Did You Know…that a simple, grocery store fruit might heal digestive problems, fight depression, boost heart health, and more?
The mighty banana requires no introduction here: this time-tested natural treat is the most popular of all fruits in the produce section. In fact, Americans eat more than 10 pounds of bananas per person per year!
That’s a good thing, because a growing body of modern health research stands strong behind the healing properties of bananas.
Health Begins With Good Digestion
By now you’ve probably heard that your intestinal health—otherwise known as your “gut biome”—affects virtually every other aspect of your overall well-being. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles and processed diets take a heavy toll on your gut biome. The good news is that bananas can help turn your digestive health around.
First of all, bananas are full of fiber, which effectively clears the colon of accumulated waste. Even more, a new study published in Anaerobe revealed that bananas actually improve digestive function:
Women who ate 2 medium-sized bananas daily had less bloating and more beneficial Bifidobacterium bacteria than those who didn’t. The authors speculated that their results might even imply that bananas could be key to weight loss in healthy adults.
Lift Depression Naturally
Depression is a serious condition that affects 350 million people globally and is a leading cause of disability. Amazingly, bananas might help protect you from this common mood disorder, in part due to their high concentration of vitamin B6, a mood-regulating hormone that crosses the blood-brain barrier. Just 1 medium-sized banana provides 22% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B6.
Additionally, bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid with proven sedative and mood-boosting properties. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience showed that tryptophan “significantly decreased quarrelsome behaviors and increased agreeable behaviors and perceptions of agreeableness.” Additional research has shown tryptophan to be helpful against insomnia.
Boost Heart Health
Another body of research—small but impressive—shows that simply by eating more bananas, you can reduce your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- The April 2014 edition of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture included a study showing that “banana extracts could suppress the carbohydrate absorption rate of diabetic rats, thus providing anti—diabetic effects.”
- Another study, this one published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, highlighted the cholesterol-lowering effects of bananas. This research showed that the flavonoids in bananas lower cholesterol, fatty acids, and triglycerides.
Both of these studies suggest that adding a few more bananas to our diets could help protect our cardiovascular health and reduce our risk of heart disease.
Meanwhile, we might also be helping revitalize our digestive health while fending off depression and insomnia. All with zero side effects. That’s functional medicine at its finest.