Bananas aren’t only for monkeys. In truth, amongst people, they’re one of the in style fruits on the earth — and for a superb purpose. They’re scrumptious, cheap, and they even are available in their very own handy packaging.

But is that this scrumptious fruit good for you? Are they sustainable? And are there any downsides to this beloved fruit, aside from the hazard of slipping and falling on a peel? And what are a number of the finest methods to take pleasure in bananas?

History of Bananas

Bananas are the fruit of the Musa acuminata plant. The phrase “acuminata” means tapering or long-pointed and refers back to the flowers, not the fruit itself. Before the banana was referred to as the banana, across the 17th century, it was named “banema” in Guinea.

Bananas initially got here from the Indo-Malaysian area, stretching all the way down to northern Australia. Historians guess that folks began spreading the surprise of edible bananas within the Mediterranean area within the third century, B.C. It wasn’t till the 10th century, A.D., that bananas are presumed to have first arrived in Europe and started their unfold across the globe.

Today, bananas and plantains — quite a lot of banana that comprises much less sugar and a considerable amount of starch, and that are edible solely after cooking — are grown in each tropical area. They are the biggest fruit crop on the earth.

And though most of us are solely aware of “regular” yellow bananas we discover on the grocery retailer, there are literally a whole lot of types of this fruit. There are apple bananas, crimson bananas, orange bananas, silk bananas, and many extra. But most of us don’t get the good thing about all this variety. Nearly all of the bananas you’re prone to discover at your native retailer are literally clones of 1 single cultivar, generally known as the Cavendish banana.

The yellow bananas most of us have identified and liked are literally a mutant pressure of plantains. They have been unintentionally found by a Jamaican chef named Jean Francois Poujot in 1836, who started cultivating the candy yellow bananas after discovering one among his plantain varieties had mutated.

Banana Nutrition

senior man eating banana in weight room
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Bananas are stuffed with vitamins. They’re particularly excessive in nutritional vitamins and minerals comparable to potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

They are additionally a superb supply of fiber, a nutrient that most individuals lack of their weight loss program.

An common medium-sized banana has the next dietary profile:

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Total Fat: zero grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Fiber: three grams
  • Vitamin C: 13% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 22% of the DV
  • Potassium: 12% of the DV
  • Manganese: 16% of the DV
  • Magnesium: eight% of the DV

An common banana additionally comprises round 14 grams of sugar. However, it’s necessary to notice that these are pure sugars, not added sugars like these present in baked items and packaged snack meals. Because fruit sugars are sure up in fibrous cell partitions and include water, in order that they don’t have the identical blood glucose degree affect that processed sugars do. And along with these 14 grams of pure sugars, a mean banana additionally gives six grams of fiber, which helps stop spikes in your blood sugar if you eat it.

6 Health Benefits of Bananas

father feeding boy with banana
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Bananas have been the topic of many research evaluating their potential well being advantages — notably research wanting on the minerals of which they’re a wealthy supply. Some of probably the most well-researched potential advantages of bananas embody:

1. May be protecting for coronary heart well being.

A big physique of analysis tells us that low ranges of potassium in your physique have a robust correlation to the chance of upper blood strain. But the excellent news is that getting sufficient potassium — by consuming potassium-rich meals — may help preserve your blood strain at wholesome ranges. Potassium might also defend blood vessels from thickening and turning into broken from atherosclerosis. And bananas are one of the potassium-rich meals within the human weight loss program.

They are additionally a superb supply of magnesium, a mineral identified to play a task in coronary heart well being. Research signifies that magnesium deficiency correlates with hypertension and excessive ranges of blood fat, for instance.

You’ll additionally discover antioxidants like catechins and dopamine in bananas, which have been studied for his or her potential to decrease coronary heart illness danger.

