Bananas are one of the cheapest and most nutritious fruits sold in Nicaragua. Understanding the health benefits of this flavorful fruit will likely give you a new appreciation for this popular dietary staple.
A banana a day…
Instead of eating an apple each day for optimum health, the adage should state that a banana each day keeps the doctor away. The banana is a super food that is readily available in every market and in many backyards in Nicaragua. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also packed full of nutrition.
Compared to apples, bananas have nearly five times the amounts of vitamin A and iron, four times the protein, three times the phosphorus, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. Research has proven that eating just two bananas provides you with enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the fruit preference for top athletes. Let’s take a look at all the minerals and vitamins a banana contains.
The banana contains all the following essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Acid, Choline, and Betaine. The wonder fruit also contains the following minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Zinc, copper, manganese, Selenium, and Fluoride.
By packing in all those nutrients, bananas can help you lower your risk of developing certain health conditions.
Here are just a few of the diseases and ailments that bananas can help you avoid:
- High cholesterol—bananas are high in fiber, so they can help to lower your cholesterol.
- Low blood sugar—bananas contain lots of natural sugars, so if you’re feeling a dip in your blood sugar, grab one for a dose of unrefined glucose.
- PMS—bananas contain several different B vitamins that help ward off the effects of premenstrual syndrome. The B vitamins are important co-factors that help several of your body’s enzymes to carry out the biochemical reactions of metabolism.
- Leg cramps—do you hop out of bed in the middle of the night because of leg cramps? The potassium in bananas can help prevent that from happening.
- Depression and sleeplessness—did you know that bananas contain tryptophan? This protein helps your brain make serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood and sleep patterns.
- Anemia—bananas are high in iron, so they can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood.
- Ulcers—bananas are used as a dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
- Bananas also protect your body’s cells from damage; vitamin C serves several important functions in your body. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, a connective tissue protein found in skin, bones, teeth and tendons. It is also required for the synthesis of a neurotransmitter called nor epinephrine. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage caused by free-radical byproducts of cellular metabolism.
- Bananas are approved by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy snack and may contribute to the prevention of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
- Bananas are high in fiber, which helps to restore and maintain regular bowel functions.
- Bananas are rich in potassium so they help the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps maintain a regular heartbeat and a proper balance of water in the body. Potassium is also helpful for reducing strokes and regulating blood pressure because of the way it promotes circulatory health. In fact, bananas have been proven to be so effective in reducing high levels of blood pressure that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently indicated that the banana industry could legally post official claims that bananas help reduce the risks of stroke and high blood pressure in adults. Eating a banana a day is far cheaper than consuming expensive heart medications down the line.
- Bananas can even help people who are trying to quit smoking. The B6 and B12 vitamins, as well as the potassium and magnesium, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Equally Important: what bananas don’t have
Bananas contain no cholesterol or sodium and have only a tiny bit of fat. The fat they do contain is mostly made up of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so grab a banana whenever you’re looking for something to snack on.
All of these factors combined make the banana a natural “super food” that we should be eating every day. And in Nicaragua, where bananas are so readily available in so many tasty varieties, there is really no excuse not to have a daily dose. So get peeling.
Dr. Hoover N.D. is retired and lives in Granada. You can download a free copy of his book NATURAL MEDICINE from his web site www.cancernaturalcure.com