Bananas aren’t only for monkeys. In reality, amongst people, they’re one of the vital standard fruits on this planet — and for motive. They’re scrumptious, cheap, and they even are available 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 get pleasure from 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 known as the banana, across the 17th century, it was named “banema” in Guinea.

Bananas initially got here from the Indo-Malaysian area, stretching right 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 — a wide range of banana that incorporates 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 most important fruit crop on this planet.

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

The yellow bananas most of us have identified and beloved are literally a mutant pressure of plantains. They had been unintentionally found by a Jamaican chef named Jean Francois Poujot in 1836, who started cultivating the candy yellow bananas after discovering certainly one of 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 resembling potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

They are additionally supply of fiber, a nutrient that most individuals lack of their food regimen.

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 incorporates round 14 grams of sugar. However, it’s essential to notice that these are pure sugars, not added sugars like these present in baked items and packaged snack meals. Because fruit sugars are certain up in fibrous cell partitions and include water, in order that they don’t have the identical blood glucose stage influence that processed sugars do. And along with these 14 grams of pure sugars, a mean banana additionally offers six grams of fiber, which helps stop spikes in your blood sugar while 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 — significantly research wanting on the minerals of which they’re a wealthy supply. Some of essentially the most well-researched potential advantages of bananas embrace:

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 stress. But the excellent news is that getting sufficient potassium — by consuming potassium-rich meals — may also help preserve your blood stress at wholesome ranges. Potassium might also shield blood vessels from thickening and turning into broken from atherosclerosis. And bananas are one of the vital potassium-rich meals within the human food regimen.

They are additionally supply of magnesium, a mineral identified to play a job 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 stability and restful sleep.

Research suggests food regimen wealthy in potassium-containing meals (like bananas) might show you how to sleep higher. A 2018 examine revealed in Hypertension Research discovered that people who had much less potassium of their blood skilled sleep patterns that had 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 also be considerable in magnesium and vitamin B6, which might each help in calming your thoughts and selling restful sleep. Between the potassium, magnesium, tryptophan, melatonin, and B6 in bananas, there’s good motive to imagine they may also help you get pleasure from night time’s sleep.

three. May promote wholesome digestion.

A 2011 examine carried out amongst 34 chubby however in any other case wholesome ladies, discovered that incorporating bananas every day may enhance gastrointestinal well being. The ladies had 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 individuals assigned to the banana group skilled considerably much less bloating and barely elevated ranges of bifidobacteria — “good” micro organism in your intestine which might be usually utilized in probiotics — of their stool.

Furthermore, bananas include two essential forms 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 in terms 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 numerous research on the connection between banana consumption and weight reduction, they do provide traits which might 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’re feeling fuller longer between meals and might assist stop overeating. The resistant starch in bananas might particularly assist preserve your urge for food at bay. And, as you’ll have found for those who’ve ever blended or mashed a banana and seen its quantity lower considerably, bananas really include numerous air, which can additionally stimulate that “full” feeling.

5. May assist wholesome bones.

Evidence exhibits that potassium-rich diets can have protecting results on bone well being. Although the precise motive for that is nonetheless up for debate, many researchers suppose 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 have been studied for his or her potential potential to kill most cancers cells. (There are a couple of authors at the moment who warn in opposition to lectins, however such warnings are principally misguided.)

One examine revealed 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

elderly man picking bananas produce section
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While bananas have numerous potential advantages to supply, there are additionally a couple of downsides to pay attention to.

Health:

When it involves your well being, there are a few issues to pay attention to in terms of answering the query: “are bananas good for you?”

  • Just a few individuals report experiencing complications after consuming numerous bananas. Keep in thoughts that these had been self-reported and not from scientific research. However, it could be associated to a compound known as tyramine, derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Anecdotally, the hyperlink between consuming bananas and experiencing complications appears to be extra widespread amongst people who find themselves susceptible to complications and migraines on the whole.
  • Extreme overconsumption of this fruit may enhance 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 except you commonly sit right down to 20 bananas at a sitting, this doubtless 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 apply good dental hygiene after consuming one.

