Bananas are one of the most popular fruits. You will always see them readily available in your produce aisle, and like apples which are the second most popular fruit, you may even see them in places like gas stations and small stores since they are an easy, healthy snack alternative to the processed foods that typically line their shelves.
Whether you happen to like the taste of bananas, or you simply like the portability and convenience but don’t especially relish the taste or texture, there are some things you should know about this popular fruit that may change your mind about how beneficial it is to add them to your regular diet.
Bananas contain resistant starch. This is a “good” starch because it doesn’t digest or break down as quickly as a simple starch. True, it will break down into sugar eventually, but since a banana has this type of starch and also happens to have to protein as well, it will have a more steadying effect on your blood sugar levels than a snack like pretzels or some other simple starch.
This makes it an ideal snack for when you’re on the road or for when you need a snack to hold you over until dinner time or lunch time. The greener the banana, the more resistant starch it will contain.
Mood boosting tryptophan, tyrosine
Bananas contain tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin production. They also may boost dopamine, which is another vital component for promoting a good mood and positive outlook. One study found that after ten days of ripening, tyrosine was also detected in bananas. Tyrosine is an amino acid which is pivotal in the production of dopamine. The riper the banana, the more dopamine-enhancing tyrosine you’ll get.
A great lower fat, higher fiber alternative for baked goods
You can actually used mashed up bananas (preferably ripe) in place of fats and oils in baking. It does take some practice, but typically you can use it in place of vegetable oils and butters and cut your fat down dramatically. You’re also adding fiber and a delicious moistness. Mashed bananas will add sweetness, so you should adjust the recipe as needed. Also, you may need to cut down on some of the egg in the recipe if you’re using bananas as a baking replacement.
It’s likely best to use a recipe that actually gives you measurements for each ingredient when cooking with mashed bananas for this reason. Another delicious recipe that just about everyone loves, and which uses three ripe bananas is banana nut bread. Since it also calls for walnuts, it’s one of the healthier dessert breads you can eat, and you can always find recipes out there that cut the sugar down so that you have an even healthier snack to look forward to.
Excellent for weight loss, appetite control, electrolyte replenishment
Bananas are rich in potassium, which is an important electrolyte. It regulates muscle activity, which is why your muscles cramp if you are deficient in this mineral. Potassium also helps regulate heartbeat, and keeps the body in electrical harmony, stimulating the right muscles and bodily functions at the appropriate time.
Athletes often use bananas as a powerhouse snack because they contain so many components that not only enhance energy and boost mood, but they also regulate body weight. They are filling and only clock in around a hundred calories, and because they help regulate blood sugar and enhance mood, your body registers less hunger sensations.
Rich in prebiotics – Good for digestion, colon and intestinal health
Bananas are rich in prebiotics. Most people know of the importance of probtioics, but prebiotics are often left out of the discussion when it comes to a healthy gut and efficient digestion. Prebiotics help our bodies to naturally produce more probiotics by passing into the intestines undigested. They act as a precursor to friendly bacterial growth in our intestines and colon, and for this reason they help keep our entire digestion system functioning properly – and more importantly comfortably and efficiently.
Prebiotics may also enhance your immune system and can even help alleviate certain allergic responses. This is because they enhance one of the key components of a healthy digestive tract which is probiotic population.
A healthy gut has long been linked to a robust immune system and it is pretty clear from recent studies that those with a high population of healthy flora (probiotics) tend to have much more effective immune systems.
Bananas are also rich in fiber, which helps to keep everything moving through unencumbered by discomfort, straining, or constipation. They provide the necessary lubrication it takes to keep waste moving through the digestive tract so that it all may be properly absorbed and then expelled from our bodies efficiently. This means a healthier, cleaner colon and clean, healthy intestines.