Eat Your Bananas!

May 11, 2011

Bananas are one of America's favorite fruits. We love them on cereal or over yogurt, in smoothies or straight from the peel! They are also amazingly healthy for you! The average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and a mere 1 mg of sodium, making bananas one of our best sources of potassium. That banana also contains 11% of the RDA for dietary fiber, all that in approximately 108 calories! Potassium is an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function, while the fiber in bananas keeps digestion regular and helps to maintain low blood sugar while curbing overeating. Look at the benefits:
    Helps Lower Blood Pressure: Researchers at the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India have reported that blood pressure fell by 10% in people who ate two bananas daily for a week. Other studies have shown that the high amounts of potassium in bananas (over 13% of the RDA) can lower one's blood pressure, which in turn lessens the possibility of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
      Maintains Bone Health: Along with lowering blood pressure, potassium helps maintain bone strength. The American diet, particularly one dependent upon prepared foods, is high in sodium content, which can cause calcium loss. Calcium deprivation saps the strength and health of bones and negatively affects muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nervous system functions. Potassium negates high amounts of sodium in the diet, helping maintain healthy amounts of calcium.
      Spurs Nutrient Absorption: Bananas also contain high levels of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) that also promotes calcium absorption and nourishes healthy bacteria that manufacture vitamins and digestive enzymes, boosting the body's overall ability to absorb nutrients. As a top source of prebiotic fiber, bananas aid in iron absorption. A Cornell University study showed that potassium increased iron absorption by 28%! Supports Digestive System: Eating easily digestible foods such as bananas will ease the strain on the digestive system as well as providing the body with high nutrient content. Bananas neutralize acidic gastric juices, reducing ulcer irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Not only do they relieve painful symptoms of ulcers, and other intestinal disorders, but they can also promote healing.
        Aids Cancer Prevention: The International Journal of Cancer conducted a study that indicated that the probability of developing kidney cancer is greatly lessened by frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas. The probability of developing kidney cancer in female subjects decreased by 50% when eating bananas 4 to 6 times a week. Supplies Vitamin B6: One banana has 34% of the RDA for vitamin B6. The B6 in bananas acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps ward off cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, as well as obesity. B6 plays a pivotal part in cell formation and proper nervous system function, making one banana a day a healthy and delicious choice.
    The power of bananas in a weight loss regimen has taken Japan by storm, creating an 80% increase in consumption in one year! Truth is, bananas aren't a 'magic bullet,' but they are great for you and are a delicious addition to anyone's diet!

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