Advertising
Advertising

10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating 3 Bananas a Day

10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating 3 Bananas a Day

Bananas are incredibly versatile fruits that can be used to make refreshing smoothies, add delicious flavor to a baked meal, or simply eaten on-the-go. That might explain why they are one of the world’s most popular fruits: Over 96 percent of households in the U.S purchase bananas at least once a month, according to this report.

So we love eating bananas. But is this obsession good for us?

The research says yes. Bananas have a lot more going for them than simply an affordable price and sweet flavor. Studies indicate that the magic number is three–by eating three bananas per day, you provide your body with about 1500mg of potassium, and loads of health benefits.

So what exactly are the benefits?

Here are 10 amazing health benefits of eating bananas every day:

Advertising

1. Bananas lower high blood pressure.

Studies show eating as little as three bananas a day may lower your blood pressure significantly. A medium-sized banana has about 422 mg of potassium and is nearly sodium-free. The high potassium-to-sodium ratio helps to neutralize the blood pressure-rising effect of sodium in the diet.

So it would seem that your mom’s admonition to reach for a banana instead of that bag of crisps is very sound advice.

2. Bananas improve digestion.

Bananas are loaded with fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber is an important nutrient in the body because it helps regulate the speed of digestion, slowing it down. Eating a banana will make you feel full longer and can also help with the problem of constipation.

No wonder bananas are often included in breakfast meals. They help you start your day energized and keep you satisfied longer.

3. Bananas improve cardiovascular health.

Eating foods high in fiber is good for the heart, and bananas are full of fiber. A high-fiber diet has been linked with a lower risk of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). The soluble fiber present in banana is, in particular, associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

Advertising

healthy, balanced diet will provide the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs–top it off with a banana or two for an extra 4 grams of fiber per fruit.

4. Bananas help create healthy cells.

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, containing 20 percent of the daily amount required for adult intake. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce insulin, hemoglobin and nonessential amino acids necessary to create healthy cells. It also helps with the production of antibodies that fight infections.

Maybe we should have been saying it different all along: “A banana a day, keeps the doctor away.”

5. Bananas improve GI tract heath.

Since bananas are relatively easy to digest, they are considered non-irritating for the human gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract. In fact, bananas not only ease digestive strain, but also sooth the digestive tract and help restore lost minerals after diarrhea. That is why they are among the first solid foods introduced to babies.

This is also one of the reasons bananas make up part of the clinical BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applecause and dry toast – that dietitians use to treat acute diarrhea.

Advertising

6. Bananas are rich in Vitamin C.

When you think of vitamin C, oranges and strawberries might be the first fruits that come to mind. But a full serving of bananas provides a whopping 15 percent of the daily requirement for this essential nutrient. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are uncharged atoms, molecules or ions (the “bad guys”) that are constantly destroying cells in your body. Vitamin C also aids in keeping blood vessels healthy and produces collagen that holds muscles, bones and other tissues together.

7. Bananas improve athletic performance.

If you have ever wondered why many athletes love bananas, here’s the reason: Bananas boost the muscles and provide antioxidants and other nutrients naturally. According to a study at the Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab, consuming half a banana every 15 minutes during a cycling time trial test was as effective as drinking a carbohydrate matched sports drink every 15 minutes. No wonder Yohan Blake, the Jamaican Olympics sprinter, reportedly eats 16 bananas a day!

8. Bananas fight anemia.

Because bananas are high in iron, consuming them can stimulate production of hemoglobin in the blood and help fight anemia. Anemia is a condition where there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood, leading to fatigue, paleness and shortness of breath.

Moreover, Vitamin B6 present in banana regulates blood glucose levels, which can also help those suffering from anemia.

9. Bananas suppress hunger pangs.

This happens not merely because eating bananas makes you feel full for longer, but also due to their pleasant smell. That’s right, the scent of bananas can apparently suppress appetite and hunger pangs! According to this study by Dr Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, smelling bananas when you are hungry can trick your brain into thinking that you’ve actually eaten them.

Advertising

So, yes, bananas can help you lose weight.

10. Bananas lift mood and help you feel happy.

A medium-size banana provides about 27 mg magnesium. This mineral can help boost your mood and aid good sleep. Men and women need 420 mg and 320 mg of magnesium per day, respectively. If you’re low on magnesium, you’re likely to suffer from anxiety, irritability, depression and other disorders.

Since many of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, consider eating a banana next time you’re having a case of the 3 p.m. munchies. It will fill you up and leave you feeling positive.

Bonus non-health benefits

You should also know dried ground banana peels make fantastic mulch for seedlings and new plants in the garden. Bananas are also a perfectly safe and healthy treat for your beloved dog!

A final tick for the pro column: If you are dying for some pearly white teeth, rubbing banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes after you brush can contribute to a perfect smile.

But don’t take it from me. Try a few bananas today!

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

How to Construct a Killer Meeting Agenda That is Simple and Effective 25 Brain Exercises for Memory That Actually Help You Remember More 5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Beer You Probably Never Knew 15 Funny Idioms You May Not Know (And What They Actually Mean)

Trending in Health

1 Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It 2 The Leading Causes of Prenatal Depression and How to Manage it Best 3 10 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 4 What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It) 5 13 Brain Healthy Foods That Keep Your Brain Sharp Naturally

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

Advertising

This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

Advertising

If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

Advertising

Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

Advertising

To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

Read Next