It is no wonder bananas are the number one selling fruit in Australia, and in the top 10 supermarket sales items. According to Accredited Dietitian Glenn Cardwell, there are 9 brilliant reasons to choose a banana.
Never, put your banana in the refrigerator! Leave it in the fruit bowl to ripen naturally. Also, when you buy bananas, buy a mix of ripe and green bananas so you get a steady flow of ripe bananas. Lovely as they are, you don’t want them all becoming ripe on the same day.
1. Banana Powered Athletes
A banana gives a sustained and substantial boost of energy, which is why they are a favourite choice for cyclists, footballers and other athletes looking for a quick source of carbohydrate. The riper they are, the quicker it is digested and converted to muscle fuel.
2. Antioxidant power
Two recently published research papers confirmed that bananas have significant antioxidant power. One study showed that they reduce the oxidative stress in the blood and reduced the ability of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to be damaging. Another study showed the antioxidant compounds in bananas helped protect nerve cells, which in turn could help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s Disease.
3. Vitamin Power
The banana is the best fruit source of vitamin B6 (one small banana provides more than 25% of daily needs; one big banana provides nearly half of daily needs). B6 helps with the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin and GABA. The banana is also a wonderful source of vitamin C, along with modest amounts of the B group vitamins folate, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
4. Low Glycaemic Index
The average Glycaemic Index of bananas is 52, less for under-ripe bananas as they have a higher starch content and a lower sugar content. A GI of 52 is classified as low, meaning that it doesn’t cause high blood sugar levels. That makes the banana a good fruit choice for people with diabetes.
5. Cancer fighter
Bananas contain lectins, which have been strongly linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer and potentially helpful in the treatment of cancer. Plant lectins are known to resist digestion and enter the blood stream intact. They can affect the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Bananas can help reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Research on 61, 000 Swedish women found that, of all the fruits, bananas gave the greatest protection against renal cancer. Women eating five bananas a week nearly halved their risk of renal cancer.
6. Perfect afternoon pick-me-up
Carbohydrate snacks are very useful for bringing low blood glucose levels back to normal and help avoid the mid-afternoon slump often experienced at work. We can control our blood glucose levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every 2-4 hours to keep levels steady. Healthy carbohydrate snacks are very useful for clear thinking, improved memory and mood. Bananas are ideal, because of their low GI and zero fat level.
7. Healthy Blood Pressure
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium and salt-free, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. Australian and international research shows that a diet high in potassium and low in salt helps to keep blood pressure normal. Less than 10% of the population gets an adequate intake of potassium to reduce their risk of chronic disease, like stroke. That leaves a lot of room for high potassium foods like the banana.
8. Healthy & happy insides
We all know that high fibre foods help keep you regular and prevent constipation. High in fiber, bananas included in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, without resorting to laxatives. A medium banana will provide about 10% of your fibre needs for a day.
9. Weight control
You won’t get fat on a banana because bananas contain no fat. Also, bananas have a high satiety index, that is, they are very filling for the amount of kilojoules they provide.