2. May assist temper steadiness and restful sleep.

Research suggests weight loss program wealthy in potassium-containing meals (like bananas) could enable you to sleep higher. A 2018 examine printed in Hypertension Research discovered that people who had much less potassium of their blood skilled sleep patterns that have been extra disturbed and much less restful.

Bananas additionally include tryptophan, an amino acid and pure sedative that converts to serotonin, a sleep-promoting neurotransmitter. Similarly, a 2013 examine discovered that tropical fruits, together with bananas, elevated melatonin ranges — a sleep-promoting hormone.

This fruit can be considerable in magnesium and vitamin B6, which might each assist in calming your thoughts and selling restful sleep. Between the potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, melatonin, and B6 in bananas, there’s good purpose to consider they may help you take pleasure in a superb night time’s sleep.

three. May promote wholesome digestion.

A 2011 examine performed amongst 34 chubby however in any other case wholesome ladies, discovered that incorporating bananas every day might enhance gastrointestinal well being. The ladies have been divided into three teams through which they acquired both one banana, one banana-flavored drink, or one cup of water within the management group. The members assigned to the banana group skilled considerably much less bloating and barely elevated ranges of bifidobacteria — “good” micro organism in your intestine which can be typically utilized in probiotics — of their stool.

Furthermore, bananas include two essential sorts of fiber: pectin and resistant starch. While starch is most concentrated in inexperienced and unripe bananas, pectin will increase as bananas ripen. Some analysis signifies that pectin could also be protecting on the subject of colon most cancers, and that resistant starch helps to feed the “good” micro organism in your intestine.

four. May assist assist wholesome weight reduction and upkeep.

While there aren’t loads of research on the connection between banana consumption and weight reduction, they do supply traits which can be identified to assist a wholesome weight.

Bananas are low in energy, coming in at round 100 energy on common. They’re excessive in fiber, a nutrient that helps you are feeling fuller longer between meals and could assist stop overeating. The resistant starch in bananas could particularly assist maintain your urge for food at bay. And, as you’ll have found if you happen to’ve ever blended or mashed a banana and seen its quantity lower considerably, bananas truly include loads of air, which can additionally stimulate that “full” feeling.

5. May assist wholesome bones.

Evidence reveals that potassium-rich diets can have protecting results on bone well being. Although the precise purpose for that is nonetheless up for debate, many researchers assume it’s as a result of potassium prevents calcium resorption.

6. May have anticancer properties.

Bananas are a wealthy supply of lectins, carbohydrate-binding proteins which were studied for his or her potential potential to kill most cancers cells. (There are just a few authors in the present day who warn in opposition to lectins, however such warnings are largely misguided.)

One examine printed within the journal Molecules in 2014 particularly examined lectins in bananas. The authors reported that lectins have the potential for suppressing most cancers cell proliferation.

Potential Downsides to Eating Bananas

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While bananas have loads of potential advantages to supply, there are additionally just a few downsides to concentrate on.

Health:

When it involves your well being, there are a few issues to concentrate on on the subject of answering the query: “are bananas good for you?”

  • Just a few individuals report experiencing complications after consuming loads of bananas. Keep in thoughts that these have been self-reported and not from medical research. However, it might be associated to a compound referred to as tyramine, derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Anecdotally, the hyperlink between consuming bananas and experiencing complications appears to be extra frequent amongst people who find themselves liable to complications and migraines on the whole.
  • Extreme overconsumption of this fruit might improve your danger for hyperkalemia — or extreme blood potassium ranges. One case examine noticed a person with hyperkalemia on account of consuming 20 bananas per day. But until you repeatedly sit all the way down to 20 bananas at a sitting, this seemingly isn’t a serious concern for you.
  • Also, due to their excessive sugar content material, bananas can contribute to tooth decay. So be sure you follow good dental hygiene after consuming one.

The backside line: As with all issues, hearken to your individual physique. One or two bananas every day is okay in your potassium ranges. And if bananas provide you with complications, you may wish to reduce down or get rid of them out of your weight loss program.

