Im Bananas for Bananas, Wanna Know Why?

            Good source of potassium

Everyone always says, eat your bananas to get your dose of potassium.  But do any of you know why potassium is so important?  I’ll give you a fewLower risk of strokes, lowers risk of congestive heart failure and overall cardiovascular disease.

           What else is potassium good for?

Builds proteins and therefore muscle!

Helps maintain body growth. Has an impact on the electrical activity of the heart (arrhythmias) Overall! Potassium is important for overall health, and bananas are a rich source of potassium!

                 Good source of vitamin B6

Low vitamin B6 has a lot of nasty effects on your body.  These include scaling at the mouth (chelosis for those Curious George types out there!), anemia, swollen tongue (glossitis), depression, confusion, and even lowers your immune function.  In children, it can cause convulsions (seizures) among other things.

 This is why bananas are great!

They contain 20% of your daily value required intake of vitamin B6!

  Might help with Migraines!

 A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of magnesium in migraines.  Infusion of magnesium during a migraine attack resulted in immediate and prolonged relief.  In fact, continued oral magnesium might help prevent frequent migraines.

But what does this have to do with bananas?

Well, bananas have 8% daily value of magnesium needed.   According to the NIH, low magnesium has been linked to a few chronic disorders including: high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and migraines!

Great as a pre or post-exercise nutritious snack

 A study compared the effects of Gatorade versus banana ingestion in a group of cyclists.  If equal amounts of Gatorade and banana were give, the results were similar, however, although bananas had higher anti-oxidant activity, there was no change in oxidative stress in the body.

There was also a higher increase in dopamine levels in the body after banana ingestion BUT no effects to the heart.

Usually dopamine increases the amount of blood pumped by the heart (cardiac output), increases heart rate and blood pressure, but the levels from the banana after its metabolized, is too low to have any effect.

Overall, even though it doesn’t actually have a huge impact on oxidative stress from the exercise you do, or increase heart function during exercise:

It is just as good as Gatorade to replenish yourself after a hard workout, and even before to fuel yourself.

Might help with Intestinal Health

 Bananas contain fibers called Pectin and Starch.  Unripe bananas have more pectin, and more resistant starch.  This means that it will stay in your intestines and end up in your colon.  This is good news! Because fiber draws water and promotes good bowel movements. Also, a study found that pectin has some anti-cancer activity and might therefore help protect against cancer, and more specifically colon cancer.

 

May help with weight loss!

For all those calorie counters out there, bananas are your friends! Only 107 Kcal per banana!Both pectin and resistant starch stimulate feelings of fullness In fact, resistant starches have proven to promote satiety and weight loss.  It lowers fat storage in fat cells (adipocytes), and preserves lean body mass. According to the study from 2014 by Higgins,  “retention of lean body mass during weight loss or maintenance would prevent the decrease in basal metabolic rate and, therefore, the decrease in total energy expenditure, that occurs with weight loss”.

What does this mean?

Weight loss usually slows your metabolism… by retaining your lean body mass with help of resistant starches your metabolism stays the same, promoting more weight loss!

Resistant starch is now thought of as ‘weight loss wonder food’ because of these properties. Studies also show that people who have diets high in soluble fibers, like resistant starch, have lower body weight.  Meals high in fiber are also lower in fat and calories, which promotes weight loss and weight maintenance. This is why bananas are often considered to be a great fat loss and weight loss food!

BUT!

If you have bowel issues such as constipation, it is best to steer clear of bananas.  Some studies show that whether they are raw or ripe, bananas may induce constipation. If already constipated, bananas might actually worsen it especially in children.  In fact it is recommended not to give bananas to children with constipation.

Also, According to the FDA, people who take diuretics (water pills like furosemide or triamterene without hydrochlorothiazide) or ACE inhibitors (captopril) should not eat foods high in potassium like our bananas here! Why?  These medications cause your body to retain potassium, and too much potassium is just as bad as low potassium.

Like I always say! Moderation is the key! And always always always talk to your doctors if you have any concerns.

SIDE NOTE:

Under-ripe bananas are best! Especially for diabetics

Bananas also contain sugar and as they ripen they gain more soluble starches, and so many times they are not recommended to diabetics to eat.  However! Under-ripe Bananas have a low to moderate glycemic index, this means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar too much.  Under-ripe bananas glycemic index of 30 whereas ripe bananas glycemic index of 60 with an average index of all bananas of 51.

A study in 2014 showed that daily consumption of bananas is harmless to both diabetics and patients with high cholesterol.  The NIH even incudes bananas in the groups of foods diabetic patients should eat to have a healthy diet and they don’t specify whether they should be under-ripe or ripe. In summary! Bananas are amazing! Granted you eat them moderately! Excessively eating or drinking anything is just as bad as never doing it!

Find the balance!

And if you do have diabetes, do not be afraid to ask your doctor to speak to a nutritionist so they can help you modify your diet.  Ask them as many questions as you can about what foods you should eat and why.  Know the benefits of what you put in your body so you become motivated to follow your plan!

                  When do I eat bananas?

Mostly I eat bananas as a snack between breakfast and lunch. Usually 1hr before I exercise. Rarely for breakfast unless its with yogurt and granola J or in a smoothie or on a rice cake with peanut butter 😛

The most I’ll eat in a day is 2 bananas!

            How do you eat your bananas?

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