Endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century, bananas may well be one of the first-ever superfoods. Many physicians today still recommend bananas as part of the BRAT diet to soothe an upset stomach. One of Canadians’ favourite fruits, Statistics Canada reported there were more than 15 kilograms of fresh bananas available per person in 2020 (apples came in second at 10 kilograms). Bananas are chock-full of health benefits—read on to learn more.
Happy Heart Bananas are a rich source of potassium, which is an essential mineral and one of the most important electrolytes in the body. Potassium-rich foods may reduce the risk of heart disease, while a diet low in potassium can lead to an increased risk of stroke. This mineral plays a role in maintaining a healthy balance of water in your cells by flushing out excess sodium in the urine. Potassium also helps relax the walls of the blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure. Keep in mind that people who use beta-blockers should eat high potassium foods in moderation and consult a physician before making any significant dietary changes.
Brain Booster This superfood is also beneficial for brain function and mood. Bananas contain vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan, both of which are essential for the synthesis of neuro-transmitters. These feel-good brain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, play an important role in regulating memory, mood and sleep. Deficiency or imbalance in these neurotransmitters can lead to psychological or neurological conditions, such as depression or Parkinson’s disease.
Green Goodness Don’t wait too long for that banana to ripen—green bananas are good for you, too! They contain a type of fibre called resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic nutrient. As it ferments, it produces butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that promotes gut health. Since resistant starch is not broken down in the small intestine, less sugar is released into the bloodstream and the slower digestion process leaves you feeling full for a longer period of time. Not only that, but unripe bananas also contain plant compounds that can help neutralize stomach acid and protect against stomach ulcers.
You’ll go bananas for these nourishing products.