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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

      shutterstock_337321127

        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

        shutterstock_108959801

          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 January 21, 2020

            The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

            The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

            Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

            your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

              Why You Need a Vision

              Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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              How to Create Your Life Vision

              Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

              What Do You Want?

              The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

              It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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              Some tips to guide you:

              • Remember to ask why you want certain things
              • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
              • Give yourself permission to dream.
              • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
              • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

              Some questions to start your exploration:

              • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
              • What would you like to have more of in your life?
              • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
              • What are your secret passions and dreams?
              • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
              • What do you want your relationships to be like?
              • What qualities would you like to develop?
              • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
              • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
              • What would you most like to accomplish?
              • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

              It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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              What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

              Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

              A few prompts to get you started:

              • What will you have accomplished already?
              • How will you feel about yourself?
              • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
              • What does your ideal day look like?
              • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
              • What would you be doing?
              • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
              • How are you dressed?
              • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
              • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
              • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

              It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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              Plan Backwards

              It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

              • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
              • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
              • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
              • What important actions would you have had to take?
              • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
              • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
              • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
              • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
              • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

              Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

              It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

              Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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