Not only are they one of the most versatile and widely consumed fruits on the planet, bananas are one of the oldest. Some historians even believe the banana was the actual forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.
There are over 100 different varieties
of banana. Most widely consumed in the Western Hemisphere are
Cavendish bananas.Depicted frequently in Ancient Chinese, Hindu, Greek and Roman texts dating back to as early as 5000 B.C., bananas are believed to be one of the oldest foods on the planet.
That story may be ancient history, but the facts remain - bananas are one of the world's ultimate superfoods.
Packed full of vitamins and minerals that can be used for everything from healing muscle cramps to improving heart health. Bananas have even been used as a preventative treatment for asthma.
One medium (7"" banana contains approximately 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein.
The Banana Breakdown
Bananas have a long-list of health benefits that come from many vitamins and minerals packed into the popular fruit. The significant amount of vitamins B6, C, magnesium, and potassium make bananas a great source of energy to start the day, as well as a great boost to the immune system.
One serving of bananas (a medium sized banana) contains:
Vitamin B6 - .5 mg
Manganese - .3 mg
Vitamin C - 9 mg
Potassium - 450 mg
Dietary Fiber - 3g
Protein - 1 g
Magnesium - 34 mg
Folate - 25.0 mcg
Riboflavin - .1 mg
Niacin - .8 mg
Vitamin A - 81 IU
Iron - .3 mg
(Medical News Today)
With all of these nutrients packed into one package, bananas are an important part of any well-rounded diet, but we picked out our top reasons why bananas should always be on-hand for busy professionals and professional vocalists. After all--it is designed to be eaten on the go!
1. Maintain Blood pressure: Adopting a low sodium diet is vital to maintaining low blood pressure. Foods high in potassium, like bananas, help lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke by combating the harmful effects of sodium on the body like hypertension.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of US adults meet the RDA of potassium of 4700 mg.[/caption]
2. A Healthy Heart
Significant amounts of potassium, fiber, and vitamins C and B6 all play a role in promoting a healthy heart. An increase in potassium can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially when paired with a low sodium diet.
Mark Houston, MD, MS, a clinical associate at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee, says if individuals increased their potassium intake to recommended levels (4,700 mg), hypertension among adults could be reduced by 10%. A 2011 study involving more than 12,000 adult subjects, those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day had a 37% and 49% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease, respectively, compared with those who took 1,793 mg/day. ( Yang Q, Liu T, Kuklina EV, et al. )
3. Boost Your Mood
Yes, bananas can make you happier. Bananas contain the natural mood-enhancing amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin - the feel-good hormone. Banana's vitamin B6 also aid in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, which in addition to boosting your mood can also help you sleep.
Bananas are one of many foods that can naturally boost your mood and increase seratonin in the brain.[/caption]
For the busy professional, a banana is a great way to battle stress and a banana in the evening can also help put your mind at ease and help you sleep - which is particularly important if your profession involved touring or traveling.
4. Asthma Prevention
Of particular interest to our professional vocalists, bananas have been known to lower your chances of developing asthma. The reasoning behind this the high amounts of pyridoxine or vitamin B6. Bananas are one of nature's best sources of dietary B6, which plays an essential role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), molecules which relax bronchial smooth muscle tissue.
The Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.
5. Fight Cancer
Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps fight off cancer-causing free radicals.
6. Control Diabetes & Manage Weight With Fiber
Diets high in fiber help lower blood glucose levels and improve blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. Consuming foods higher in fiber will also help your feel fuller longer, preventing the dreaded blood-sugar spike that can cause overeating and be the demise of your weight-loss plan.
One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber. The RDA of fiber for women is 21-25 g/day and 30-38 g/day for men. Mix up a banana and kale smoothie to get a fiber-boost first thing in the morning. Not only will it keep you full, but you can be on your way to reaching your RDA of fiber before lunch! 1 serving or 100g of kale contains 2g of dietary fiber and one medium banana contains approximately 3g.
FIBER & VITAMIN C BOOSTING BREAKFAST
Get almost half of your RDA amount of vitamin C and fiber with this satisfying, fiber & vitamin-rich smoothie. Not only will it help keep you full all day, the fiber, vitamins, and minerals will help regulate your blood sugar levels to balance your mood and keep you feeling full until lunch time.
BANANA KALE SMOOTHIE
1 Medium Banana (105 calories, 3g fiber & 17% RDA of vitamin C)
1 1/2 Cups Raw Kale (48 calories, 1.5g fiber,
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Raw Honey
1 Medium Green Apple
Chop all of the ingredients, throw in a blender, blitz, and enjoy!
For ENT health-related questions or concerns, contact your local specialist. Always consult a physician before changing your diet, especially to treat a medical condition.
Residents of Colorado may contact the Colorado Voice Clinic.
Keep up with our blog for more health tips and advice to keep your professional voice and body in top shape!!