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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

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            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 January 11, 2021

            11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

            11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

            Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

            Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

            1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

            Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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            2. Stress Relief

            Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

            3. Improved Sleep

            Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

            4. Appetite Control

            Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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            5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

            When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

            6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

            Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

            7. Mosquito Repellant

            Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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            8. Pain Relief

            While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

            9. The New Anti-Viral

            Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

            10. Improved Cognitive Function

            Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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            11. Money Saving

            With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

            Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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