There are many contenders out there for the title of “the perfect food”, and bananas are just one that has been associated with this rank. It could be because they are highly portable and come in their own biodegradable wrapper, or it could have something to do with all of the health benefits. While you may prize avocados or berries more, bananas certainly deserve a role in your life.
- 1. One of the most well-known nutrients in bananas is potassium (though there are many foods rich in potassium even more so than a banana). Still, it is one of the best recognized sources of potassium, with 467 mg per banana and only 1 mg of sodium. Numerous studies have found potassium to reduce blood pressure, protect against the hardening of the arteries, prevent strokes, boost bone health, and boost overall heart health.
- 2. Bananas also have antacid effects, protecting the stomach from ulcers and their subsequent damage. They work by creating a thicker mucus barrier within the stomach to protect against acids. Also, they help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that could lead to ulcers.
- 3. They are loaded with energy and are a favorite among athletes. A sort of a “nature’s energy bar”, they can deliver the energy needed after a long workout while fighting muscle cramps in the process.
- 4. If bananas don’t offer enough benefits in the day time, they shine at night too. They contain high amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps boost serotonin production which can lead to better moods and a better night sleep.
While we are big advocates of shopping local, it is difficult to find local bananas in most places. Compromise can be found by purchasing only organic, so at least you know your bananas aren’t hosed down with damaging pesticides before they begin their trek to your kitchen.
It’s believed bananas originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago. In 327 B.C. there is a record of Alexander the Great’s army finding them growing in India. Eventually, bananas made their way across the ocean to the Americas, where the majority of them are produced today. Interestingly, they didn’t come to the U.S. for sale in markets until later in the 19th century. And even then they were only enjoyed in port towns.
Bananas are creamy, sweet, and versatile. They can go in your oatmeal, in a smoothie, or on your dessert. In addition to being delicious, they are good for you.