Note: This blog post is one of my “Tidbits of Wisdom for Parents” YouTube video series. Here is the synopsis of, “Here are 18 of the Most Spectacular Benefits of Bananas!” Click here to watch the 6-minute video
Banana Facts, Tips & More…
Do you like bananas? Or are you like most people and avoid them because of the carbs? Okay, so the banana has a few carbs—so what? The carbs found in bananas are complex carbs meaning the sugars enter the bloodstream much differently than a candy bar (which spikes sugar in the blood). Plus, the benefits of a banana outweigh any so-called negatives.
Bananas rival apples and if you think “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” –think again! Based on the benefits of bananas, you will get more bang for your buck with this yellow-skinned fruit!
Constipated? Eat a banana! Frazzled nerves? Eat a banana! Leg cramps? Eat more bananas! And this is just scratching the surface when it comes to banana benefits.
So here are 18 reasons (yes, 18!!) why you should make bananas part of your family’s diet.
Fact #1: More Nutritious Than an Apple
Apples are a great snack for both kids and adults, but so are bananas. In fact, in comparison to an apple, a banana may trump an apple in vitamins, minerals, carbs, and proteins. Here’s why…
Compared to an apple, bananas have:
- 4x the protein
- 2x the complex carbohydrates
- 3x the phosphorus
- 5x the vitamin A
- 5x the iron
- 2x more other vitamins and minerals
- Rich in potassium
Simply put, bananas are one of the best value foods around. So, maybe it’s time to change that well-known phrase to, “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!”
Fact #2: Depression
A recent survey amongst young people and adults suffering from depression showed that many felt much better after eating a banana. The reason: bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is one of the “feel-good-hormones” known to help you relax, improve your mood and gives you an overall feeling of wellbeing and happiness.
People suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also find that eating bananas help because of the tryptophan found in bananas. Tryptophan is a natural mood enhancer.
Test the waters—next time you or your child wakes up feeling “blue” reach for a banana and see if it helps to lift everyone’s spirits.
Fact #3: PMS
As a mom–do you or your teenage daughter suffer from PMS? When it’s that time of the month, and you’re feeling the symptoms of PMS, try eating a banana. The vitamin B6 found in bananas helps to regulate blood glucose levels, which helps to positively affect your mood.
Fact #4: Anemia
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and can help people suffering from anemia. It’s difficult for kids who suffer from anemia to take iron pills. So if you have a child with this problem–try a diet of bananas and see if it helps.
Fact #5: Blood Pressure
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke. There are situations where teens can experience high blood pressure. If you have a teen that suffers from this –try having them eat bananas (celery works, too).
Fact #6: Brain Power
Students who ate bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner felt a boost in their brain power and did better on school exams. They experienced increased clarity of thought and ability to recall information. Why is this? Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by increasing a student’s ability to stay on task and be more alert. (btw: classical music also boosts your brain!)
Fact #7: Constipation
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), people with chronic constipation feel “stuck” in their lives. Whatever your issues are with constipation, a banana will help. High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives. If you or your children suffer from constipation–dump the laxative and reach for a banana!
Fact #8: Hangovers
Too much partying on the weekend? One of the quickest ways to cure a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system. Next time you decide to “binge”—take along a banana milkshake!
Fact #9: Heartburn
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body. If you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief. (eating almonds after a meal also help). Kids and teens can also suffer from heartburn–try a banana the next time this happens.
Fact #10: Morning Sickness
Suffering from morning sickness? Try snacking on a banana between meals. They will keep your blood sugar levels up which helps to combat pesky morning sickness!
Fact #11: Mosquito bites
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation. Instead of taking insect repellant on that next camping trip, take a long some ripe bananas. My friend swears that this same remedy gets rid of warts—but the banana skin needs to be as ripe as possible.
Fact #12: Nerves
Vitamin B’s help calms the nervous system and since bananas are high in the B vitamins—they can help with anxiety. There is an increase in children experiencing anxiety today. Try a banana and see if it helps.
Fact #13: Stressed at Work or School?
Studies have shown that if you are stressed at work, or if a child or teen is stressed at school, the stress often leads to gorging on comfort foods like chocolate, potato chips or other foods high in carbs. Researchers also discovered an interesting fact: many obese people work in high-pressure jobs.
The researchers suggest that to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we can control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady and balanced. But, the high carb foods should be complex carbs–like a banana! This is another reason why parents should pack a banana in their kids’ lunches.
Fact #14: Ulcers
Because of its soft texture and smoothness, bananas can protect against intestinal disorders. They are the only raw fruit that can be eaten without increasing acidity in the stomach. Bananas actually neutralize over-acidity and reduce irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Fact #15: Temperature Control
Many other cultures see bananas as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers.
Fact #16: Smoking
Because smoking is so addictive, it’s a difficult habit to give up. Bananas to the rescue! They can actually help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 vitamins and potassium and magnesium found in bananas help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Fact #17: Stress
Potassium is a vital mineral which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high potassium banana snack.
The next time you or one of your children are feeling stressed, anxious or exhausted—eat a banana.
Fact #18: Strokes
Researchers have found that having bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
As you can see, bananas are a natural remedy for many ailments and it would behoove us to add these yellow-skinned fruits to our diets. The best way is to eat them right out of the skin or in a fresh fruit salad.