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Amazing Benefits Of Bananas (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Bananas (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Tantalizing to look at and conveniently packaged, bananas are a versatile food enjoyed by people of all ages, from infants to elders. They are not only handy and delicious, bananas are also a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Let us take a look at some of the amazing benefits of bananas.

The make-up of bananas

Bananas contain a good amount of fiber, as well as antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also contains:

  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
  • Net carbs: 24 grams.
  • Fiber: 3.1 grams.
  • Protein: 1.3 grams.
  • Fat: 0.4 grams.

1. Bananas Help with Depression and Mood

Bananas are able to help relieve depression and improve your mood due to high levels of tryptophan. Tryptophan has a calming and relaxing effect. Combined with the benefits of B vitamins, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, the “happy brain neurotransmitter”, and this can improve your mood and help bring about an overall feeling of well-being.

2. Bananas Prevent Cancer

A 2005 Swedish study found evidence that suggests that moderate consumption of bananas may protect against kidney cancer. The high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds found in bananas may be the reason why they are helpful in preventing kidney cancer.

3. Bananas Strengthen Your Bones

Bananas do not contain large amounts of calcium but the calcium that they do contain can still be helpful in keeping bones strong. According to a 2009 article in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, bananas contain a large amount of fructooligosaccharides. These are carbohydrates that promote probiotics that help with digestion and enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

4. Bananas Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

The potassium found in bananas helps to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. A medium-sized banana contains 400-plus mg of potassium, making them a very effective source of this nutrient. According to the FDA, “Eating enough potassium each day can help lower blood pressure by balancing out some of the harmful effects that sodium can have on blood pressure.” Bananas also contain sterols that work to block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. By blocking cholesterol absorption, they can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber content in bananas also has cardiovascular benefits as soluble fiber in food is associated with a decrease in the risk of heart disease.

5. Bananas Treat Anemia

Bananas can help to strengthen your blood and aid in the prevention or treatment of anemia because they contain iron. If you eat bananas on a regular basis and also eat other iron-rich foods, you can gradually reduce symptoms associated with anemia. Anemia is a condition where there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells (haemoglobin) in the blood. The symptoms of anemia can be dizziness, headaches, paleness, shortness of breath and fatigue.

6. Bananas Improve Your Vision

Bananas contain a small but significant amount of Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to protect eyes, improve vision at night and maintain normal vision. Due to their Vitamin A content bananas can also help to preserve the membranes around your eyes according to the National Institutes of Health.

7. Bananas Aid Digestion

Bananas produce digestive enzymes that help with the absorption of nutrients. They also act as a prebiotic, which stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the bowel. The high level of fiber bananas contain can help normalize bowel movements and can help elevate constipation. Bananas also help to treat diarrhea as they contain pectin, a water-soluble fiber which helps absorb fluids in the intestines. The benefits of fiber for digestion can be seen in the 2008 study by J. L. Buttriss and C. S. Stokes.

8. Bananas Help Weight Loss

Bananas are low in fat and high in fiber and vitamins making them a perfect food for a weight loss diet. Bananas help you feel full for longer as when the fiber in the banana reaches the stomach it absorbs water and takes up a lot of space, making you feel full. The natural sweetness of bananas makes for a great snack and can curb your craving for something sweet. The effect fiber has on weight loss can be seen in the 2013 study by Clark MJ and JL Slavin.

9. Bananas Are Good Natural Cures

Bananas may be helpful if you are trying to quit smoking. They contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium, which help speed up recovery from the symptoms of withdrawal. Even the banana peel has its uses. You can remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart, making sure it is held in place.

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We have taken a look at some of the amazing benefits of bananas and seen just how many health benefits this fruit has to offer. So next time you are at the grocery store don’t forget to put a bunch of bananas in your shopping trolley.

