Bananas are sweet in flavor, nutritious and a healthy alternative to high-calorie junk food. Whether you’re making a delicious smoothie, or adding flavor to cereal, the banana is an important super-food that provides a number of wonderful health benefits. Discover tasty ways to add this superfood to your meal plan with some of our best banana recipes, and learn more about the health benefits of this healthful fruit below.
For a complete list of superfoods, check out 50 Superfoods: The Ultimate Shopping List.
5 REASONS TO BITE INTO A BANANA:
1. They’re Low in Calories
Are you trying to reduce your daily calorie consumption? Eat a banana instead of a bag of chips. One extra small banana contains only 72 calories, and a large banana holds about 120 calories, according to OfficialHealth.org. Bananas also contain very little saturated fat, and no cholesterol, unlike junk foods. Not only are bananas low in calories, but they’re also very filling. Bananas tend to make you feel full longer, which reduces cravings throughout the day and helps with weight loss.
2. They Offer a Energy Boost
Bananas are an excellent source of natural energy, providing two times the amount of carbohydrates as an apple. The carbohydrates in bananas provide endurance and a quick boost in energy. For that reason, eating bananas before a workout is an awesome energy booster. Eating only two bananas produces enough energy to last an entire ninety minute workout. If you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon, try snacking on a banana!
3. Bananas Reduce Depression
The banana isn’t a magical cure for depression, but nutrients found in the fruit can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin, an important brain chemical that regulates mood and emotion. Eating more bananas can raise serotonin levels in the brain and lessen depressed feelings. In fact, studies have shown that eating only one banana can elevate a depressed mood.
4. They Lower Blood Pressure
Bananas are loaded with potassium, a chemical that regulates sodium in the body and lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that consumption of one to two bananas per day can lower blood pressure by as much as three points. Reducing your blood pressure by three points is enough to eliminate the chances of stroke. If you have high blood pressure, eat more bananas. In addition to lowering blood pressure, bananas also help prevent clogged arteries and heart problems. For those who wish to quit smoking, the potassium in bananas is also believed to help lower nicotine levels in the body.
5. Bananas Offer Fiber
Bananas aren’t considered a high-fiber fruit, but they do provide a healthy 5 g of fiber per serving. Fiber is important because it helps lower cholesterol and sustain healthy blood sugar levels. If you’re a woman, you need at least 30 g of fiber per day to stay healthy. You can get a healthy dose of daily fiber and nutrients simply by eating more bananas in combination with high-fiber foods like oatmeal and strawberries. The fiber in a banana is also beneficial for those suffering from diarrhea because fiber helps solidify stool and improve digestion.