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24 amazing health benefits of Bananas

Banana is one of the most widely eaten fruits in the world, which is readily recognised because of its distinctive shape and bright colours.  It abounds in hundreds of edible varieties that fall under two distinct species: the sweet banana (Musa sapienta, Musa nana) and plantain (Musa paradisiacal).

Bananas like apples, have proven health benefits. Ironically, bananas have more nutrients and vitamins than apples. Its consumption can help people live healthier and more active lives through taking advantage of the energy and health benefits it can provide.

Amazing health benefits of bananas:
Keep blood pressure under check
Bananas are very rich in potassium yet almost completely devoid of sodium, and as such very well suitable to preventing high levels of blood pressure from overcoming the body. Blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors and indicator for heart disease.

An average banana contains up to 500 milligrammes of potassium and around 1 milligramme of sodium. Since potassium has a lowering effect on blood pressure while sodium has a strengthening effect, this is a wonderful ratio to consume on a daily basis.

 Cut down risk of stroke
A recent study suggests that eating three bananas a day cuts risk for stroke by 21 per cent. What is in a banana? The miracle ingredient is potassium, which reduces blood pressure, thus combating a leading cause of stroke.

Promote bone health.
Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets, thus preventing bones from thinning out at a fast rate. This, according to University of Maryland Medical Centre and University of Kansas Medical Centre, reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Protect eyesight
Fruits like banana are important for keeping good sight. A 2004 study, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, indicated that eating three or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36 per cent, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

Supports healthy kidney
Research in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that regular, moderated consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, can be kidney-protective. The result of a large population based prospective study of 61,000 women aged 40 to 76, showed that women eating more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month cut their risk of kidney cancer 40 per cent.

Also, according to the study in the Internal Journal of Cancer, women halved their risk of developing kidney problem by eating bananas compared to those who did not eat this fruit.

Ease depression
People suffering from depression, feel much better after eating a banana. Bananas contain Tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin which helps the body to relax, improve mood and generally make happier. Studies show that bananas are also helpful in reducing stress levels.

Treat anaemia
Experiencing anaemia, try banana rather than blood forming. High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so help in cases of anaemia.

Reduces constipation
Are you suffering from constipation? The best solution to constipation is eating a banana a day. Bananas are rich in fibre that can help to restore normal bowel action, and overcome constipation without resorting to laxatives. A single serving (one medium-sized banana) contains 16 per cent of the daily recommended dietary fibre intake for a normal adult.

Soothe heart burn
If suffering from heart burn, try eating a banana for its soothing relief. Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body.

Prevents morning sickness
Besides, their calming properties help combat morning sickness, snacking on bananas between meals can help in keeping blood sugar levels up.

Ease peptic ulcers
Banana is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in people with severe intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. Eating a raw banana also neutralises acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Aside this, other substances in bananas known as protease inhibitors get rid of bacteria in the stomach that produces stomach ulcers.

Medical experts say that a simple concoction of banana and milk can help to suppress acid secretion considerably, thus protecting against stomach and ulcer damage.

Mood enhancers
Bananas contain tryptophan, one of the 20 amino acids which helps the body to produce serotonin – which has a calming effect on the brain (creates a stable mood) and acts as a mild sedative. The only way the body gets its dose of tryptophan is through diet. It does not produce it.

Morning sickness cure
In pregnancy, just shoving a banana in the mouth calms the queasy feeling, restores the blood glucose level and body temperature.

Quit smoking
Bananas can help minimize the effects of nicotine withdrawal bananas are rich potassium, magnesium and other vital vitamins present which give the brain a soothing whenever it screams for nicotine.

Effective in diarrhoea
In uncomfortable conditions like diarrhoea, electrolytes are drained out of the body, causing weakness. These electrolytes can be restocked with the help of potassium levels present in bananas.

Menstrual pains cure
Majority of the womenfolk take pills to reduce menstrual pains. Rather than taking these pain killers eat a banana. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 that helps in regulating blood glucose levels. This helps in balancing your overall mood and hence reduces menstrual pains.

Increase brain power
A survey involving 200 students at a school in Middlesex, who were given bananas along with their normal diet for their breakfast, break and lunch proved that bananas increase brain power. The research indicated that potassium in bananas helped to increase their mental alertness and boost brain power.

Reduce itching of mosquito bites
Worried by an itching or swelling due to mosquito bites? Rather using these creams to reduce itching and swelling, use banana peels. Rub the itching or swelling area with the inside of banana peels to get a relief from mosquito bite itching or swelling.

Lower cholesterol
Pectin, a soluble fibre in banana facilitates reduction of cholesterol levels.  Expert based on findings from various studies say its water-soluble fibres such as pectin, psyllium, guar gum and beta-glucan effectively lower LDL Cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) without causing any kind of disturbance to HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

Reduce risk of cancer
Rich in antioxidants and dietary fibre, consumption of bananas reduce risk of various types of cancer especially bowel cancer.

Cure pile
The complexity involved in passing stools normally, known as piles, may lead to bleeding often times.  Since bananas help normal bowel function, they can help to cure piles.

Dispel effect of hangover
The nutrients in bananas combined with their ability to refuel the body’s vitamins make them a perfect option to dispel the effect of a hangover.  A combination of bananas blended with honey and yoghurt makes an excellent cure for hangover.

Support weight loss
Containing loads of fibre and low amounts of fat, bananas are easily digestible. Therefore, a diet consisting primarily of bananas does not make an obese person gain a few extra kilos.

Healthy Skin
Bananas are loaded with essential nutrients vital for a healthy skin. They contain high doses of vitamin C which helps production of collagen, a type of protein found in the skin. Also, vitamin C a potent antioxidant protects the body from attack of free radicals that cause premature ageing.  Conversely, bananas are a good source of vitamin B6 known as pyridoxine essential for promoting a healthy skin.

This shapely and nutritious fruit is a complete meal, loaded with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. It also contains chelating minerals and the bromelain enzyme, said to enhance the male libido — maybe that’s why Central Americans drink the sap of the red banana as an aphrodisiac, while Hindus regard it as a symbol of fertility.

With high levels of potassium and vitamin B to increase sex hormone production in our bodies, bananas are very popular for an aphrodisiac. It is widely believed that the similar shape between a banana and a male penis is the main reason for the banana being on the aphrodisiac lists.

Like most fruits, the banana is a healthful food that can be eaten without any problem.  However, diabetics should consult with a physician or dietician to determine if bananas should be included in a diet that aims to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates.  Anyone with an allergy to bananas should also avoid the fruits to minimise the risk of an allergic reaction.

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