly. The kidneys are another important part of the body that are positively impacted by regular banana consumption. Although people have two kidneys, the truth is that whenever one becomes damaged due to injury or unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking, smoking, or weight gain, the other kidney will be affected too since they are part of the same blood supply and body.
This is illustrated by the fact that more than 190,000 cases of cancer in the kidneys are diagnosed every single year. The International Journal of Cancer has published numerous examples of research that indicate that consuming whole fruits and vegetables every day, such as bananas, is a good way to protect the health of your kidneys for the duration of a person’s life.
The studies indicate that women who ate at least 2 and a half servings of vegetables and fruits every day over the course of at least 13 years were likely to reduce their chances of contracting kidney cancer by more than 40 percent compared to women who did not eat as many servings of fruits or vegetables or who did not sustain such eating habits for the duration mentioned.
A range of fruits were shown to have positive effects on the kidneys, but perhaps the most protective fruit was the banana. The benefits continued to increase when women primarily ate bananas in comparison to other fruits. In fact, women who ate four to six bananas per week had half of the risk of developing kidney cancer compared to women who did not eat bananas.
As a result, frequently consuming bananas may be good for your kidneys. This is because there are high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds in bananas, which help the kidneys detoxify potential cancer causing agents, or carcinogens, more effectively.
Beyond building strong bones and healthy kidneys, bananas also have positive effects on blood pressure. Blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors and indicators for heart disease today, and heart diseases is the single greatest killer of adults throughout the country today in the United States and throughout many other Western societies. Therefore, any measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of heart disease are worth looking into, and one of the most effective ways to lower a person’s risk of heart disease is to lower his or her blood pressure. This is where the health benefits of bananas come in.
As fruits that are very rich in potassium yet almost completely devoid of sodium, they are very well suited to preventing high levels of blood pressure from overcoming the body. The average banana will contain up to 500 milligrams of potassium yet only around 1 milligram of sodium. Since potassium has a lowering effect on blood pressure while sodium has a strengthening effect, this is a wonderful ratio to consume on a daily basis.
In fact, bananas have been proven to be so effective in reducing high levels of blood pressure that the Food and Drug Administration in the United States recently indicated that the banana industry could legally post official claims that the banana was capable of reducing the risks of stroke and blood pressure in adults. This is high praise, and consuming a banana a day is far cheaper than consuming expensive heart medication down the line. It is evident that this cheap fruit could improve many aspects of life and the health benefits of bananas can and should be enjoyed regularly.
By Jeff Andrews