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This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Mercola is required. There are many reasons why bananas are one of the most popular foods in the world: They offer the perfect portion size, come in their own handy, natural protective wrap and are extremely economical. Bananas are among the most important crops and most cultivated tropical fruits worldwide.
Fresh and creamy, bananas go well with other fruits and are a favorite lunchtime addition or for noshing on the go. Read on to learn more about the benefits of bananas to your health. Over centuries, bananas have been used to help stimulate brainpower and relieve a variety of health issues, including upset stomach, stress, acidity, constipation and premenstrual symptoms. For one, bananas contain health-promoting flavonoids and phenolics such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, 5 all of which act as free radical-fighting antioxidants.
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A gram serving of raw banana contains milligrams of potassium, 8 a mineral that may help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. Check out the table below: Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Research showed that among fruits and vegetables proven to be associated with cutting your risk of renal cell carcinoma, bananas were the highest. Bananas come in different sizes, colors and shapes, depending on how ripe they are, so choosing the best ones can be tricky.
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that you pick out the right banana that suits your taste: 15 , If you bought a bunch of bananas and want to eat them over the course of a week, you should store them in the freezer to keep them from becoming overripe and to maintain the color of their skin. If you simply refrigerate them, their skin will turn brown.
You should also keep them away from other fruits, as they will ripen quickly with other fruits around.
Why You Should Eat a Banana Every Single Day
Bananas were introduced to Europe by Portuguese sailors who brought them from West Africa. But while they thrived in Africa, the original bananas were actually believed to be native to East Asia and Oceania. Bananas provide a long list of health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, fiber, flavonoids, and vitamins A, C and B6. There are many ways to incorporate this fruit into your diet — you can eat it as is, bake it into a dessert or even dehydrate it to be eaten along with trail mix.
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Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol , and sodium. Fresh bananas are available year-round. Unlike other fruits, the ripening process of bananas does not slow down after they are picked. Bananas should be stored at room temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster bananas will ripen. However, to slow ripening, bananas should be refrigerated. The outer peel of the banana will darken but the banana itself will stay intact longer. To encourage faster ripening, place the banana in a brown paper bag at room temperature. In , a popular diet fad known as the Morning Banana Diet recommended eating a banana in the morning along with water, eating a normal lunch and having dinner before 8pm.
Like apple sauce, ripe mashed bananas can be used in baked goods to replace oil or butter. Mashed bananas lend a moist, naturally sweet flavor to muffins, cookies and cakes. Add sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal, or take a banana with you on your way to work or school for a healthy, portable snack. Beta-blockers , a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as bananas should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.
Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.
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Examples include certain beta-blockers such as Labetalol, medications that work by blocking the actions of the hormone aldosterone such as Lisinopril and Losartan, and certain diuretics like Spironolactone and Eplerenone. This is a partial list only, and you should consult with your doctor if potassium levels become a concern.
Some people may have an allergy to bananas. If anyone with a banana allergy eats a banana, they may experience symptoms in the mouth and throat such as itching, hives , swelling and wheezing. Bananas may trigger migraines in some people. People who often experience migraine headaches are advised to eat no more than half a banana daily.
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Bananas also contain a lot of fiber. Eating too much fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. If you're wondering what foods you should be including in your diet, look no further. We cover an A to Z of popular healthy food items. The human body requires at least milligrams of potassium daily to support key functions. Among its many uses, potassium helps to regulate the…. We examine the papaya fruit, including a look at some of the health conditions it might help, such as diabetes, heart disease, and skin and hair….
A banana allergy occurs when a person's immune system reacts to a protein in bananas, causing a variety of symptoms.
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These can range from a rash to…. The humble potato has dropped in popularity recently as people switch to low-carb diets. But potatoes are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and…. Benefits Potassium Nutrition Diet Risks If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Fast facts about bananas Bananas are rich in potassium and fiber. They may help prevent asthma , cancer , high blood pressure , diabetes , cardiovascular disease, and digestive problems.
Ripen bananas at room temperature and add them to cereal for a tasty breakfast. People who use beta blockers should not suddenly increase their intake of bananas.