Some things are just easier to joke about than others. Here’s an example. I know a woman that went on a special banana diet. She didn’t lose much weight but she sure could climb trees. Why are bananas so popular? Because they have appeal. What kind of key opens a banana? A mon-key of course. See what I mean? But I’m going to share with you some of the banana’s truly amazing health benefits that are no joke. We’ve all heard the old “an apple a day” adage, but soon you’ll see that “a banana a day” may be a better choice.
If you watch elite athletes like marathon runners, Tour de France bikers, and professional tennis players closely, you’ll see them snacking on bananas before, during, and after they compete. Why? Because they need energy to perform at their peak throughout the competition. A banana supplies the beneficial carbs needed to restore the glycogen that has been depleted during strenuous muscle activity. It energizes your body without the spike and crash cycle that accompanies any caffeinated energy drink and sugary snack. Additionally they protect against muscle cramps during strenuous and endurance-taxing workouts.
Bananas are an excellent source of the electrolytes and minerals potassium and magnesium while being low in sodium, which is vital to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. In fact, bananas are so effective that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits the banana industry to make official claims that they are able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and strokes, a designation normally reserved for pharmaceuticals. A research study quoted by the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that making bananas a regular part of your diet can cut the risk of experiencing a stroke by as much as 40%. They help the circulatory system deliver more oxygen to the brain, and are key in maintaining a proper fluid balance in the body.
Bananas are an excellent digestive aid. They contain prebiotics that stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria while inhibiting harmful bacteria in the intestine. They act as a natural and gentle antacid to provide relief from acid reflux and heart burn. Bananas appear to create a barrier that protects the stomach from ulcers. They are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that normalizes bowel motility, helping to relieve both constipation and diarrhea. Studies have even found that bananas lessen the nausea caused by morning sickness.
Bananas are blessed with high levels of an essential amino acid called tryptophan which the body converts into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is affectionately called “the happy hormone” or “the calming chemical.” It has a soothing effect on the nervous system, and is helpful in overcoming stress and even mild depression. It has even proven to diminish symptoms associated with the curse of PMS. Serotonin also encourages good sleep patterns.
There are so many reasons to make bananas a staple in your daily diet. They are rich in iron which stimulates the production of hemoglobin for healthy blood. They are a good source of vitamin B6 which helps regulate blood glucose levels and increases the production of white blood cells. The average banana is also very low in cost, only has about 100 calories, is available all year around, and comes pre-packaged in its own easy to open plastic-free container.