The backside line: As with all issues, hearken to your personal physique. One or two bananas every day is ok on your potassium ranges. And if bananas provide you with complications, you would possibly wish to minimize down or remove them out of your food regimen.

Environmental Impact:

Large-scale business banana manufacturing impacts the atmosphere 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 undergo 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 struggle off pests or stand up to blight.
  • Bananas are sometimes sprayed with giant quantities of pesticides. In reality, some banana farms obtain almost 60 pesticide functions yearly. This shouldn’t be solely a priority for shoppers but additionally the encompassing atmosphere and ecosystems which might 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 with a purpose 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 each time doable as a result of natural banana farming avoids the usage of artificial pesticides and tends to be extra sustainable.

Social Impact:

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

  • Workers within the banana business are chronically underpaid, elevating an essential moral situation for shoppers.
  • Child labor — outlined by working situations which might be more likely to negatively have an effect on a baby’s bodily and psychological well being, social situations, and training — is widespread within the banana business. Children who work within the banana business, usually as younger as eight years outdated, are incessantly uncovered to pesticides, paid minimally, and robbed of the chance to realize the training they should pull their households out of intergenerational poverty.
  • Many employees within the banana business in growing nations, 43% of whom are females, report office harassment. Female employees on this business additionally expertise decrease pay and much less job stability than males doing the identical jobs.

The backside line: Get fairtrade bananas each time you possibly can. Bananas carrying this mark have are produced in methods and places that meet social, environmental, and financial requirements that assist employees’ 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 remember while you deliver your bananas dwelling:

  • If you’ve gotten greater than you possibly can eat earlier than they get overripe, minimize and freeze them in an hermetic bag (resembling these silicone ones) for later use in smoothies or desserts like home made ice cream.
  • For further ease of use later, you possibly can peel, minimize, 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 means, 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 several rooms, ideally with completely different temperatures, as hotter temperatures make them ripen quicker. 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 overlook the place you saved them.
  • Bananas launch ethylene gasoline, which makes different fruits ripen extra rapidly. Keep them away from different fruit except you’re in a rush to ripen them. To gradual bananas from ripening, you possibly can place them in a preserving field or bag (like this one). These forms of containers preserve oxygen out, whereas offering the correct amount of insulation, and management the discharge of ethylene gasoline to maintain bananas yellow for so long as doable.
  • To velocity the ripening of bananas, you possibly can place them in a paper bag.
  • Unless you’re freezing them, you won’t 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 have to retailer them within the fridge, dip them in lemon juice to assist protect them longer and preserve 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 you already know that you could really 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 understand that many business bananas are contaminated with giant quantities of pesticides, so for those who plan to eat banana peel, it is a superb motive 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 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, you should definitely wash it first and take away the stem. You can throw it into smoothies or eat it uncooked for those who like. Some individuals get pleasure from boiled banana peels.

Healthy Banana Recipes to Try

Here are some recipes that use bananas in artistic methods:

Chocolate Crepes with Banana by ElaVegan

Yum! This straightforward 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 improbable autos for diet, and this recipe isn’t any completely 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 you already know mashed bananas can exchange 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 artistic means 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 nicely 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 might have heard of plant-based bacon created 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, definitely, one of the vital well-known and extensively consumed fruits world wide. Not solely are they nutritious, however consuming them seems to be good on your coronary heart, your digestive system, your waistline, and even your sleep patterns. But business banana plantations aren’t identified for treating employees nicely and are sometimes excessive in pesticide contamination and dangerous for the atmosphere. So for those who’re going to get pleasure from bananas, honest commerce and organically grown are particularly essential. And bananas can be utilized in some artistic and enjoyable methods, in all the things 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 technique to eat bananas?

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