Bananas are not only a great way to sweeten a dessert or thicken a cake or pancake batter, they are also a key source of many nutrients, especially vitamin A. Bananas, from peel to pulp, play a significant role in health and economies around the world.
Carotenoids and Phenolics:
Bananas contain both phenolics and carotenoids that have been found to have many benefits to human health. They have been shown to have antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and cytoprotective properties. Carotenoids are converted into Vitamin A by the body.
Foods with carotenoids have been shown to be protective against several chronic diseases, such as some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.
Phenolics in foods have been shown to be protective for our body’s tissues from their antioxidant effects.
Adding bananas to your diet is a great source of Vitamin A. There are also a number of face mask recipes containing bananas to directly apply to your skin meant to help exfoliate and soften the skin’s texture. Believe it or not there are also recipes to apply banana directly to the heels of our feet to help soften thickened and rough skin. Many of these recipes are as simple as mashing a banana and applying to your feet for 10 minutes!
Bananas are usually known for their high potassium content. In addition to potassium they are a good source for magnesium and vitamin B6. Due to their high potassium content, they have been shown to help reduce blood pressure. When our body has more potassium, it may lose sodium in exchange which can reduce blood pressure. Vitamin B6 has been shown to protective against Type 2 Diabetes.
Did you know that bananas contain tryptophan? Tryptophan is converted to 5-hydroxytryptophan and on to serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is linked to boosting mood while melatonin can help with sleep.
Weight loss has its challenges. Consider adding bananas to your diet given a number of benefits. The fiber can help with digestion. Supplementing with water and a banana can help replenish lost electrolytes while exercising as well.
Balancing the benefits of bananas with the risks of over consumption is important. Although potassium is good, too much potassium is not. Hyperkalemia, or excess potassium in our blood stream, can lead to muscle weakness and arrhythmias. It would take quite a few bananas to get here however- one study showed perhaps as many as 43 bananas. That being said, some medications for blood pressure can increase this risk. Ingesting 1-2 bananas is likely safe.