Diet and Nutrition

8 Reasons to Go Bananas for Bananas

Bananas are quite possibly the most loved and used fruit in my home. Why? Well, for starters, they’re inexpensive. A week’s work of bananas costs less than $2. They’re a peel fruit, which makes them much more easier to store, minimize pesticide exposure when grown, and bonus, you can draw pictures on them and send them in your kids lunches!

Even when they go “bad”, they’re at their prime to be used for delicious baked goods and more. You can even freeze those over ripened bananas, and save them for that next time you’re craving banana bread. Or dice and freeze for an easy base to a cold delicious fruit smoothie. With an inexpensive, practical fruit that the whole family loves, the possibilities are seemingly endless, but let’s go over some lesser known reasons to love bananas…

1. Bananas Make you Happy

Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan (yes, the same compound found in turkey that gives you that relaxed, chill feeling). Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the body, the neurotransmitter in the brain that gives you that happy mood, and helps you sleep.

Bananas are also high in Vitamin B, which can aid in warding off depression. Vitamin B helps conserve that tryptophan in your body, giving you more benefits of the serotonin. Science, yo!

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2. Bananas Keep you Regular

Bananas are high in fiber and easy on the stomach to digest. When struggling with constipation, ripe bananas in your diet are an excellent way to maintaining regularity, due to its soluble fibre.

If your bowel function is irritated and causing an upset stomach or diarrhea, bananas can help restore it. It may seem odd that one fruit can help with both constipation and diarrhea, but bananas are just all about keeping you regular. According to MDHealth.com, it’s the potassium in bananas that aids the passage of stool through the bowls and prevents constipation.

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3. Bananas Aid Weight Loss

In 2008, the Japanese Asa banana diet grew in popularity so rapidly, that Japan actually had a banana shortage after the diet’s creators insisted that eating bananas and drinking tepid water can aid in weight loss. While the banana diet is largely considered a fad diet, bananas are often recommended as a staple fruit in many weight loss plans.

However, when it comes to incorporating bananas into a balanced diet to aid weight loss, the fruit contains moderate calories, plus fiber and resistant starch, which all support weight loss. They are also very filling, and sweet. Helping you curb your appetite, and satisfy your sweet tooth away from refined sugars and carbs.

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4. Smelling Bananas Suppresses Cravings

A study conducted at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, in Chicago, proved that some foods can help curb hunger and cravings, such as bananas. This method works by tricking the brain into thinking you’re actually eating said foods you’re sniffing.

According to the study, bananas are one of those magical foods that trick the brain! So smell one the next time you’re hungry and you might even smoothly sail past those snacking cravings.

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5. A Healthy Baking Substitute

Bananas provide excellent binding abilities in baking. The fruit has a creamy texture and a sweet flavor, which makes it a useful substitute in so many different ways. In baking, swap out unhealthy ingredients (i.e., butter or margarine) for a healthy banana, and add wonderful flavor and texture that even kids will love!

Mashed bananas can replace sugar, butter, and fats in many recipes. One thing to remember when using mashed bananas as a sugar substitute is to cut down on the moisture in your recipe by using less milk or water. This way your baked goods come out with the right texture.

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6. Banana Peels are Useful Too

Don’t toss those banana peels just yet! There’s so many ways you can repurpose a banana peel that you’ve likely never considered. Did you know that you can polish silver if you rub items with the inside of a banana peel, wipe it off with a damp rag, and buff it with a soft cloth?

Banana peels can also help relieve the itch of a bug bite, soothe the pain of a burn, and remove splinters. Peels can also be laid out to dry in the sun, then ground in a food processor to make instant mulch for your garden. Since the peel is full of potassium and magnesium, it becomes an effective fertilizer when mixed with soil.

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7. It’s a Natural Antacid

Due to the fact that bananas are so easily digested, this fruit works as a natural antacid by reducing acidity in the stomach. The bountiful vitamins and minerals, plus the high fiber content in a banana can help strengthen the esophagus. According to Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology (JSG) bananas can also help heal Barrett’s Esophagus, a condition caused by acid reflux, which over time, puts you at risk for esophageal cancer.

Bananas are also the only raw fruit that will help relieve stomach ulcers by creating a coating on the lining of the stomach to guard against excess acids.

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8. Make an Amazing Anti-aging Face Mask

Who needs botox when you can use bananas? Mash half banana with ½ cup of yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply the mixture all over your face and relax for 15 minutes. Apply a warm cloth to rinse off. You should feel softer, smoother skin almost immediately as the mask helps reduce wrinkles!

According to the Beauty Editor at the Huffington Post, bananas are great for your skin because they contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamins A, B, E, and F! All of which are beneficial to your skin.

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