It’s safe to say that bananas are some of the most popular fruits out there, regardless of where you find yourself in the world. It would, in fact, be odd to enter a supermarket and not see them in their very own section in the fruit aisle, regardless if you’re in the US or in Sweden.
As history indicates, this fruit is so popular due to the resilience it displayed throughout the years as a species. The origins of the bananas is attributed to Southeast Asia somewhere around 7,000-10,000 years ago. Bananas then managed to travel west towards the New World, being taken further by missionaries and explorers. After wheat, rice and milk, bananas are the world’s most valuable crops at the time being.
Considering their long-standing history, it’s understandable how bananas managed to evolve into more than a 1,000 types. It’s important to know that half of these are inedible, but the other half have representatives that can vary tremendously in terms of colors, size and taste. Let’s look at some of the most popular banana types out there, in order to better recognize them:
Plantains – these bananas are pretty popular and easy recognizable due to their slightly smaller size. They are rich in starch and people don’t usually consume them raw, but actually prefer including them in certain dishes.
Cavendish Bananas – these are truly global bananas, since you can find them basically anywhere in the world. Duke George William Spencer Cavendish gave these bananas his name in 1834 and it lasted throughout the years.
Lady Finger Bananas – these are otherwise known as ‘baby bananas’, measuring at about three inches – they are smaller and sweeter than Cavendish bananas.
Manzano Bananas – these bananas are also sweeter than the Cavendish variety, with a taste that resembles both apples and strawberries at the same time.
Red Bananas – their reddish-purple skin gives them this name and the taste is similar to that of raspberries.
Burro Bananas – this type of bananas is different from all the rest, since the taste is rather lemony. They are flatter and smaller than your run-of-the-mill Cavendish bananas.
Banana Nutrition Facts
Bananas are some of nature’s superfruits and this is because they’re extremely nutritious and packed with a rich combination of minerals and vitamins that will further support your body reach an increased state of well-being. Let’s take a closer look at what nutritional value a typical banana actually brings to the table. Having said this, it’s important to know that one medium-sized banana (100 g) contains:
- 75% water – this is what makes bananas extremely beneficial for athletes and those looking to undergo sustained physical exercise.
- 12.2 grams of sugar – this kind of sugar also adds to the energy levels needed in athletic performance.
- 22.8 grams of carbs – during physical exercise, your muscles use glycogen as fuel. This is another type of carbohydrate, so having a diet that’s rich in healthy carbohydrates and, implicitly, eating bananas will give you more endurance to support your body during workouts. However it’s recommended that you eat a banana about an hour before you start exercising in order for the body to do its proper digestion.
- 2.6 grams of fiber – fiber is essential for the body in that it regulates gastrointestinal processes. This means you’ll have smoother bowel movements, while also getting a feeling of satiety. This in turn will prevent you from needing anything else to snack on, which may help you regulate your weight as well.
- 0.3 grams of fat – considering how little fat a banana has, it’s safe to say it’s a light and nutritious snack that can easily replace other more health-damaging ones.
33% of the DRV (Daily Recommended Value) of Vitamin B6 – this vitamin plays a tremendous part in regulating the mood, as well as reducing symptoms of depression. Vitamin B6 may also prevent anemia and promote brain health.
- Vitamin C – this vitamin is the building block behind all tissues in the body. This means it helps with the growth, development and repair process of all tissues. Vitamin C is also responsible for building collagen, properly healing wounds, supporting the immune system, while also maintaining the health of cartilages, bones and teeth.
- Vitamin A – when it comes to eye health, vitamin A steals all the limelight. This vitamin plays a crucial role in protecting the eyes from age-related macular decline, while also supporting the overall health of the immune system.
- Potassium – the potassium in bananas is what truly makes them an athlete’s best friend, easily being able to substitute power drinks. Potassium helps regulate nerve signals, muscle contractions and fluid levels in the body.
- Magnesium – another mineral that helps in regulating the mood and staving off depression, magnesium also lowers blood pressure and reduces insulin resistance. It can also help prevent migraines, so regularly eating a banana will keep you away from a lot of unpleasant mental and physical situations.
- Copper – in conjecture with iron, this mineral supports the body in forming its essential red blood cells. A sufficient intake of copper may also help you prevent cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.
- Iron – this mineral is great with helping your body preserve its energy levels and focus. It also plays an important part in regulating the body’s temperature and the gastrointestinal processes. Iron usually takes an undercover role in our bodies and we only start noticing its importance when it’s lacking – causing anemia to ensue.
