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Banana : discover the 5 most amazing benefits

 Bananas are grown in many regions of the world (Australia, Bangladesh, West and Central Africa, Mexico, Asian countries Colombia ...), the banana is the most consumed tropical fruit. Nutritious and highly energetic, it is the favorite fruit of all athletes. But do you really know all the benefits of bananas?.

banana nutrition

It stimulates bowel movement

Bananas are a good source of dietary fiber, a 100g serving contains nearly 2.6g of fibre, slightly more than an apple (2.4g). Its good fiber content makes it an ally of choice for improving intestinal transit.

 Dietary fibre, non-starch polysaccharides capable of resisting digestion in the small intestine, comes mainly from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Their main role is to increase the volume of the stools and modify their consistency, that is to say soften them, in order to promote their journey through the colon. Fibers are essential for the proper functioning of intestinal transit and a deficiency can quickly lead to digestive disorders such as constipation or diarrhea. Another advantage, the natural antacid effect of bananas would help relieve heartburn.

Several studies conducted in Bangladesh have found that eating bananas helps with symptoms of both acute and chronic diarrhea. In infants, consumption of plantains cooked and combined with a little rice helps cure diarrhea. Older children with acute or chronic diarrhea should eat fresh, unripe bananas instead.

 Another study conducted on rats showed that certain banana varieties, especially those grown in Thailand, would have a protective effect against stomach ulcers. By stimulating the production of mucus, a layer that protects the stomach lining against the aggressiveness of digestive juices, bananas play a role in the prevention and treatment of ulcers.

Banana nutritional value

Bananas are rich in vitamin C, and regular consumption of bananas helps fight infections and helps strengthen the immune system.

 A 150-gram banana contains approximately 13.2 mg of vitamin C, or approximately 15% of the RDA (75 mg for women and 90 mg for men 2).

 Vitamin C is essential for the proper functioning of the body: in addition to its antioxidant properties, it promotes healthy bones, skin, teeth and gums, speeds up the wound healing process and increases iron absorption from plants.

 This tropical fruit is also a good source of iron (0.39 mg per 150 grams). It helps fight iron deficiency anemia by stimulating the production of hemoglobin in the blood (= the pigment in red blood cells that allows oxygen and carbon dioxide to be transported).

Thanks to its good vitamin C and iron content, bananas would contribute to general good health and help keep in shape with regular consumption and as part of a balanced diet.

The banana in the prevention of certain cancers

All fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants (the most important of which are flavonoids, selenium, carotenoids, vitamin E and vitamin C), molecules that protect the cells of the body from the influence of free radicals.

 Bananas are no exception to the rule, they have a powerful antioxidant power. The total antioxidant capacity of a food is measured using the TAC index expressed in micromoles (µmol). The higher the TAC index, the higher the antioxidant power: for example, a food with a TAC index of 500 to 999 μl is considered a moderately antioxidant, 1,000 to 1999 μl is a very strong antioxidant and from 2,000 to 14000 μl is a very strong antioxidant. A banana weighing about 120 grams has a TAC index of 1037 μmol 1, making it among the foods that are high in antioxidants.

 Regular consumption of bananas helps fight free radicals and unstable chemical molecules that cause many diseases, especially cancers. For example, according to a prospective study conducted in Switzerland over a period of more than 13 years among 61,000 women between the ages of 40 and 76, regular consumption of fruits would significantly reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer.

 Among the many fruits studied, bananas proved particularly effective in preventing this type of cancer: all women who ate bananas regularly and in large quantities had a lower risk of developing kidney cancer than those who did not.

In another control study conducted in Uruguay and published in 1996, the strongest relationship between high consumption and reduced risk of colorectal cancer was observed in bananas.

Against high blood pressure

Bananas are one of the richest fruits in potassium, a mineral essential for the functioning of the body.

 It contains nearly 411 mg per 100g, which makes it an excellent ally for preventing and treating high blood pressure. Many epidemiological studies have clearly established a link between insufficient potassium intake and increased blood pressure.

 Conversely, a diet that meets the recommended daily intake of potassium (between 4 and 5 g/day) helps to prevent and fight against high blood pressure, a hyperpressure of the blood exerted against the walls of the arteries. In the long term, high blood pressure considerably increases the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, it is also the leading cause of cardiovascular disease in the world (51% of deaths due to stroke and 45% of those caused by coronary heart disease are attributable to hypertension).

 A recent meta-analysis conducted by WHO researchers confirms the results of previous studies: an increase in potassium intake lowers blood pressure by 3.49 mmHg for systolic pressure and 1.96 mmHg for diastolic pressure in people with hypertension. By acting on high blood pressure, a higher potassium intake reduces the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. High banana consumption, combined with a diet low in salt and saturated fat, would reduce the risk of stroke by 24%.


Good to know

Potassium plays a major role in muscle contraction, which means that it participates in the regulation of heartbeats. Thus, a high consumption of bananas, rich in potassium, would improve cardiovascular function and protect the heart.

Banana to improve mood

Thanks to its good content of vitamin B6 (0.4 mg per 100g) and magnesium (33 mg per 100g), bananas improve mood and general well-being.

 Magnesium provides energy to the body and promotes the transmission of nerve impulses. This mineral also plays an essential role in mental and emotional balance, the recommended daily intake is 400 to 500 mg per day.

 For its part, vitamin B6, also called "pyridoxine", stimulates the production of certain neurotransmitters of the central nervous system, hormones involved in the regulation of mood, such as dopamine and serotonin. Considered as the “pleasure hormone” or the “happiness neurotransmitter”, dopamine is linked to the reward circuit while serotonin has the property of acting as an antidepressant.

 It is also known to be a good natural relaxant. The soothing effects provided by bananas are also explained by the presence of tryptophan in the fruit, an amino acid essential for the production of serotonin. A recent study has shown that a diet rich in tryptophan, combined with an adequate intake of vitamin B6, promotes the production of serotonin and reduces the symptoms of depression.

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