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Health Benefits of Bananas

by David Johnson

Bananas are very delicious and healthy. They are packed with a lot of vital nutrients and they offer benefits for weight loss, heart health, and digestion. In addition to packing a lot of nutrients, they are can also be incorporated as a highly convenient snack food. These are the major benefits of snacking on banana regularly.


They can help moderate blood sugar levels


The flesh is given its spongy structural form by a fiber known as pectin, and bananas are very rich in this fiber. Unripe bananas have resistant starch that behaves like soluble fiber and does not go through digestion. Both resistant and pectin can help to moderate blood sugar levels after a meal and also reduce appetite as it leaves you with that feeling of fullness for longer. Also, bananas have a low glycemic index (GI), which means that they would not give you significant sugar spikes. The GI value of ripe bananas is about 60 and for unripe bananas is about 30, while the average value is 51. So, as a healthy individual, you shouldn’t worry about bananas causing major spikes in your blood sugar levels. However, people that have type 2 diabetes should keep their intake of well-ripened bananas in check.


They may help with weight loss


A lot of studies are still ongoing to fully know the effect of bananas on weight loss. But, it is important to note that bananas are packed with a lot of attributes that make them weight-loss-friendly food. For instance, bananas do not contain a lot of calories. On average, a banana has about 100 calories, while retaining its nutrition and filling properties. The regular intake of fiber from fruits like bananas and vegetables has been linked with weight loss and lower body weight. Also, unripe bananas are filled with resistant starch, so they can help to reduce your appetite as they are very filling.


They support heart health


One mineral that is vital for your heart health is potassium and it is particularly needed for blood pressure control. Even as it is very important, there are not a lot of people that get substantial amounts of potassium in their meals. Bananas are a very excellent dietary source of potassium as you get up to 9% of the RDI for potassium with one medium-sized banana. Eating a diet rich in potassium can help to reduce blood pressure. Research has also shown that people who regularly eat potassium have a lowered risk of heart disease by up to 27%. Also, bananas contain a fair share of magnesium, which aids heart health.


They contain powerful antioxidants


Vegetables and fruits are great sources of dietary antioxidants, and bananas surely make up that list. They are filled with different kinds of potent antioxidants, which include catechins and dopamine. These antioxidants are beneficial to health as they help to reduce the risk of degenerative illnesses and heart disease. But, a lot of people have a general misunderstanding that the dopamine from bananas acts in your brain as a feel-good chemical. That is not the case as the dopamine in bananas does not go past the blood-brain barrier. Instead, it acts as a powerful antioxidant.


Unripe bananas improve insulin sensitivity


One of the major risk factors for a lot of severe diseases, which includes type diabetes is insulin resistance. A lot of studies have shown that about 15 to 30 grams of resistant starch daily can help to improve your insulin sensitivity by up to 50 percent in a matter of four weeks. The reason unripe bananas help to improve insulin sensitivity in the body is that they are a good source of resistant starch. However, there still needs to be more studies carried out to fully understand the link between bananas and improving insulin sensitivity.


They are beneficial for exercise


Bananas are widely regarded as the ideal food for athletes mostly because of its easily digested carbs and mineral content. The intake of bananas might aid in the reduction of soreness and muscle cramps that occur as a result of exercise, which is a common problem for most athletes. While it is still unknown why the cramps occur, research suggests that it might be due to the mixture of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. However, some research is still ongoing to fully back the fact that bananas help with muscle cramps. It is important to note that bananas give you excellent nutrition before, during, and after you perform endurance exercises.

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