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Miracle Fruit

Sylvester Torsman
Sylvester Torsman

Literally speaking, once bitten, twice shy isn't always the case. In this case, once bitten, twice very healthy, thrice secured. Originating from Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, this miracle fruit has performed wonders and still doing so in the lives of many. We will be discussing the health benefits of the banana.‌‌ It has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Incorporating bananas to your daily routine is a great way to boost your intake of whole fruit and promote your overall health. Bananas, as said earlier takes its origin from Southeast Asia, mainly India after which it was brought into Africa, and later into other parts of the world, being transported by the first explorers and missionaries going to the Caribbean.

This fruit has gained much popularity owing to its numerous health benefits and versatility of usage. This super popularity of bananas in Africa is due to the climate which supports growth of the crop.

Health Benefits of the Banana

Though apples are known as the fruit that keeps away the doctor, eating bananas or inculcating them in your diet goes a long way in keeping you healthy and strong. Here are ten benefits of bananas.

They contain many important health nutrients‌‌

It contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, fiber, copper, manganese, protein, fats, and net carbohydrates. This is the go to fruit when you are looking for healthy and satisfaction. They hold very little protein and almost little to no fats. The starch in unripe bananas are converted into sugar(glucose, fructose and sucrose) when they ripen.

Bananas can aid in digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues

About 10-12% of your daily fibre needs can be provided by a medium-sized banana.‌‌ Soluble and insoluble fibres contribute an important role in your health. Whereas soluble fibre aids your body to control your blood sugar level and spew fatty substances such as cholesterol, insoluble fibre, on the other hand adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier to have regular bowel movements. Pectin and resistant starch moderate blood sugar level. Bananas are also ranked low to medium on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure — from 0 to 100 — of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels. For unripe bananas, the GI is about 30, while ripe bananas rank at about 60. The average of all bananas is 51. This means that bananas wouldn't cause any abnormal surge in sugar level for many healthy individuals. But for type 2 diabetic patients, bananas are a no go area.

They are necessary for effective weight loss.

There has been no major study of bananas linking them to weight loss but bananas do possess many attributes which qualify them as weight loss friendly.‌‌ They have few calories, about 100 and yet they are very nutritious and filling. The consumption of more fiber from vegetables and fruits like bananas has repeatedly been linked to lower body weight and weight loss.‌‌ Resistant starch also in bananas tend to make them filling and reduce appetite.

They are necessary for cardiac health.‌‌

Heart or cardiac health is very necessary for an individual. The heart is the powerhouse of the body since it pumps blood into every part. Potassium which is abundant in bananas are essential for heart health, most especially to control blood pressure.‌‌ A medium-sized banana (118 grams) contains 9% of the RDI. (Reference Daily Intake).‌‌A diet which is rich in potassium can help lower blood pressure, and people who eat plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of cardiac disease. They also contain magnesium that safeguards the heart well.

They contain powerful antioxidants

Naturally, many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants, and banana is no exception. Possessing dopamine and catechins, these are responsible for reducing risk of heart diseases and degenerate illnesses. Although dopamine is known to influence the brain, what is present in bananas do not cross the blood brain barrier. It simply acts as a powerful antioxidant, and doesn't alter hormones or moods.

They promote kidney health.‌‌

Potassium is necessary for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function.

As a good dietary source of potassium, bananas may be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys. A 13-year study in women determined that those who ate bananas 2–3 times per week were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease.‌‌ Other studies note that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney diseases than those who don't eat it. They can be easily added to your dietary menu.‌‌ In addition to being healthy, bananas are convenient foods to be taken as snack. They can be incorporated in cereals, yoghurt, and smoothies. They can also be used instead of sugar while cooking or baking. Owing also to their thick protective peels, they hardly contain pesticides. They digest easily and simply just have to be peeled and eaten. It doesn't get much easier than that.

How many should you eat per day?

Bananas are healthy additions and can make beautiful breakfast and desert dishes. Though they are nutrient packed, eating too many could be detrimental. The vast majority of the calories in bananas hail from carbohydrates. The amounts of protein and fat are negligible. In fact, protein and fat combined in the banana, make up less than 8% of the total calorie content of the banana. It is therefore necessary to create a balance in your intake.‌‌ Additionally, more than 90% of the calories present in bananas come from carbs. In unripe or green bananas, the main source of carbs comes from starch. As the fruit ripens, the starch converts to sugar. Thus, by the time your banana is ripe enough to eat, a large proportion of the calories may have become sugar. This could affect blood sugar level, especially for diabetes and prediabetes patients. There is also the possibility of nutrient deficiency if too many bananas are eaten. Also, more room has to be created for nutrients which are lacking — Iron, vitamin D, calcium, etc. Adding other healthy proteins and fats, such as peanut butter, eggs, walnuts, etc, could create that healthy balance.

Some health benefits of the banana

Conclusion‌‌

With all that has been said, you will now agree with me on the need to habitually inculcate the eating of bananas. Prevention is better than cure as is the old adage. Safeguard your health with bananas, a healthy and great addition to your diet, and live a long-lasting disease free life.