Making Me Go Bananas

Reduce Bloating, Fight Cancer, Increase Energy, help Gain Lean Muscle and help you Develop Steel-Cut Abdominals. Can one berry really do all of this? This super food has been a staple of many lunch boxes and monkeys for many centuries, the humble berry I’m referring to is none other than our friendly banana.

Here Are Some Benefits Of Eating Bananas.

Putting A Smile On Your Dial – Bananas don’t just look like smiles; they promote them, because they contain vitamin B9, aka folate, a nutrient that may fight depression by boosting a substrate that has antidepressant properties. (In other words, it helps serotonin, the feel-good chemical, enter the brain faster.) Studies have shown an elevated incidence of folate deficiency in 50% of patients with depression, and some doctors recommend increasing folate intake if you’re taking anti-depressants, to boost their effects.

Tropical Vibes – Besides the mood-boosting B9, bananas also have tryptophan, “a precursor for serotonin,” says Bjork, “and serotonin may be the most important brain chemical because is a natural anti-depressant and can treat, anxiety and insomnia, as well as other mood issues such as fatigue, irritability, agitation, anger, and aggression. Bananas also have norepinephrine, which regulates our “‘fight or flight response,’ which helps to regulate stress. They’re an optimal, natural, real-food way to promote positive moods and help to prevent depression,” she continues. “Good thing we don’t need a prescription!”

Build Lean Muscle – If after a workout, you’ve felt like your muscles are sore—or not growing fast enough—you might not be getting enough magnesium in your diet. A good source of magnesium, bananas can help with muscle contraction and relaxation as well as protein synthesis — which, in turn, increase lean muscle mass. A bonus: magnesium intake helps boost lipolysis, a process by which your body releases fat from its stores. One fun way to get your magnesium: Make banana tea. Just boil some water, cut off both ends of a banana (still in its peel) and boil for 7-10 minutes. Then drain and drink before bed. For other tasty treats to eat or drink before you dose off, consult our exclusive guide

Faster Recovery Rate – Because it’s an electrolyte, potassium helps your muscles recover from a workout, strengthens their development, and allows you to work out more.

Better Nights Rest – This is also because of the “trytptophan,” says Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. “It’s a precursor for melatonin, which promotes relaxation and helps to regulate sleep.” Peel one or make yourself a smoothie before you go to bed

flat tummy

Anti-Bloat – Belly bloat makes even the most toned six-packer look like they just downed a six-pack of Coors. Fight back against the gas and water retention with bananas. One recent study found that women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days reduced their belly-bloat by 50%! Why? The fruit increases bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, and it’s also a legendarily good source of potassium, which can help diminish retention of fluids.

Ignition – Bananas have 12 mg of choline, a fat-blasting B vitamin that acts directly on the genes that cause fat storage in the abdomen. (One reason heavy drinkers have bloated bellies is that alcohol depletes choline, causing weight gain around the liver.) You can also find it in lean meats, seafood and collard greens

Constant Energy – “Bananas are a great source of nutrition for a lot of reasons!” says Bjork. “I encourage consuming protein and healthy fat with the banana to slow down the absorption of the sugar from the banana into your bloodstream. This is the most effective strategy for keeping blood sugar levels stable, which means consistent energy levels and weight loss (since stable blood sugar levels allow the pancreas to secrete glucagon, the fat-burning hormone

Less Monkeying Around In The Snack Drawer – This is another benefit of keeping your blood sugar stable, one of our classic weight loss tips. Eating a banana between meals means less binging, and no more monkeying around in the snack drawer.

Fuller For Longer – Prior to ripening, bananas are rich in something called resistant starch, which, as the name suggests, literally resists the digestion process. This feeds healthy gut bacteria, which suppresses the appetite and leads to more efficient fat oxidation. In fact, one study found that replacing just 5% of the day’s carbohydrates with a source of resistant starch can boost post-meal fat burn by up to 30% ! Since under ripe bananas are a bit bitter, we suggest adding them into weight loss smoothies with other fruits and veggies to mask the taste.

Lower LDL – If you’ve recently eaten at a fast food chain, you’ve likely consumed trans fats—the kind of fat that raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Before you reach for the Lipitor, grab a banana. They contain phytosterols, which are compounds that have LDL cholesterol-lowering effects according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition. Additionally, “Bananas contain Vitamin B6 which is important for nearly everything—heart health, immune health, digestive health, and nervous system function,” says Bjork.


Satisfaction – Do you constantly feel…not right after eating? Bananas can help your poor digestion. They’re an excellent source of prebiotics, non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for good gut bacteria (probiotics) and improve digestion—because they contain (say it with us, now) fructooligosaccharides, a cluster of fructose molecules that lead to better gastrointestinal health.

Better Motility – If you have kids, you likely already know this trick: The high fibre in bananas can help normalize bowel motility. With 3 grams of insoluble fibre, they help you push out waste better by making stools easier to pass. Bonus—they also help when things are Loosey Goosy: “Bananas are binding for anyone with diarrhoea, and they also contain probiotics that are essentially ‘food’ for the healthy microbes (probiotics) that live in our guts,” says Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition. If you suffered from any sort of bowel trouble, you might have IBS

Bone Mineralization – Although bananas don’t contain a high amount of calcium—less that 1% of your daily recommended intake—they can help promote calcium uptake with the help of those prebiotic fructooligosaccharides. As fructooligosaccharides ferment in the digestive tract, they enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

More Vooma – There’s a reason marathoners grab a banana before (and during, and after) the race: Bananas are rich in glucose, the most easily digestible source of sugar that will provide optimal energy for your run, power lift or Soul Cycle class. Eating one post workout helps to quickly replenish energy stores that are depleted during a tough sweat session. And to tone your tummy fast, use these Forging Abs Of Steel!

Disease Fighter – Even though bananas have no vitamin A, they can still help alleviate vitamin A deficiency. How? They’re rich in three different types of carotenoids (pro-vitamin A carotenoids, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene) that the body actually converts into vitamin A. Cool, right? And according to an article in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, foods containing high levels of carotenoids have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Battles Cancer – Delphinidin is an antioxidant found in bananas that has anti-tumour properties. A study in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that applying concentrations of delphinidin to stomach cancer cells inhibited their growth and proliferation. Controlling your weight also reduces the risk of cancer


Lowers Blood Pressure – According to the FDA, “the combination of a low-sodium, high potassium intake is associated with the lowest blood pressure levels and lowest frequency of stroke in individuals and populations.” Well guess what? Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, the fruit is officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.

Iron Up – Strengthen your blood and relieve anaemia with the added iron from bananas. “Iron is important for energy levels since it transfers oxygen to your cells,” says Bjork. “Iron deficiency can halt weight loss because when levels are low, the body attempts to conserve energy, which means a slowed metabolism and stalled loss, and even weight gain.”


Better Vision – Bananas contain vitamins A and C, and “both are antioxidants and are eye and skin-healthy nutrients,” says Smith. “They also have beta carotene, an antioxidant that can help to protect cells and repair damage at the cellular level. Bananas also contain other nutrients like vitamin E and lutein—both which are eye-healthy. Lutein is a nutrient that may help to reduce risk for macular degeneration.”

Detoxify – Rich in pectin, bananas are an all-natural detox. This gelatin-like fibre sticks to toxic compounds in the blood and flushes them out of the body through the urine. In fact, citrus pectin has been proven to increase mercury excretion in urine by 150% within 24 hours of supplementation. As a rapid weight loss bonus, research shows pectin can limit the amount of fat your cells can absorb!

About the author: Brian Kitching
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