What Health Conditions Can Bananas Help Treat

Banana When you next eat a banana, visualize in your mind how this amazing exotic fruit is working near miracles in your body as it enhances your brain power, keeps your blood pressure in check and protects your body from infection. Visualize it now as your body discovers it’s greatness and then see the release all of its wonderful nutrients into your blood stream, moving them quickly from one organ to the next.

I think if you can picture in your mind that the food you are eating is helping you to stay healthy and live a longer life, that the more ‘good’ it will be for you. I also believe that if you can program your mind with the information on this page, you are more likely to pick up a banana next time you are offered a choice between a candy bar wrapped in a plastic, which is going to have a detrimental effect on your body.

So Are Bananas Good For You?

Absolutely. They are crammed with vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin B6, and when you eat them regularly, bananas can aid calcium (and other nutrient) absorption in the body. This means that they are incredibly good for your children (if you are blessed to have them of course), because they need a lot of calcium in their diet as they are growing to help their bones develop properly. Or if you are getting on in years and again, you need a higher level of calcium, they can help move calcium into the important areas of your body.

I’m a huge fan of eating bananas as part of my own healthy diet, eating at least one a day. They provide us with an array of health benefits, not least helping to relieve constipation and abdominal bloating. The only problem I find though, is that if I eat too many is that I get a lot of gas and they can also reverse constipation a bit too quickly, particularly if you suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) which I do.

Aside from their health benefits, bananas are an incredible source of energy. They are eaten by most professional sports men and women because of their fructose, glucose and sucrose levels. If you are a fan on tennis, you will always see the players snacking on a banana between games and sets. The bananas high calorie, fast release energy is enough to propel them to the end of a tough match.

Banana Nutrition Facts – What is in Them That is So Good For You?

The following nutritional facts of bananas where they provide 10% (or more) of our recommended daily intake (RDI).

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Tryptophan
  • Manganese

The most commonly known nutrient is potassium, but something I did not know is that one medium sized yellow fruit contains around 10% of our RDI of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most essential nutrients we need to help our bodies resist and fight infection, and to help us grow. This essential vitamin provides protection for tiny cells that make up our body and it also maintains our connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).

Potassium is essential to keep our blood pressure regulated and to help our brain function normally. Our brain and our heart are the two main organs in our body, one making our decisions and one transporting nutrients to our every other organ, from our eyes, kidneys, nervous system and our skin. We also need potassium to regulate our fluid and PH balance.

Take Vitamin B6 when you are depressed and you should start feeling somewhat better. One of eight ‘B vitamins’, B6 is needed to breakdown the food we eat and turn that into neurotransmitters which help us function normally on a daily basis.

Vitamin B12 is required by our bodies to again help brain function, this time helping our nervous and circulatory systems. B12 helps with the formation of the microscopic cells which we are made of.

Eating a single banana every day is enough to get our required amount of Tryptophan, an amino acid (protein) that helps calm down our thoughts. No wonder I always feel great after a banana! When I’m lacking in energy and I need to get some exercise (I walk around 2 -3 miles every day) I always grab a banana and eat it before I go. I think the combination of getting the exercise and eating the yellow wonder fruit lifts me up on the most stressful of days!

Manganese has a multitude of tasks in the body from helping bone formation to helping blood clot and even (according to the University of Maryland Medical Center) increasing sexual hormones and raising fertility. Manganese is a trace mineral element which also aids brain function.

What Health Conditions Will Bananas Help?

Digestive system troubles – Constipation is the most common health condition that a banana can help relieve. Although it is not a life threatening condition, the symptoms of constipation and bloated stomach from the build up of gas in your bowel and the pain you feel when you ‘eventually’ need the bathroom, can be incredibly painful.

Because bananas are high in dietary fiber (the soluble form called pectin) and potassium, they work wonders for your digestive tract. Fiber as you know is essential to maintain a healthy bowel and potassium replenishes electrolytes in your body when you have diarrhea. I’m a firm believer that eating one banana every day, helps to keep your bowel movements normal.

Kidney Disease – Fuelled with the antioxidant phenolic, bananas have been shown to shield your kidneys from disease, including cancer. The same can be said of other fruits, which we will cover in future articles, but bananas in particular hold the ‘title’ for warding off kidney cancer.

In fact, the antioxidant levels are higher in ripe and unripe banana peel which makes the pulp of bananas a very valuable by-product where health is concerned (not monetarily). You can read more about this in the US National Library of Medicine here.

blood pressure High Blood Pressure – We touched on the bananas ability to reduce blood pressure a bit earlier, but it is really worth mentioning again that just one medium sized banana eaten every day could be enough to lower your blood pressure. Previous studies have been proven that fruits which are high in potassium greatly reduce the risk of high blood pressure and that they offer cardiovascular protection.

