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We’ll admit it: It’s kind of bananas to think just how good for us fruit really is.
But there’s one curvy yellow culprit in particular that stacks up so many health benefits it’s truly crazy.
That’s right, we’re talking about the banana!
Everyone knows the tropical fruit is loaded with flavor – but it’s equally bursting with the types of nutrients that help power nearly every part of our bodies, including:
Many people know that bananas are powerhouses of potassium, but what does the mineral actually do?
Technically speaking, it acts as an electrolyte, which means it helps keep things in our electricity-conducting nervous system in balance—and that’s especially good news for our muscles, which use these electrical impulses to actually move.
Yet another helpful mineral bananas have in abundance, magnesium is particularly important for helping the enzymes in our body do their thing.
What does that mean?
Essentially, if it requires a chemical reaction to occur, an enzyme makes that happen—so helpful magnesium shows up nearly everywhere, from muscle movement and energy creation to gene maintenance.
Not just for pennies!
This all-important mineral plays a crucial role in a number of bodily functions, from helping conduct electricity through our bodies to bolstering our blood vessels. Though arguably, copper’s biggest claim to fame is the help it offers with our brain development.
Also known as pyridoxine, this water-soluble vitamin is a big part of metabolism, as well as the creation and maintenance of red blood cells and neurotransmitters.
Better yet? Our bodies can’t create it, so eating a banana is a great way to give yourself what you really need.
A classic powerhouse vitamin, vitamin C is part antioxidant—protecting our cells from damage-causing free radicals—part natural beauty elixir dream, with roles in keeping our hair and skin healthy.
For what it’s worth, the vitamin also helps out our teeth, bones and blood vessels – among others!
You may have heard of this famous chemical as the mood-altering “happy drug.”
And while dopamine is capable of lifting our moods, when consumed through a banana, the neurotransmitter actually acts more as a protective antioxidant.
What They Do
And that’s just a short list of the numerous wonder-compounds inside a banana!
All told, the fruit is truly greater than the sum of its parts, with its epically healthful combination helping our bodies in a number of ways, including:
Blood Sugar Balance
This is thanks to yet another natural ingredient bananas have been blessed with: Pectin.
The soluble fiber balances out the sugar in the fruit, giving it a helpfully low rank on the glycemic index – which means that bananas are good at slowly and steadily releasing their sugars into the bloodstream.
Plus, bananas are loaded with something called resistant starch, which has been found to help increase insulin sensitivity.
Score another win for pectin – and the rest of the fiber found in bananas.
All together, the substances help bananas go extra easy on our stomachs. That’s because soluble fiber technically skips through the digestive process in our stomachs, immediately landing instead in our small intestines, where they go on to feed our good gut bacteria.
This is a particularly potent side-effect of a bananas’ healthy serving of potassium.
The electrolyte has been found to help keep our blood pressure in check, which is essential for heart health and warding off heart disease. And potassium’s reputation with helping our muscles move includes our hearts, with the mineral playing a key role in keeping things in rhythm.
Is there nothing potassium can’t do? (Probably not!)
As it turns out, the mineral also plays a key role in keeping our kidneys functioning—and the regular intake of the electrolyte through a banana-heavy diet has shown in some studies to cut the likelihood of developing kidney disease by up to as much as 50%!
The Perfect Pre- (Or Post!)-Workout Snack
Perhaps the culmination of all the helpful vitamins, nutrients and minerals in bananas is its ability to help in our fitness routines.
Before a workout, a banana provides plenty of starchy carbs to burn for energy – and won’t feel too heavy on your stomach. Afterwords, the combination of potassium and other electrolytes and minerals can help get ahead of the problem of muscle cramps.
What That Means
Essentially, you really can’t do much better than the banana. It’s delicious, it’s really good for you, and it even comes in its own carrying case!
But the snack may be an especially helpful bite if you’re worried about blood sugar or blood pressure levels, or if you’re experiencing digestive issues.
Still, you don’t really need to be worried about anything to enjoy all the tasty benefits of this tropical treat.