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Health Benefits of the Bananas

Bananas are number one consumed fruit in the world, if we don't count tomatoes, and it's clear why. They are delicious, sweet, rich, and very convenient for snacking. They work wonders for dieters, support digestion function, and care for your heart.

Bananas are native to Southeast Asia, but today you will find bananas growing in every tropical part of the world. Bananas are big and small, sweet and less so, green, red, and most popular Cavendish, which starts green and becomes yellow when ripe.

Bananas in a Basket

Each average banana has all kinds of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants – potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, copper, good carbs and fat, and 1.3g of protein. Each fruit has about 100 calories and is mostly made of H2O and carbs.

Bananas are great for regulating blood sugar and fighting hunger. Green bananas have very low glycemic index (GI), which means that they don't cause a spike in blood sugar after consumption. Even ripe ones have medium GI and are great for helping you stay full.

Bananas are great for digestion because of 3g of fiber in each. There are 2 types of fiber in bananas: pectin and resistant starch that is found in unripe fruit. Pectin decreases as banana becomes riper. Resistant starch doesn't get digested in your stomach, but becomes food for good bacteria in your intestines. There is evidence that pectin helps prevent colon cancer.

Bananas with Waffle

Bananas are a great addition to every diet. At just 100 calories, they offer plenty of fiber and carbs to trick you into thinking that you are full. They should be mandatory for every dieter.

Potassium is very important to your heart health, but few people get enough of it with their diet. Each banana has about 9% daily value of this mineral, which stabilizes blood pressure. Bananas also have magnesium to combat heart disease.

Bananas contain potent antioxidants. Dopamine and catechins both reduce heart disease and ensure that various old age diseases are not likely.

Bananas keep you full longer with their fiber, especially greener ones, so enjoy them and you won't have to snack often. Pectin and resistant starch reduce appetite and aid in weight loss.

Bananas have plenty of potassium, which helps keep kidneys healthy. Eating a banana a day could reduce chances of having kidney diseases in the future by as much as 50%.

Bananas are perfect food for athletes because of good carbs that get digested fast and minerals that restore balance after dehydration. Some studies claim that bananas help reducing muscle cramps, but more such studies are needed for conclusions. If nothing else, bananas are great fuel for before and after exercise.

Bananas can be found everywhere, are cheap, and can easily be used as snacks, added to yogurts and cereals, or used as sweetener in baking. They are easy to transport and can be taken anywhere.

Bananas at Whole Foods Market

All that is good, but we were talking about banana fruit qualities only. There are also many medical uses of other parts of this plant. Most modern medicine has their beginnings in nature, so instead of looking for antibiotics and expensive artificial aid, we can try going back to nature first.

Many people don't know it, but bananas don't grow on trees. You can't even call the plant bush or palm. They are simply herbs with stems that are not woody. Bananas can grow up to 30 feet in height in tropical climate. Every stem can produce one batch of bananas before dying, but new stems shoot up all the time. Those new shoots belong to the same plant, so in general one plant can produce bananas for many years, just from different shoots.

Every part of banana plant is edible and medicinal:

1. Stem

After peeling a few layers away, the inner part of stem is tender and can be soaked in yogurt and cooked to be served with rice. Banana stem is often used for treating kidney stones. The stem is very fibrous and thus should be consumed by those who want to lose weight.

2. Leaves

The leaves are great for wrapping food not only for storage, but also for cooking. It works like aluminum foil. While cooking food wrapped in leaves, antioxidants get into it and prevent various diseases.

3. Flower

Banana flower is used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine. Extract from this purple flower has antioxidant qualities. The flower has been used to treat ulcers, indigestion, menstrual pain, and even bronchitis for centuries.

4. Fruit

Banana is a happy fruit used to treat bad mood because of its serotonin. They are great sources of iron and help treat anemia. The yellow fruit is used to treat constipation just as good as diarrhea. Bananas help with acid neutralization and can be safely consumed by ulcer patients. Because of their water and sugar contents, bananas can help with hangover. They are also good for morning sickness and should be consumed by pregnant women.

Bananas in a Basket

5. Banana peels

Even the peels can be used! You can place the cool peel on burns and rashes to relieve pain. Rubbing the peel paste on a wart or leaving an entire peel there for a while will cause the wart to fall off. Peels can be placed on insect bites to help reduce the swelling. Finally, peels have antifungal qualities.

6. Banana roots

A tea from roots will help with inflammation. Root juice is effective for coating sore throats. Root tannins are effective pain relievers. Asthma and hypertension can also be helped by banana root.