Banana: Properties and Benefits

Banana

Banana, originally from South East Asia, is the most common fruit in the world. Like many other tropical fruits, bananas have different therapeutic properties


The banana is the fruit of the plant  Musa acuminata , also known as banana. The plant is a giant herbaceous plant belonging to the Musaceae family. This tropical fruit does not have a precise seasonality. It arrives on our tables from distant lands located along the climatic belt between the two tropics.

Banana: properties and benefits
Banana: properties and benefits

The banana is always available to be purchased at any time of year.

The transport is usually done by ship, in cold storage, often with a controlled atmosphere, in order to prolong storage.

The banana, thanks to its properties, as well as for its fruit, is a plant also used for other uses. The fibers of which the leaves are rich are used to produce paper, canvas and ropes. The leaves themselves are used to cover huts and to wrap fish and meat before cooking.

Index

According to the most recent statistics, the largest banana producing country is India, followed by China, the Philippines, Brazil and Ecuador. The countries that export most of this tropical fruit are Ecuador and Cista Rica while the main importers are the United States and Europe.

Despite being the most consumed fruit in the world, growers make modest gains from its trade. In some African countries such as Congo, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, it is used to ferment the banana to then prepare an alcoholic drink called kasiksi.

The banana contains several bioactive compounds such as phenols, carotenoids, phytosterols and biogenic amines. The latter are really useful in the diet since they have many beneficial effects on human health.

Many of these compounds have antioxidant properties and are effective in protecting the body from oxidative stress. In the past, bananas were used effectively in the treatment of various diseases, including reducing the risk of many chronic degenerative disorders.

Recently, interest in the scientific validity of the beneficial effects of bananas in alleviating and treating diseases such as ulcers, infections, diabetes, diarrhea, colitis and blood pressure has increased.

Chemical Composition

Chemical composition per 100 grams of banana
Water g 74,9
Protein g 1,1
Carbohydrates g 22,8
Fiber g 5,4
Fat g 0,3
Sugars g 12,2
Ashes g 0,8
Omega 3 mg 27
Omega 6 mg 46
Minerals
Calcium mg 5
Iron mg 0,3
Magnesium mg 27
Phosphorus mg 22
Potassium mg 358
Sodium mg 1
Zinc  mg 0,2
Copper mg 0,1
Manganese mg 0,3
Selenium mcg 1
Fluorine mcg 2,2
Vitamins
Vitamin A IU 64
B1 mg 0,03
B2 mg 0,1
B3 mg 0,7
B5 mg 0,3
B6 mg 0,4
Vitamin C mg 8,7
Vitamin E mg 0,1
Vitamin J mg 9,8
Vitamin K mcg 0,5
Lutein Zeaxantina mcg 22
Beta Carotene mcg 26
Folates mcg 20

Source: Nutritiondata

Amino acids : aspartic acid, glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine,histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.

Calories 

100 grams of edible part have a caloric intake equal to 89 kcal.

Banana: Properties and Benefits

Antioxidants

This tropical fruit contains several types of antioxidants including dopamine and catechins. Recent studies associate these compounds with many health benefits. For example, a reduced risk of degenerative diseases and heart diseases. ( 12 )

Another 2015 study analyzed the antioxidant properties of this fruit using a method other than the conventional one. In the study, an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion method was used to simulate physiological conditions of the stomach and small intestine to evaluate the effective antioxidant capacity of the banana. The simulated gastrointestinal extracts showed significantly higher antioxidant properties.

Compared to the standard ethanolic extract, the phenol content was 150% higher. Flavonoids and flavonols were 330,6 and 141,7% higher than the methanolic extract. ( 3 )

Kidney Benefits

The  regular consumption of these fruits  is positively related with a reduction in the incidence of kidney cancer. This is what is suggested by studies conducted in Ireland, the results of which are published in the International Journal of Cancer. These benefits are due to the high potassium content. One banana a day, or almost, to ward off kidney cancer risk.

One study looked at a group of women who ate the fruit 2-3 times a week for a few years. The results showed that women were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease. ( 4 )

However, there are other studies confirming these banana properties. Those who eat bananas 4-6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney problems. ( 56 )

Promotes the Elimination of Liquids

Contrary to popular belief, the banana does not make you fat. On the contrary, thanks to the abundance of potassium, it helps the body to balance the liquids in the body. In this way it counteracts the action of sodium and therefore promotes the elimination of liquids.

Mood

The bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is involved in the regulation of serotonin, according to studies one of the major hormones of happiness. Normal serotonin levels maintain a good mood and prevent disorders such as anxiety and depression. ( 7 )

Research suggests consuming this fruit rich in antioxidants that promote the release of dopamine, another mood-enhancing hormone, in the brain. ( 8 )

Brain function

Fruits have a good manganese content which, according to studies, facilitate the proper functioning of the brain. The regular consumption of this fruit, according to researchers, it may be useful to prevent conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. ( 9 )

Against Warts

The popular tradition uses the inside of the peel to remove warts. The remedy is to remove the inside of the peel and rub it on the wart twice a day for a week.

