Bananas have got so many health benefits that are why some people eat them unripe, and others make banana recipes which include banana bread, banana pudding, banana muffins, banana pancakes, banana foster cake, banana foster cheesecake, banana foster French toast, and many others. Their bioactive compounds make them fruits of great nutritional value.
A banana is a fruit. Its herbaceous flowering plant belongs to the genus Musa and the family Musaceae. All the edible bananas do not have seeds and they belong to two main species which are: Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla. There is also a hybrid from these two called Musa x paradisiaca L. Most of the bananas found in big local supermarkets and other shops are the Cavendish group and are soft and sweet. The Cavendish banana type is green when unripe and it becomes yellow as it matures. Plantain bananas have firm, starchy fruit which is suitable for cooking as a vegetable.
Bananas have got nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and many other healthy components. The chemical composition of 100g of a banana fruit is as follows: energy: 371kj, water: 74.91g, carbohydrates: 22.84g, sugars: 12.23g, dietary fibre: 2.6g, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 0.334mg, pyridoxine (vitamin B6): 0.4mg, choline: 9.8mg, vitamin C: 8.7mg, magnesium: 27mg, phosphorus: 22mg, potassium: 358mg, Sodium: 1mg, and zinc: 0.15mg.
Bananas are nutritious fruits with a wide range of health benefits. This article informs you about scientifically proven health benefits of bananas and their bioactive compounds.
- Pectin and resistant starch:
Bananas are rich in pectin, and the unripe ones are very rich in resistant starch which escapes digestion. Pectin is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the primary and middle lamella cell walls of terrestrial plants. Its main component is galacturonic acid, a sugar acid derived from galactose. Resistant starch is starch molecules that resist digestion.
In 1982, Schwartz S E and colleagues studied the effect of sustained pectin ingestion on gastric emptying, glucose tolerance, hormone responses, and jejunal absorption of glucose and lysine. They discovered that gastric emptying half-time was prolonged approximately twofold after pectin supplementation and returned to normal 3 weeks after discontinuing pectin supplementation.
Schwartz SE and colleagues, 1988 investigated the effect of sustained pectin ingestion on gastric emptying and glucose tolerance in non-insulin-dependent diabetes patients. They found out that sustained pectin ingestion slowed the gastric emptying rate and improved glucose tolerance.
In 1994, Raben A and colleagues investigated the effect of resistant starch on postprandial glycemia, hormonal response, and satiety. They concluded that the replacement of digestible starch with resistant starch resulted in significant reductions in postprandial glycemia and insulinemia, and the subjective sensations of satiety.
Thus, pectin and resistant starch moderate blood sugar levels after meals and reduce appetite by slowing gastric emptying.
In addition to this, Estibaliz Olano-Martin and colleagues, 2003 investigated the effects of pectin and pectic-oligosaccharides (POS) on the human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line HT29. They concluded that dietary pectins and their degradation products may contribute to the reported protective effects of fruits against colon cancer.
Furthermore, Alejandra Bermudez-Oria and colleagues, 2020 evaluated the antiproliferative effect of pectin on bladder cancer cells. Pectin showed an important antiproliferative capacity in vitro against four bladder cancer cell lines which are RT112, T24, J82, and SCaBER.
Every living human cell needs potassium. The human body requires at least 100 mg of potassium every day. 100g of a banana have got 358mg of potassium. Potassium reduces the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, prevents loss of muscle mass, preserves bone mineral density, and reduces the formation of kidney stones.
Arjun Seth and colleagues, 2014 studied potassium intake and risk of stroke in women with hypertension and nonhypertension in the women’s health initiative. They concluded that high potassium intake is associated with a lower risk of all stroke and ischemic stroke, as well as all-cause mortality in older women, particularly those who are not hypertensive.
After investigating the effects of supplementation with oral potassium on blood pressure in humans, Whelton PK and colleagues, 1997, concluded that their results supported the premise that low potassium intake may play an important role in the genesis of high blood pressure. In addition to this, they also recommended that increased potassium intake be considered as a recommendation for prevention and treatment of hypertension, especially in people who are unable to reduce their sodium intake.
Lanfranco D’Elia and colleagues, 2011 assessed the relationship between the level of habitual potassium intake and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. They found out that higher dietary potassium intake is associated with lower rates of stroke and might also reduce coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease. They concluded that their results supported recommendations for higher consumption of potassium-rich foods to prevent vascular disease.
100g of a banana have got 27mg of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the human body including: energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movements, and nervous system regulation.
After exploring the effects of magnesium on the dynamic changes in glucose and lactate levels in the muscle, blood and brain of exercising rats using a combination of auto-blood sampling and micro dialysis, Hsuan-Ying Chen and colleagues, 2014, concluded that magnesium enhanced glucose availability in the peripheral and central systems, and increased lactate clearance in muscle during exercise.
Angelica Floripedes do Amaral and colleagues, 2012, investigated the effects of acute magnesium intravenous loading on the aerobic exercise performance of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. They found out that the acute intravenous loading of magnesium promotes a reduction in static lung hyperinflation and improves the exercise performance in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.
In addition to being involved in hundreds of essential biochemical reactions, and boosting exercise performance, magnesium also fights depression, benefits people with type 2 diabetes, lowers blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory benefits, can help prevent migraines, reduces insulin resistance, improves premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and is safe and widely available.
Conclusion: Bananas are very healthy fruits that can be eaten daily instead of wasting money on expensive processed food supplements.
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