Why do we choose to eat something? Three reasons: appetite, taste, and nutrition. Bananas are unique in that they’re affordable, tasty, and very nutritious. These qualities help explain why the fruit is so prevalent.
“But what about sugar?”
The natural sugars sucrose and fructose give the fruit its sweetness. Some people abstain from bananas because of their sugar content, but there’s no need to avoid or restrict fruits in reasonable quantities.
The chemical composition of manufactured and natural fructose, for example, is very different. Here’s what Kris Gunnar, BSc., writer at Healthline.com says:
“There is a lot of evidence that large amounts of fructose can cause harm when consumed to excess. However, this depends on the dosages and context and does not apply to fruit.”
Furthermore, bananas are teeming with fiber and water. The former, metabolically-speaking, offsets the sucrose and fructose; the latter helps ease the digestion of the sugars.
Let’s delve right into the health benefits of eating two bananas a day:
1. Cancer-fighting properties
According to Japanese researchers, fully ripe bananas (yellow skin with darkish patches), contain a significant amount of Tumor Necrosis Factor, or TNF.
TNF is a signaling molecule, known as a cytokine, that stimulates a potent immune response when abnormal tumor cells are discovered.
2. Lowers blood pressure
Consuming a diet low in sodium and high in potassium helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Potassium regulates the dilation of the body’s blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure.
Health experts recommend 4700 milligrams (mg) of potassium daily. It’s estimated that only 2 percent of American adults meet this requirement.
A regular-sized banana contains over 460 milligrams of potassium and is nearly sodium-free.
3. Promotes heart health
Aside from being rich in potassium, bananas contain a rich amount of vitamins B6 and C and a healthy dose of fiber.
In a study published in the journal Today’s Dietitian, researchers concluded that individuals who ate at least 4,000 mg of potassium daily had a 49% lower chance of dying from heart disease compared to those who consumed just 1000 mg.
4. Regulates blood sugar
Should you require further proof that the sugars contained in bananas are naturally healthy, consider the following:
Studies show that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels than those who don’t. Type 2 diabetics who consume plenty of fiber test for improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels.
Two regular, medium-sized bananas contain about 6 grams of premium-quality fiber.
5. Eases digestion
Bananas are part of the digestion relieving ‘BRAT’ diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
We’ve mentioned that bananas contain a healthy dose of quality fiber, which eases digestion. Bananas are also rich in electrolytes, which helps replace fluid lost from sweating and diarrhea.
Because of their potassium stores, quality fiber and electrolytes, a couple of bananas eaten every day can help maintain a healthy digestive system.
6. Helps oxygenate the body
Iron deficiency is one of the most common medical issues in developed countries, including the United States. Prolonged iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition which results in the body not getting enough oxygen.
Bananas are rich in iron, a component of hemoglobin which aids in the transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
7. Cognitive benefits
Bananas supply potassium to the brain, which helps keep the oxygen levels normalized and strengthens the signaling between neurons.
Banana also contains tryptophan, a mineral precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is our brain’s “stabilizer” chemical, warding off mood swings and brain fog.