THE WONDER FRUIT CALLED BANANA
Bananas are one of the world’s most appealing fruits. There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas grown worldwide. The yellow long banana (Musa cavendish) is by far the most popular variety. Bananas go from green to yellow to brown as they ripen. Bananas of various shapes and sizes could be found in the local markets or grocery stores. Experiment with different varieties to expand your enjoyment of this classic fruit.
Bananas are made up of some nutritional elements such as complex carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, which offers digestive health benefits. The vitamins and potassium in bananas are good for your blood pressure and overall health.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS OF BANANA
The following nutritional facts are provided by the United States Dietetics Association (USDA).
- Bananas are primarily made up of carbohydrates with 27 grams per medium-sized banana. This includes 3 grams of fiber and just over 14 grams of naturally occurring sugar. As bananas ripen, some of the resistant starch (fiber) converts to sugar meaning that a yellow banana with brown spots has more sugar and less fiber than a green banana of the same size. Therefore, eat 1-2 fingers of banana a day.
- Bananas are low in fat, with less than 1/2 gram per medium-sized banana.
- Bananas are pretty low in protein as well, with under 1.5 grams per medium banana.
- Vitamins and Minerals. Bananas are famous for their potassium content with one medium-sized banana offering 422mg potassium, or about 16% of adequate intake for an adult. Along with potassium, bananas contain some vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and choline.
Bananas have lots of health benefits to offer. Some of these are as follows:
- Improves Blood Pressure Control. Bananas are a good source of potassium, with a medium banana covering about 9% of the daily value for most adults. The blood-pressure-control ability of potassium is well-established, especially when paired with a low-sodium eating plan. Eating bananas regularly (not more than 2 fingers a day) contributes toward daily potassium requirements to keep blood pressure down and prevent further complications, like stroke and kidney disease. Do your whole body a favor by choosing a banana in place of a salty snack.
- Promotes Bowel Regularity. Bananas are a good source of the fermentable fibers that help feed “good bacteria,” or probiotics, which aids digestion. Pairing bananas with foods that contain active probiotics (such as yogurt) is a great way to support gut health, digestion, and regularity. Furthermore, studies evaluating the effects of green bananas show benefits for both constipation and diarrhea treatment in children. Eating bananas is a simple way to get the digestive system on the right track.
- Aids Weight Loss. Banana has high starch content; however, it is a low-calorie food with plenty of filling fiber to support weight loss goals. With about 3 grams of fiber for every 100 calories, bananas are a great way to feel satisfied without overeating. Studies show an association between increased fiber intake, calorie reduction, and weight loss. Bananas as a snack or breakfast choice can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight.
- Improves Diabetes Management. Green bananas are high in indigestible starch, which acts like fiber during digestion. Due to their health benefits, green bananas are often turned into a pulp or flour to be consumed as food. A review of several studies found green banana effective in improving insulin sensitivity, promoting weight loss, and reducing some of the liver and kidney issues associated with diabetes.
- Assists Wound Healing. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in banana peels have made them popular in traditional medicine for wound treatment. The inside of banana peels is placed on sunburns, bug bites, or minor wounds to provide some relief and protection for healing. Although this effect is not fully supported by modern medicine, when eaten, bananas could offer wound-healing nutrients, like vitamin C and other antioxidants. Vitamin C is a precursor to collagen, an essential component of skin rejuvenation.
Food allergies to bananas are possible, although uncommon. Some people experience a condition called oral allergy syndrome (OAS) such as itching in the mouth, tongue or throat. Banana allergies could be linked to natural rubber latex allergies. Observation studies show that 20% to 50% of patients with latex allergies have a reaction to bananas.
Allergy symptoms could include rashes, vomiting, dizziness, tightness of breath, or even anaphylaxis. Instances of acute pancreatitis due to food allergy to bananas, have been reported. If you suspect an allergy to bananas, see a Doctor or Nutritionist for a full evaluation.
While bananas are generally beneficial for digestive health, some people experience constipation with increased intake of fiber from foods like bananas. If you aren’t used to eating a lot of fiber, increase your intake gradually and drink plenty of water to help your body adjust to higher fiber intake.
WAYS TO ENJOY BANANA
There are many different ways to enjoy bananas. Some of these are:
- Add sliced banana to your plain oatmeal or yogurt to get a healthy dose of sweetness.
- You can also spread mashed banana (instead of jam) over peanut butter on a piece of whole bran bread.
- Frozen bananas are a yummy substitute for ice cream. Drizzle a frozen mashed banana with a small amount of dark chocolate, add a few crushed almonds, and you’ll have a delicious, low-calorie sundae.
- Bananas can make a very healthy and nutritious smoothie. Blend 1-2 finger of banana with coconut, watermelon and other fruits.
STORAGE AND FOOD SAFETY
- If you buy green bananas, you can let them ripen uncovered at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process, place green bananas in a paper bag or place them near other riped fruits.
- Don’t store bananas in plastic bags, as this will trap humidity, causing them to rot.
- Once bananas reach your desired degree of yellow hue, just peel and eat. If you can’t get to them right away, store ripe bananas in the refrigerator to buy yourself an extra week. The peel may turn dark brown or black in the refrigerator, but this has no effect on the quality of the banana underneath.
- You can also peel ripe bananas, mash or slice them, and store in the freezer in airtight bags. This works well for use in baking or smoothies later on. There’s no need to wash bananas or blanch them before freezing. Just wash your hands before handling them.
- Buy bananas that are still green to give yourself enough time to let them ripen just how you like them. Bananas can be found all year-round, fresh in the supermarket.
Bananas are healthy nutritious fruits and can be taken by all age groups. They provide numerous health benefits among which include boosting the health of the digestive system and heart, due to their fiber and antioxidant content.
For your nice and healthy shakes of banana, you can call in at Dr PhysiQ Wellness Center where you will get the best of your wonderful fruit varieties.
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