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7 Benefits of Bananas You May Not Have Known About

7 Benefits of Bananas You May Not Have Known About

As one of the most available fruits in the world, bananas are everywhere! From grocery stores to gas stations, every turn you take you’ll most likely encounter this common fruit.

For years it has been pounded into our heads that bananas are a good source of potassium and are monkeys’ favorite food. It is understood that bananas are green when they are unripe, turn yellow when they are ready to be eaten, and turn brown when forgotten, rotten and spoiled. We know they come in bunches and grow on trees, so what else is there to know about bananas? The details! We all know the basics of bananas, but do we know their unexpected benefits? Here are some bonus facts about the benefits of bananas you didn’t know about.

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Banana Benefits for Your Body

  • Potassium: Okay, so you remember your parents telling you that bananas provide potassium – what does that even mean? Well, potassium is good for your body because it helps regulate your blood pressure, which maintains a properly functioning heart. Obviously this is critical information to know because bananas keep your heart beating. The potassium found in bananas also benefits your bones. By helping to suppress calcium excretion, bananas reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and brittle bones as you age.
  • Fiber: Did you know that bananas are also an excellent source of fiber too? To aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system, bananas help food move smoothly through your digestive tract, improving the flow of your bathroom visits. As an added benefit – of course – the fiber in bananas also helps relieve the symptoms of heartburn too.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: With high levels of Vitamin B6, bananas are essential to producing healthy blood. Not only do they contain good levels of Vitamin C, magnesium and manganese, they also contain a compound called cytolcin. This compound is believed to have the potential to increase white blood cells, which enhances your immunity. In short, bananas provide your body with vitamins and minerals that fight cancerous cell changes.
  • Ulcers Beaters: Not only do bananas help fight against cancer, they also help to protect against stomach ulcers too. Other compounds found in bananas create a thicker, protective barrier in the stomach that defends against hydrochloric acid. Bananas also contain protease inhibitors that eliminate specific bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers to form. What’s the moral of this bonus benefit? Fill your tummy with bananas to prevent holes from forming.

Banana Benefits for Your Mind

The benefits of bananas are not isolated to only the internal functions of the body. The benefits of bananas also extend to your body’s exterior as well as the essence of your being.

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  • Skin: Just like your skin, banana peels are useful too. They can be used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. Blended together with other ingredients, banana peels can also add moisture to your hair, restoring lost nutrients for a natural and radiant shine.
  • Energy: In order to stay productive and engaged, your body needs energy right? Well, bananas definitely provide that for you. Their natural compounds infuse the body with energy that is frequent, steady and consistent. With this stability, your energy helps motivate your body to lose weight – It’s true! Bananas help you lose weight.
  • Improves Your Mood and Reduces Your Stress: The best bonus benefit of bananas that you didn’t know about is how they affect your mood and stress levels. Bananas are a good source of tryptophan, a chemical when released in the body converts into serotonin. With proper serotonin levels, bananas help improve your mood, reducing your stress. Therefore, eating bananas will help you gain a more positive, stress-free outlook on life.

Do not be fooled by the common misconceptions that bananas are only good for levels of potassium. As you can see, the benefits of bananas that you didn’t know about are pretty unique. It’s no wonder why monkeys love them so much – they really do more than just taste good!

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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