Bone Health – Again, it is the potassium in bananas which help rejuvenate your bones. Getting an adequate amount of it in your diet each day will reverse the effects of the sodium in your diet, which nowadays is an all too common fact. A diet high in sodium is responsible for flushing away the calcium in your body, but the potassium will thwart that effect making your bones stronger.

Stomach Ulcers and Heartburn – The next time you get heartburn, try reaching for a banana instead of an antacid tablet. They tackle your stomach acid by stimulating the stomach wall (lining), so it adds a more substantial mucus shield than normal. They also contain an enzyme called protease, which hampers the effects the bacteria in the stomach which is responsible for causing stomach ulcers.

Anemia – If you are anemic it means that your red blood cell count is low. When someone has anemia it also means that the hemoglobin in their blood lacks iron. And because our moon shaped, yellow fruit contains a relatively high amount of iron they are a really good natural remedy for Anemia.

I wish I had known this when I was in hospital last year. My iron levels were low enough that I needed a couple of blood transfusions, and because my veins were collapsing every six hours or so, I needed a new needle ‘stabbed’ into me in a new place each time. I now wonder if I suffered slightly more than I should.

Depression – We talked a little about this earlier, but it is definitely worth saying more about how bananas can help reverse the effects of when we feel low or even depressed. The amino acid tryptophan, which is found in a banana can boost your own levels of serotonin.

And it is our serotonin levels that are responsible for the way we feel. When we experience low levels of serotonin we feel depressed and when they are high, we can feel elated and happy to be alive, which is how we should be ALL the time.

This tropical fruit can also help people (like myself) who suffer with seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) because of the abundant tryptophan levels. I wonder now if perhaps I could have saved a lot of money by eating more bananas, instead of buying a SAD light a couple of years ago?

Strokes – Reduce your risk of having a stroke by including bananas in your diet. The United States Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) advocates that a diet which is high in potassium (found in your slices of milk soaked banana cereal) can help to lesson your chances of suffering from a stroke. You can read more on this in this report.

insomnia Insomnia – The mood enhancing amino acid (tryptophan) will also help you sleep, as well as calm you down. However, I am not sure eating a couple of bananas right before you head off to bed is such a good idea, as the fructose (fruit sugar) will more than likely keep you awake. To help with your insomnia problems, eat bananas regularly as part of your healthy diet to regulate your serotonin levels and thus, your body-clock.

Warts – To get rid of that tenacious wart on your knuckle (that’s where mine were when I was in my late teens), rub or fix the ‘inside’ of an unripe banana peel to your (preferably warm water soaked) wart each night and you’ll watch it disperse in a couple of weeks.

Insect Bites – The next time you feel that itchiness of a mosquito (or other bug) bite, rub that inside of the banana peel inside it and you’ll start to feel some soothing relief.

Is the Banana The Unappreciated Brain Food?

Research has long proclaimed (and I am a firm believer) that if you eat healthy, you will reap the rewards of overall health improvements, and that includes how your well your brain functions. We have already learned that the effects of depression, seasonal affective disorder and anxiety can be reduced by consuming the nutrients which are in bananas.

And those nutrients could also hold the key to improving brain power. Or to be precise, to improve your learning capability. Eating bananas at three intervals before exams apparently helped a group of two hundred pupils at a Twickenham school in the United Kingdom achieve better results, it was revealed in a study on this topic.

So if you want to sharpen your knowledge intake and really improve your ability to learn new things, you know now what to do – eat a banana every day. But where else can you get the vitamins and minerals which are in bananas?

What Other Natural Sources Give You the Same Health Benefits of Bananas?

  1. Potassium is abundant in parsley, almonds, avocados, white beans, potatoes, soy beans, red peppers/paprika and red chilies/cayenne pepper, dried fruits (apricots, prunes, date, raisins), seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin) and can also be found substantially in oily fish such as tuna, salmon and halibut.
  2. Vitamin B6 is plentiful in tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, beef steak and beef liver and is readily found in dried nuts, onions, spinach and dried fruit such as raisins.
  3. Vitamin B12 sources are shellfish, beef liver, salmon, trout, tuna, haddock, cereals and milk.
  4. Vitamin C sources include broccoli, sprouts, oranges, red and green peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, pineapple, papaya, parsley, kale and cauliflower.
  5. Tryptophan is found in oatmeal, dates, beef, chicken, turkey, pumpkin seeds, cottage cheese, peanuts, sesame seeds, eggs, oily fish.
  6. Manganese richest sources are brown rice, spinach, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pecan nuts, shellfish, squash seeds, flax, sesame seeds and soybeans.
About Andy

I have a huge interest in keeping the digestive system in a very healthy condition, because I know from my own personal experience that when you do have problems with your digestion, it can also have many adverse affects on your overall health. You can subscribe to my free daily news paper at Improve Your Digestion and follow me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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