Environmental Impact:

Large-scale business banana manufacturing impacts the surroundings in some regarding methods, together with:

  • Like a lot of recent agriculture, a majority of the world’s banana harvest comes from large-scale monoculture farming operations. Growing a single crop over an extended interval depletes the soil. And monocropped soil tends to endure extra agricultural contamination, as the identical fertilizers and chemical compounds are added to it, 12 months after 12 months, resulting in accumulation of heavy metals, nitrates, and salts, which can even decrease the soil’s potential to assist crops battle off pests or face up to blight.
  • Bananas are sometimes sprayed with giant quantities of pesticides. In truth, some banana farms obtain almost 60 pesticide purposes yearly. This will not be solely a priority for shoppers but in addition the encircling surroundings and ecosystems which can be negatively impacted.
  • Between 1968 and 2017, world banana manufacturing grew from 28.eight million to 113 million tons. As shoppers purchase extra bananas, there’s a hazard that rainforests and different delicate ecosystems could also be destroyed as a way to create extra land on which to develop them. India and China each doubled their land use for banana harvesting between 2000 and 2015.

The backside line: Get natural bananas every time attainable as a result of natural banana farming avoids using artificial pesticides and tends to be extra sustainable.

Social Impact:

There are additionally some social and financial issues to make when consuming bananas:

  • Workers within the banana trade are chronically underpaid, elevating an necessary moral subject for shoppers.
  • Child labor — outlined by working situations which can be prone to negatively have an effect on a toddler’s bodily and psychological well being, social situations, and schooling — is widespread within the banana trade. Children who work within the banana trade, typically as younger as eight years previous, are ceaselessly uncovered to pesticides, paid minimally, and robbed of the chance to achieve the schooling they should pull their households out of intergenerational poverty.
  • Many staff within the banana trade in creating international locations, 43% of whom are females, report office harassment. Female staff on this trade additionally expertise decrease pay and much less job stability than males doing the identical jobs.

The backside line: Get fairtrade bananas every time you possibly can. Bananas carrying this mark have are produced in methods and places that meet social, environmental, and financial requirements that assist staff’ rights and contribute to a wholesome, moral, and sustainable world.

How to Store Bananas Properly

bananas in bowl on kitchen counter
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Even although bananas include their very own handy packaging, there are nonetheless sure situations through which they’re finest saved.

Here are some issues to bear in mind if you convey your bananas house:

  • If you’ve gotten greater than you possibly can eat earlier than they get overripe, reduce and freeze them in an hermetic bag (comparable to these silicone ones) for later use in smoothies or desserts like do-it-yourself ice cream.
  • For further ease of use later, you possibly can peel, reduce, and freeze the banana chunks on a tray coated with parchment paper, and then toss them right into a freezer bag as soon as they’re frozen. That approach, you don’t find yourself with an enormous lump of frozen banana that requires a crowbar to separate.
  • When you purchase a bunch of bananas, the entire bunch tends to ripen at precisely the identical time. Store a number of bunches in numerous rooms, ideally with totally different temperatures, as hotter temperatures make them ripen sooner. If you solely purchase one bunch at a time, you possibly can separate them into single bananas. Just don’t cowl them with mail or neglect the place you saved them.
  • Bananas launch ethylene fuel, which makes different fruits ripen extra shortly. Keep them away from different fruit until you’re in a rush to ripen them. To sluggish bananas from ripening, you possibly can place them in a preserving field or bag (like this one). These sorts of containers maintain oxygen out, whereas offering the correct amount of insulation, and management the discharge of ethylene fuel to maintain bananas yellow for so long as attainable.
  • To velocity the ripening of bananas, you possibly can place them in a paper bag.
  • Unless you’re freezing them, you may not wish to put bananas within the fridge or expose them to chilly, as a result of chilly breaks down the cell partitions of a banana’s peel, and turns them black.
  • If you’ve already peeled your bananas and must retailer them within the fridge, dip them in lemon juice to assist protect them longer and maintain them from browning.
  • Use a banana hanger to show an entire bunch of bananas at a jaunty angle, and to assist wholesome air circulation.

