Benefits of Bananas 

Hey Everyone! 

Hope you’re all well!

I love reading articles about the health benefits of different types of food and so I decided to create a post about my favorite fruit! 

I personally love bananas and I eat them on a daily basis. In fact, the other day my mom and I were grocery shopping and the store had ran out of bananas so I made her make and extra trip to another local grocery store just to buy some bananas. (Thank God the other grocery store was literally right across the street 😊) 

 Bananas are not only a delicious fruit but they are packed with a wide range of health benefits. 

Nutrients in Bananas:

The average banana is around 110 calories with 30 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of protein and fat, cholesterol, and sodium free. Bananas also include the following nutrients:

Vitamin B6

Manganese 

Vitamin C

Potassium 

Fiber

Copper 

Magnesium

Folate

Riboflavin 

Niacin

Vitamin A

Iron

Bananas and Your Heart

Bananas are definitely a heart healthy food because they contain vital nutrients such as fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B6. Bananas also maintain heart health because they help lower the blood pressure of those who suffer from high blood pressure. 

Bananas and Healthy Children:

Bananas can reduce the chance of a child developing asthma. In fact, the results of a study conducted by the Imperial College of London showed that children who ate one banana a day had a 34 percent less chance of developing asthma. Also, research has shown that children who ate bananas (along with oranges and orange juice) had a reduced risk of developing childhood leukemia. 

Even in adults, bananas can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers thanks to its Vitamin C levels which help to reduce damage from free radicals. Also, since bananas have a high amount of fiber they can reduce ones chance of developing colorectal cancer. 

Bananas and Your Weight:

A common myth about bananas in my family was that bananas make you fat. The reality is that bananas by themselves don’t make you fat and they likely won’t make you lose weight either. However, bananas do have quite a bit of fiber and it has been shown that a diet with high fiber can aid in weight loss. 

Bananas are an excellent snack to have before, during, or after excercise. Bananas are high in glucose which means they will give you the energy you need to get through an intensive workout especially a cardio workout. Thanks to its magnesium, bananas can help prevent or relieve muscle cramps or soreness. The magnesium in bananas leads to protein synthesis which can help increase your lean muscle mass. Thanks to its potassium, bananas can help you workout longer and more easily recover from an intense workout. Additionally, bananas have a high amount of choline which is a form of Vitamin B that helps burn fat.

Bananas and Potassium:

The recommended daily intake of potassium is currently set at 4,700 milligrams. However, studies show that the majority of Americans don’t get the recommended daily amount of potassium. Bananas are definitely a good source of potassium and the average banana has around 420 milligrams of potassium. Potassium aids in our overall health by maintaining fluid levels in our body. Potassium is vital for cell health because it regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of our cells. 

Bananas and Digestion 

Bananas aid in digestion thanks to their non digestible carbohydrates which helps maintain a healthy gut. Due to its unique combination of nutrients such as fiber and a cluster of fruit molecules bananas help make you more regular and they even help those suffering from diarrhea. 

Kidney Health

Thanks to its potassium bananas are also helpful in maintaining healthy kidneys. Research has shown that people who eat bananas four to six times a week have a 50 percent reduced chance of developing kidney disease compared to those who don’t eat bananas. However, as a word of caution other research has shown that if you do have kidney disease it is best to eat bananas n moderation because too much potassium can worsen kidney disease.

Additional Benefits:

Bananas have folate which can be beneficial to those suffering from depression. Studies have shown that many people who suffer from depression have a higher risk of having folate deficiency. If your taking an antidepressant it is recommended to continue eating bananas because folate can help enhance the results of the medication. 

Bananas also have tryptophan which leads to seratonin. This means that bananas can potentially help reduce some of the stress and anxiety that you may be going through and put you in a better mood. Also, thanks to tryptophan bananas can also help you get a better night of sleep.

Easy to Find and Easy to Eat

Here in the United States bananas are among the most popular fruits even more so than apples and oranges and in my personal experience they are pretty inexpensive as well. If you’re lazy like me, the great thing about bananas is that you can easily peel them and enjoy the tasty and healthy treat. Of course, there are many different ways you can include bananas in your diet and although I always throw the peel away, while I was doing reeearch for this post, I have learned that in many cultures the banana peel is used in cooking as well. The banana peel has numerous benefits as well. Some of these benefits include using the peel for beauty purposes such as removing pimples and alleviating wrinkles. 

Bananas and Beauty:

As I mentioned the banana peel can be used for pimples. I learned this trick from a YouTube video by Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty. She explained that its best to eat the banana when it’s ripe and keep the peel overnight until it’s very dark and then cut it into smaller pieces (just to make it easier to use) and rub it on your pimples. Continue to do this for a few days until all pimples are gone or until you see improvement. Other bloggers have mentioned that rubbing the banana peel on your skin may help with wrinkles as well. Due to its high water content and Vitamin A eating bananas regularly can be beneficial to your skins overall health. Finally you can add bananas to your face mask.

