THEY say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but whoever coined that pithy phrase had clearly never encountered a banana.
One of the most widely consumed fruits, more than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year worldwide. But few of us know about the incredible health benefits loaded in each bunch.
Packed with antioxidants and disease-fighting vitamins, they are Mother Nature’s greatest snack foods, and as they come packed in their own wrapper, they’re easy to grab on-the-go.
They’re available year round, and make a great pick-me-up during the winter months when many berries and fruits are out of season.
Struggling with a bloated belly? Studies have shown that bananas can help.
Their high-fibre content helps to promote a harmonious gut function, easing the symptoms of bowel conditions like IBS.
They’re also a brilliant hangover cure, as they help to restore normal bowel function after a night of sugary, alcoholic drinks, and replenish important electrolytes and potassium.
And forget sugary sports drinks and caffeine-filled coffees, bananas are the healthiest way to get an energy hit first thing in the morning.
They contain three natural sugars — sucrose, fructose and glucose — giving you a fat and cholesterol-free source of fuel. Whizz them up in a shake for a morning treat or pack one in your sports bag for a post-workout pick-me-up.
Bananas keep your heart healthy too.
The flesh is loaded with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. Studies have shown people who load up on the mineral have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease. The average banana contains 425mg of potassium, about 11% of the recommended dietary allowance.
When you think of eye health, you probably think of carrots, but bananas are also packed with antioxidant compounds and carotenoids, and have a potent mix of minerals that can have positive effects on eye health.
Macular degeneration, cataracts, night blindness and glaucoma have all been shown to decrease by regularly eating bananas.
And if you’re planning on shedding a few pounds, you may very well want to stock up.
Each banana contains only around 100 calories, yet they’re super filling and nutritious. Bunches on the unripened end of the spectrum are filled with resistant starch, which has been shown to have appetite-reducing effects.
So next time you’re thinking of going for a second helping of dinner, try tucking into a just-ripened banana instead.
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