Creative Ways to Enjoy Bananas

antioxidant berry smoothie bowl
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Did which you could truly eat bananas of their entirety — together with the peel?

As it seems, the banana peel is wealthy in vitamins like potassium, fiber, important amino acids, polyunsaturated fat, and antioxidants. But remember the fact that many business bananas are contaminated with giant quantities of pesticides, so if you happen to plan to eat banana peel, this can be a excellent purpose to ensure it’s natural.

Here are some enjoyable and other ways to eat bananas that may be pleasurable for the entire household:

  • In baked items, like muffins, bread, and even truffles
  • In curries (e.g., Indian, Tanzanian, Caribbean) which have a sweeter style
  • In frozen desserts, like “n’ice cream” or entire with the ends dipped in darkish chocolate
  • Sliced on oatmeal alongside different wholesome toppers, like berries, nuts, raisins, seeds, or unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Sliced and stacked on a scrumptious nut butter and banana sandwich
  • Made into “banana boats” by slicing them lengthwise in half, slathering with nut butter, and sprinkling with chia, hemp, or flax seeds. Kids (and adults who was once youngsters) love this scrumptious and tasty snack.
  • In smoothies, both as frozen chunks or entire room temperature bananas

If you select to eat the banana peel, make sure you wash it first and take away the stem. You can throw it into smoothies or eat it uncooked if you happen to like. Some individuals take pleasure in boiled banana peels.

Healthy Banana Recipes to Try

Here are some recipes that use bananas in inventive methods:

Chocolate Crepes with Banana by ElaVegan

Yum! This simple recipe rolls entire bananas in a tasty chocolate crepe drizzled with a peanut butter unfold that’s excellent as a snack, breakfast, or perhaps a dessert.

creamy chocolate breakfast shake

Creamy Chocolate Breakfast Shake by Minimalist Baker

Smoothies are incredible automobiles for diet, and this recipe is not any totally different. It combines bananas, strawberries, and spinach with almond milk, almond butter, and flaxseed meal, leading to a creamy and satisfying drink.

flourless peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies by Running on Real Food

Did mashed bananas can substitute eggs in baked items like cookies? This recipe is much more spectacular in that it solely requires bananas, oats, and peanut butter, with some tasty add-ins for extra taste and texture.

fruit salad kabob

Fruit Salad Kabobs by The Vegan eight

Sometimes presenting fruit in a inventive approach could make all of the distinction. This recipe layers sliced bananas with different scrumptious fruit to make kabobs with a tasty chocolate sunflower dip.

One-Dish Caribbean Coconut And Banana Curry Traybake by Sneaky Veg

Bananas additionally work effectively in additional savory dishes and entrees, like this one-dish meal alongside coconut milk, chickpeas, squash, and smoky seasonings.

banana peel bacon

Banana Peel Bacon by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

You could have heard of plant-based bacon constructed from tempeh or seitan, however what about banana peels? This is an intriguing recipe that flavors the peels with soy sauce, maple syrup, paprika, and garlic.

So are Bananas Good for You?

Bananas are, for sure, one of the well-known and broadly consumed fruits world wide. Not solely are they nutritious, however consuming them seems to be good in your coronary heart, your digestive system, your waistline, and even your sleep patterns. But business banana plantations aren’t identified for treating staff effectively and are sometimes excessive in pesticide contamination and unhealthy for the surroundings. So if you happen to’re going to take pleasure in bananas, honest commerce and organically grown are particularly necessary. And bananas can be utilized in some inventive and enjoyable methods, in the whole lot from smoothies to desserts to savory entrees — peel and all!

Tell us within the feedback:

  • Do you eat bananas? Why or why not?
  • What’s your favourite solution to eat bananas?

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