Ripe vs. Unripe

The truth is that both unripe and ripe bananas have their own pros and cons.

Unripe bananas are the ones that are green. Unripe bananas have a high amount of resistant starch and they’re not that sweet so they’re better for people with Type 2 diabetes because of their low glycemic index. Unripe bananas are also better for colon health thanks to a specific probiotic bacteria that they have. Unripe bananas are better for absorbing nutrients. 

On the other hand the antioxidants of the banana increase as it ripens so unripe bananas have a lower amount of antioxidants. Also since unripe bananas have a higher resistant starch content they can cause some extra bloating and gas.

Ripe bananas are easier to digest thanks to their higher sugar content and ripe bananas have more antioxidants. Research has shown that ripe bananas can help protect you from cancer because they fight abnormal cells in your body.

 On the other hand, ripe bananas lose some of their vitamins and minerals. Also, ripe bananas do have a higher sugar content so they are not ideal for those who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. 

Don’t Go Bananas Though

As with any other good thing, bananas should be consumed in moderation. Most experts recommend having no more than two bananas a day. This is especially true of those who are on beta blocking medications because they suffer from heart disease. Beta blockers can cause the potassium levels to rise in the blood and so this is why other foods high in potassium should be consumed in moderation

I hope you enjoyed this post hopefully it has encouraged you to reach for a banana the next time you’re hungry! 


With Love,

Yasmin 

The Power of Meaning 

Hey Everyone! 

Hope you’re all doing well!

I recently watched a very inspirational TED Talk titled: There’s is More to Life than Being Happy by Emily Esfahani Smith

Basically, the major point of her TED Talk is that those who are truly at peace with their lives are not the ones who chase after happiness rather they are the ones who find meaning in their lives.  She describes how the famous Psychologist Martin Seligman describes meaning as coming from, belonging to and serving something beyond ourselves, and from developing the best within ourselves. 

In her talk Esfahani Smith describes statistics about how, for many people in the U.S, the quality of life has improved by almost every standard, yet the suicide rate has reached an all time high. She attributes this to a lack of meaning and she also cites statistics that mention that those who do have meaning in their lives are more resilient, do better in school and in work and they even live longer. 

Esfahani Smith spent five years doing research about how we can find meaning in our lives and she came up with the following four pillars of meaning: (The following is a very brief description of the pillars)

Belonging: Being in relationships and having relationships in which you are valued intrinsically for who you are and you value others for who they are. True belonging comes from relationships that are based on love and they are based on your choice, you choose to cultivate belonging with others.

Purpose: Many people find their purpose through their work however, finding your  purpose is not exactly the same as finding a job that makes you happy. Purpose is less about what you want and more about what you give to others. The key to purpose is using your strength to help others. 

Transcendence: She describes transcendent states as being those rare moments in which we are lifted above the normal hustle and bustle of daily life. It is when our sense of self fades away and we feel connected to a higher reality.  In transcendent experiences you lose all sense of time and place and these experiences can change you to become a better person. For each person transcendence can come from a different source. Some people may experience it through their house of worship others can experience it through other means such as art, athletics, writing, etc. (To me personally transcendence sounds a lot like what psychologists refer to as flow). 

Story Telling: She describes this as the story that you tell yourself about yourself. We are authors of our own stories and we can change the way we tell them. She argues that our lives are not just a series of events but we can edit and interpret our stories even when we are constrained by the facts. The point of story telling is to help us reevaluate our lives and see ourselves and our lives from a more positive perspective. She gives the example of an injured football player who was left paralyzed as a result of his injury. In the aftermath of the injury, he described his life as being good before the injury and being pretty bad after the injury. After some time had passed he re-evaluated his story to describe his life before the injury as being a life in which he lack purpose and meaning and he was only concerned with himself. However, after the injury he has a greater appreciation for life and he has found his purpose in life which is to help others. 

This TED Talk was definitely an eye opener for me. Being a student of positive psychology I have read a lot of books and articles on the importance of attaining happiness and how we can be happier in fact I wrote a post a while ago about a book on happiness. I do still recommend that book and I will definitely continue to read positive psychology books and articles on happiness because I feel that there is a lot that we can learn and apply in our lives. Also, because positive psychology as a field is determined to study and understand happiness and wellbeing from a scientific perspective. 

However, it’s also really nice to know that there is something more long lasting that can help us deal with any stage or event in our lives. It is impossible for most of us to be happy all the time but having a sense of meaning, in my opinion, is much more powerful because it gives us something to rely on in moments of joy and sorrow. 

Click here to watch this TED Talk.
With love,

Yasmin