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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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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

            One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

            In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

            Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

            1. Cat Camel Stretch

            Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

            Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

            Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

            Here’s a video to guide you through:

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            2. Go for a Walk or a Run

            This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

            Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

            The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

            Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

            Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

            3. Jumping Jacks

            Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

            Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

            4. Abductor Side Lifts

            Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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            Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

            5. Balancing Table Pose

            This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

            Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

            ablab

              6. Leg Squats

              Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

              Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

              The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

              7. Push Ups

              You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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              An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

              Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

              This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

              8. Bicycle Crunches

              There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

              Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

              9. Lunges

              Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

              Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

              This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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              10. Bicep Curls

              You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

              Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

              Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

              Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

              Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

              These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

              You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

              Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

              More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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