Many of us take bananas for granted, but this abundantly available, unpretentious fruit packs a powerful punch.
As a dancer and with growing children into sports, one fruit that never goes missing from the fruit basket regardless of the season is the banana. Available throughout the year, and in multiple variations and sizes, this food is a healthy snack, a quick filler in case of hunger between meals and an instant energy booster. In fact, no meal is complete without a banana at the end, eaten like a dessert – although increasingly, there are reports that fruits in general should be had half an hour before the meal and not after.
Having grown up with this fruit at home all the time, almost a comfort food that one picks up without second thought when crossing the basket, calling bananas a superfood can probably raise a few eyebrows. But packing a punch, this fruit is classified thus not without reason:
- Even a medium-sized banana contains as much as 3g of fiber, which is a high amount that’s beneficial. The fiber in bananas, being soluble, reduces risk of heart disease, improves digestion, and improves the rate of converting carbohydrates into simple sugars. It rates low on the Glycemic Index, the measure of impact of food on our blood sugars.
- With 467mg per banana, it is a rich source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure, prevents the hardening of arteries thus reducing the chance of stroke, improves bone health and boosts overall heart health. Just one banana a day can improve cardiovascular health tremendously. The potassium also helps replace electrolytes and restores normal bowel function the morning after heavy drinking.
- Bananas contain fats from the sterol family that help block cholesterol build up in the blood.
- Not just for the body, the banana is also a superfood for the mind. The tryptophan protein found in banana converts into serotonin, which helps one relax and experience good moods.
- Those who suffer from acidity will benefit from the antacid effects of banana, which creates a thick mucus barrier in the stomach and protects it against acids. This as well as its ability to remove ulcer-causing bacteria in the stomach enhances the health of the digestive system.
- Banana is also a rich source of vitamins C and B6, and carotenoids, thus improving vitamin A levels in the body.
Interestingly, while banana is a well-known and commonly found fruit in India, the western world discovered it through Alexander the Great in 327 BC. Believed to have originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago they were introduced in the US only in the 19th century, that too mostly only in the port towns.