- Manganese – this mineral will help decrease inflammation in the body, while also supporting bone health and regulating blood sugar levels.
- Antioxidants – apart from all the minerals and vitamins, bananas also contain a good amount of antioxidants. These are meant to fight off the toxic influence of free radicals in the body – compounds brought on by pollution, smoking and drinking alcohol. A scientific article, Antioxidant compounds from bananas (Musa Cavendish), describes how gallotechin is the most prominent antioxidant found in bananas.
As you can see, bananas are true powerhouses that bring tremendous nutritional value, while also being light snacks you can indulge one pretty freely. Apart from the minerals and vitamins they contain, bananas are also very powerful antioxidant fruits that will help you fight off the body’s natural aging process, often accelerated by the harmful action of free radicals.
There is much to be said about banana nutrition facts. Below you will find a list of banana facts or facts about bananas. A disease or symptom is listed and then a description of a banana nutrition fact follows. Antioxidant-fruits.com is looking for information on the history of bananas. If you have any information, please contact us.
Depression: Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin helps you relax and improves your mood. By including bananas in your regular diet, you may in fact notice a slight decrease in your depression or anxiety symptoms or simply a steady flow of emotions every day. This of course, should not substitute more powerful aids in fighting depression – for more information on this condition, you may want to consult a physician before solely relying on the positive mental health benefits of bananas.
PMS: Bananas have a lot of B6, which helps to regulate blood glucose levels which affect mood.
Anemia: Bananas are high in iron and stimulate hemoglobin production, therefore they help with anemia. The iron content found in bananas stimulates the production of haemoglobin in the blood, which is extremely effective when you’re struggling with the pestering effects of anemia. Of course, letting the body naturally absorb the iron contained in bananas is much more effective than simply taking iron supplements from the pharmacy.
Blood Pressure: US Food and Drug Administration just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist in learning by making students more alert.
Constipation: Since bananas are high in fiber, they help to overcome constipation. Therefore, helping the person without resorting to laxatives.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas are a natural antacid as they coat the stomach lining.
Morning Sickness: Bananas between meals help to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: If you rub the affected area with the inside of a banana skin, the banana peel with help reduce swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Ulcers: Bananas are used as a dietary aid against intestinal disorders because of their soft texture and smoothness.
Temperature control: Bananas lower the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking & Tobacco Use: The B6, B12, potassium and magnesium in bananas help the body recover from effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: The potassium found in bananas helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance.
Warts: If you take the skin of a banana and place it on a wart, with the yellow side out, it will help get rid of the wart. Be sure to carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Bananas?
Thankfully there are more ways than one to benefit from all the health benefits bananas have to offer. They are such versatile fruits that you can really become creative when finding ways on how to consume them:
- Raw as snacks – pack them in your bag or backpack and take them everywhere with you throughout your day. They will help you feel less hungry and will provide you with extra energy to carry through with all the tasks you have on your hands.
- Include them in your breakfast – mix them in your yogurt together with granola and other fruits.
- Smoothies – turn your bananas into delicious, refreshing and nutritious drinks.
- Bake them into delicious goodies – banana bread, banana muffins, banana ice cream, banana fairy cakes and microwave banana pudding. If you feel creative, try your hand at one of the many banana recipes out there.
Storing Your Bananas
Bananas are not among the most perishable of fruits out there, but it’s still recommended that you store them properly in order to enjoy them for as long as possible. If your bananas are not ripe yet and still show greener hues, you can easily leave them on the counter for a couple of days more. The room temperature needs to be relatively warm, since bananas don’t do well in cold temperatures and thrive in warmer ones instead.
If you leave them in a bunch, they will ripen a bit slower. In order to keep them from ripening too fast, you can wrap the bananas stems in plastic foil. This is because bananas get more ripe when more ethylene gas is released through the stems. Storing bananas in the refrigerator is only recommended when these fruits are ripe. If they’re green, the cold temperature will prevent them from ripening any further.
When all is said and done, it’s safe to say bananas have rightly earned their right in the world. They are extremely nutritious, very easy to integrate in your daily diet and really accessible, since you can find them basically anywhere you are in the world. Make sure to include them in your lifestyle and you’ll notice how easily and quickly they start contributing to both your physical and mental well-being. Portable, easy to pack away and simply delicious.
Do you have more banana facts? If so, please share any banana nutrition facts with us!.
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