Weight Loss

Banana has few calories but at the same time it is also very nutritious and has a good satiating power. This fruit is also rich in fiber, there are several studies showing that a diet rich in fiber is associated with weight loss. ( 10 )

These unripe fruits are also rich in resistant starch whose intake greatly increases the sense of satiety. This property prevents you from taking in more calories during the day. In general we can say that the more the banana was green and contains resistant starch. ( 11 )

Bananas: properties and benefits

Cholesterol 

It has a good pectin content which together with the fiber helps to keep cholesterol under control. A Japanese study in rats informs us that the various types of fiber found in these fruits have a beneficial effect in reducing cholesterol. ( 12 )

Heart Health

Potassium is an essential trace element for heart health, in particular its activity is important for the regulation of pressure. Despite this, according to recent studies, many people do not take the right amount. ( 13 )

These fruits are a good source of potassium. A potassium-rich diet can help lower blood pressure. Furthermore, according to several studies, those who consume a lot of potassium are 27% less likely to develop heart disease. ( 14 )

According to some studies, the daily consumption of 1,4 grams of potassium leads to a 26% reduction in the risk of heart disease. ( 15 )

Even antioxidant flavonoids, according to scientific research, has beneficial effects in the prevention of heart disease. ( 16 )

In addition to this, bananas also contain magnesium, another important mineral for heart health.

Energy

Once consumed, its energy intake is immediate. This is thanks to sugars, starches and fibers. It is no coincidence that it is considered one of the most efficient fuels for our body.

The result is constant energy and no feeling of a hole in the stomach for many hours. The banana is also very suitable 40-50 minutes after physical activity to restore strength to the muscles thanks to the supply of glycogen.

These fruits, due to their content of minerals and easily digestible carbohydrates, are often described as the best foods for athletes. According to studies, eating bananas can help reduce muscle cramps and exercise-related pain. Currently the reasons why cramps are not fully known but the reasons are believed to be due to dehydration and imbalances electrolytic. ( 1718 )

An American study suggests that banana is an excellent fruit to be consumed before, during and after endurance exercise. ( 19 )

Help Digestion

According to studies,  dietary fiber is associated with many health benefits, one of which also affects digestion. The banana contains 2 types of fiber, pectin and resistant starch. Pectin decreases as the fruit ripens while resistant starch is found in unripe bananas. ( 20 )

Studies suggest that resistant starch is not digested and arrives in the large intestine where it becomes a food source for beneficial bacteria residing in the intestine. ( 212223 )

The fibers present in the banana are fermented by beneficial bacteria and transformed into butyric acid, a fatty acid that promotes digestion. ( 2425 )

A 2013 study even described pectin’s anticancer activity. ( 26 )

Insulin Sensitivity

The insulin resistance is the main cause of type 2 diabetes. There are several studies that have shown that 15-30 g of resistant starch per day can improve insulin sensitivity by 33-50%. This can be achieved in 4 weeks. ( 2728 )

The unripe bananas have a good resistant starch content. Hiring them can therefore improve insulin resistance.

Another study from 2014 instead claims that banana has useful properties to improve blood sugar and lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic subjects. ( 29 )

Glycemia

According to research, both pectin and resistant starch can regulate blood sugar levels after meals and reduce appetite by slowing the emptying of the stomach. ( 3031 )

This fruit also has a low glycemic index. The unripe bananas have a GI equal to 30 while mature ones 60. This means that the banana should not cause sudden increases in blood sugar levels.

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Banana Cake

Ingredients:

4 Bananas, 300 gr. flour, 200 gr. sugar, 200 gr. of butter, three eggs, a sachet of yeast.

Preparation:

Combine flour and sugar and mix, melt the butter and add it to the flour while stirring; add the eggs one by one and finally the yeast mixing everything well. You will get a soft yellowish mixture.

At this point you just have to cut the bananas into slices and add them to the dough.

Once the dough is finished, put it in a buttered cake tin and put in the oven at 170 ° for about half an hour. Enjoy your meal!

Curiosity

Given its multiple benefits  as regards the health aspect, the proverb “one apple a day keeps the doctor away” could be changed and the apple replaced with the banana.

The banana contains a type of amino acid that is converted by our body into serotonin. This compound is able to perform a relaxing action , and make the mood more peaceful. The name of the amino acid is tryptophan.

They are very useful in case of anemia, in fact,  containing a lot of iron, they stimulate the production of hemoglobin in our blood.

Banane: proprietà e benefici

The large amount of potassium present in bananas makes them a perfect food for those with high blood pressure problems. Apparently regular banana consumption can reduce heart attack risk by up to 40%.

The potassium helps normalize the heartbeat and regulates the flow of oxygen to the brain.

The popularity of the banana, thanks to its properties , is undisputed and universal. The banana is among the most consumed foods in the world, right after cereals.

The glycemic value of the unripe fruit is around 30 while the ripe fruit has a glycemic value of around 60. The average value of bananas is 50. This means that these do not cause major spikes in blood sugar.

Maybe not Everyone Knows That

The bananas are also used in diets to treat intestinal disorders. In fact, given its soft conformation, it is strongly recommended for those with stomach problems. It is the only fruit that is able to neutralize acidity and reduce irritation of the walls of the stomach.

It is therefore very easy to replenish the amount of potassium in our body by simply consuming bananas.

The origin of the word banana is uncertain , it is supposed to derive from the Greek word banan which means finger.

The banana appears for the first time in some Buddhist texts of 600 BC.

Perhaps not everyone knows that banana , due to its high potassium content, is slightly radioactive.  This is because potassium, by its nature, contains small amounts of potassium-40.

There are also wild bananas belonging to the Musa genus, which contain many seeds inside them.

The largest banana producing country in the world is India with around 24% of world banana production.

Thanks to the presence of tannins instead, the consumption of bananas can have an astringent effect useful in case of diarrhea.

Banana: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version

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