8 Great Health Benefits Of Bananas For Your Diet

By:    Published: October 27, 2011

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There are so many reasons to love bananas. They're always available, they're affordable and, most of all, they taste great. Since bananas are a fruit, we assume they're probably a healthy food choice. That's a no-brainer. But in reality, bananas are one of the healthiest foods out there, and you don't have to go to a special health food store to get them. Bananas are easy to find at any local market, and their numerous health benefits provide more than enough reasons to add them to your cart on your next grocery shopping trip. Here are eight great reasons why you should be adding more bananas to your diet.

1. Healthier Stomach

Bananas are high in fiber, a carbohydrate that helps regulate your digestive system. That means that eating bananas will help you maintain regular, healthy bowel movements. Bananas also contain pectin, which helps to improve overall digestion and prevents constipation. Not only that, but bananas also have an antacid effect, which helps prevent ulcers and ulcer damage in the stomach. In fact, eating bananas may even reduce your risk for stomach cancer. If you tend to have stomach troubles, then try adding bananas to your diet to see if it improves your digestion.

2. Excellent Source of Potassium

In general, most people associate bananas with their rich levels of potassium. We all need potassium to function, and eating a banana is one of the easiest ways to get it. Plus, the potassium in bananas can actually help you feel better when you're stressed. High stress levels tend to deplete our bodies' potassium, so eating a banana can help balance you out when your body exhausted due to stress, allowing you to bounce back faster.

3. Improve Kidney Function

The potassium found in bananas has one side effect that comes as great news for your kidneys. When you get enough potassium, your body is less likely to lose calcium in your urine. That keeps your kidneys functioning at their prime while also reducing the risk of kidney stones. In general, eating fruits can be extremely beneficial when it comes to preventing kidney cancer. The reason? Bananas (along with many root vegetables) have high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds, which help protect the kidneys.

4. Strengthen Bones

You may have never heard of a prebiotic called fructooligosaccharide, but bananas are actually a great source of it. Fructooligosaccharide make it possible for our bodies to absorb nutrients more easily. That means that eating bananas will help your body absorb calcium, thereby providing you with stronger bones. Furthermore, a banana's potassium can help prevent calcium loss, meaning that you'll be less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life.

5. Lower Blood Pressure

Doctors often encourage patients with high blood pressure to add more bananas to their diet. Why? Because the high potassium levels and low sodium levels in bananas are a great combination for preventing high blood pressure. It's been proven in a number of studies and is actually a recommendation straight from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, eating this great high-potassium and low-sodium food can also reduce your risk of stroke, giving you just one more reason to love this health-fortifying fruit.

6. Boost Energy

Bananas have a healthy level of carbohydrates that are perfect for a much-needed energy boost. Eating a banana for breakfast or after a tough workout can be a great way to up your energy without sugary drinks or energy bars. Bananas tend to be a favorite among athletes for their energy-boosting effects. If you tend to feel groggy in the morning or extra tired after a workout, then keep bananas on hand so you can stay on your game.

7. Better Eyesight

Eating bananas every day can be great for your eyesight. That's because eating at least three servings of fruit per day can lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration. Actually, those who eat three or more servings of fruit per day are 36 percent less likely to suffer from macular degeneration than are those who consume less than 1.5 servings a day. In fact, several studies have debunked the age-old myth that carrots improve your eyesight. Even if you're already in your senior years, it's never too late to start using bananas to prevent further eyesight loss.

8. Good Moods

Bananas have tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to body produce serotonin. This neurotransmitter helps you to feel calm and stabilizes your moods naturally. The next time you're feeling down, grab a banana and focus on those good feelings.

As always, consider your own special dietary or health needs concerning these health benefits of bananas. Bananas alone shouldn't be used as a treatment for any of the conditions listed above. If you have any questions or concerns about adding more bananas to your diet, ask your physician or a licensed health professional.

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