Bananas are probably the first food many of us eat. Peeling away the yellow skin that encases them reveals the white, soft tropical fruit. Babies often start with this fruit because of how easily it is mashed. As we get older, bananas are the perfect addition to a plain bowl of cereal or eaten alone as a quick snack. Like many fruits, there are a number of health benefits of eating bananas.
Before considering the benefits of eating bananas, let’s talk about one of the reasons people don’t eat them. Many people who follow low-carbohydrate diets will not eat bananas. They are led to believe that bananas should be removed from their diets because they contain a lot of sugar. Bananas contain on average 14 grams of sugar per serving and have a glycemic index of approximately 50 percent. However, even people who are watching their sugar intake can consume one small banana a day without causing harm. Besides, the health benefits of eating bananas outweigh this small concern.
First of all, bananas are a perfect low calorie snack, good for anyone trying to maintain or lose weight. A small banana is only 100 calories per serving. At 100 calories, it is less than the calories in a candy bar or even some of those energy bars. They are equivalent to the calories in 100-calorie snacks that are popular today. Unlike the other options people have, bananas are more filling and contain more nutrients than man-made health snacks.
Bananas are good for the cardiovascular and nervous system. High blood pressure is one of the leading markers for heart attacks or strokes. Bananas contain about 400 milligrams of potassium per serving, 10 percent of the daily recommended allowance. Potassium helps maintain good muscle contractions, thus getting more blood pumping through the veins leading to the bodies systems. The low sodium in bananas assists in lowering blood pressure; therefore, it is better than other so-called health snacks that are high in sodium.
The potassium content in bananas also helps the bones and kidney functions. We all know that calcium is good for the body; however, calcium released into the urine causes kidney stones. Consuming enough potassium controls the amount of calcium that gets into the urine, decreasing kidney stone risks. When potassium suppresses calcium, it is helping the body maintain the amount of calcium it needs for strong bones. Consequently, bananas can reduce osteoporosis risks.
Bananas are high in dietary fiber, so they aid the digestive system. This tropical fruit contains approximately 4 grams of fiber, 16 percent of the daily recommendations. The high fiber content works to push waste out of the body, thus reducing constipation. If a person is experiencing constipation, adding a banana or two a day to the diet may actually get the bowls moving normally again without the negative side effects associated with taking laxatives.
The health benefits of eating bananas supersede the negative press they’ve received during the low-carbohydrate craze. Unlike foods that pose as health foods, bananas contain nutrients that benefit practically every system in the body. Combined with a healthy diet, bananas ward off a number of health problems that are often treated with medications, and they are much tastier than a pill and some of those nutrition bars.