Creamy Banana and Avocado Smoothie recipe

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    Ingredients

    Bananas (fresh or frozen)

    1/2 avocado, stone and skin removed

    1 1/2 cups almond milk (or any other milk)

    1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

    1 tablespoon raw honey

    1 tablespoon chia seeds

    1 tablespoon bee pollen

    1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)

    Handful of ice

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    Directions

    Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed for half a minute until you reach a smooth consistency.

    Baked Cinnamon Banana Chips

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      Ingredients

      4 medium ripe bananas (or 3 large)
      3 tablespoons orange juice (or juice from 1 large lemon)
      Cinnamon

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 200°F (warm setting). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the bananas and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Dip each slice into the orange juice and place on the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
      2. Bake for 3 to 4 hours, or until your chips are dry and slightly brown, making sure to flip your chips halfway through.
      3. Remove from the oven, and once cool, chips can be stored in an airtight container.

      Chocolate Banana Creamsicles

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        Ingredients

        3 large over-ripened bananas

        1 cup coconut milk

        4 tbsp cocoa powder

        1 tsp vanilla extract

        A pinch of salt

        Dixie cups (fewer than 10 for this recipe)

        Popsicle sticks

        Directions

        If you have a blender, shove everything together in the blender and process until smooth.

        1. Divide among your popsicle moulds and freeze for at least 4 hours. Enjoy!

        If you don’t have a blender, do the following:

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        1. Mash the bananas with a potato masher or a fork until relatively smooth.
        2. Add the cocoa powder and salt and mix in.
        3. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
        4. Pour into your popsicle moulds (or Dixie cups) and stick a popsicle stick in the middle.
        5. Freeze for about 4 hours and they should be ready to eat! Just use some scissors to make a snip on the cup then tear from there to release the deliciousness within.

        Quick and Easy Banana-Oat Muffins

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          Ingredients

          2 mashed ripe bananas (about 3/4 cup)

          2 tablespoons canola oil

          1 egg

          1/2 cup fat-free milk

          3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

          2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour (such as King Arthur) or whole-wheat flour

          1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

          1/4 cup sugar

          1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

          1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

          1/4 teaspoon salt

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          Cooking spray

          Directions

          1. Preheat oven to 375º.
          2. Combine bananas and next 4 ingredients (through vanilla) in a medium bowl; mix well, and set aside.
          3. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Whisk together flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl.
          4. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until they are just combined.
          5. Spray 9 muffin cups with cooking spray (or use paper liners), and spoon 1/3 cup batter into each cup (cups will be full).
          6. Bake 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

          Healthy Banana Bread

          shutterstock_154013474

            Ingredients

            ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil or high quality vegetable oil*

            ½ cup honey or maple syrup

            2 eggs

            1 cup mashed bananas (about 2½ medium or 2 large bananas)

            ¼ cup milk of choice or water

            1 teaspoon baking soda

            1 teaspoon vanilla extract

            ½ teaspoon salt

            ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top

            1¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

            Totally optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit, fresh banana slices…

            Directions

            1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
            2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and milk. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
            3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are OK! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.
            4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
            5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

            Featured photo credit: life health and beauty via lifehealthandbeauty.com

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            Rebecca Beris

            Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on May 21, 2020

            The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

            The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

            You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

            Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

            Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

            An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

            Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

            1. The Paleo Diet

            The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

            The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

            In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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            How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

            The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

            With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

            It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

            Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

            2. Whole30

            The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

            With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

            During the month you are eliminating:

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            • sugar
            • alcohol
            • legumes
            • grains
            • dairy
            • soy

            Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

            At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

            Finding Out How Food Impacts You

            Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

            With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

            This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

            3. The Mediterranean Diet

            The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

            For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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            With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

            • Fruits & vegetables
            • Whole grains
            • Legumes & nuts
            • Replacing butter with olive oil
            • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
            • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
            • Moderate amounts of red wine

            Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

            Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

            With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

            4. The Alkaline Diet

            The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

            The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

            Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

            The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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            People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

            One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

            Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

            There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

            The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

            What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

            The Big Takeaway:

            Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

            Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

            Reference

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