Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. The curved yellow fruit packs a big nutritional punch, wrapped in its own convenient packaging. Some scientists believe that the banana may have even been the world’s first fruit.
Health benefits of bananas
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.3
Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.3
A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.
Consuming bananas, oranges and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukaemia. As a good source of vitamin C, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fibre intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
The fibre, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.3
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fibre diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fibre.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.
Preserving memory and boosting mood
Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.