Bananas in Dietary and Sports Nutrition
Bananas are unique source of energy and vitamins.
People like bananas. They eat them as a dessert not knowing how good are these fruits for human body. Bananas can be used to heal headache and insomnia, normalize digestion and gain muscle mass. They are also included in dietary menu and help slimmers to lose some weight without restricting themselves in desserts.
Chemistry and Nutritional Value
Bananas are tasty and nutritious fruits. They have a low nutritional value, but contain very important micro- and macro elements, vitamins and other useful substances.
Nutritional value per 100 grams of banana flesh:
- Energy value — 90kcal;
- Proteins — 1,1g;
- Fats— 0.3g;
- Carbs — 23g;
- Dietary fibers — 2,6g.
Bananas contain zinc and iron, calcium and potassium, phosphorus and magnesium as well as large amount of vitamins which further key processes in human body:
- B1 (thiamin) — key element involved into fat exchange which is necessary for growth and development;
- В2 (riboflavin) — coenzyme which is involved into many biological processes;
- РР (niacin) takes part in fat, proteins, amino acids and purines exchange as well as promotes biosynthesis;
- C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant which furthers development of the immune system.
Banana flesh is also rich in the following amino acids:
- Tryptophan which has a relaxing and calming effect, improves quality of sleep, releases PMS and helps to get rid of nicotine and alcohol addiction.
- Methionine lowers cholesterol level in blood and normalizes metabolism of fats.
- Lysine fights viruses, boosts energy levels and takes part in collagen production and regeneration of tissues.
Healing Properties of Bananas
Regularly consumed, bananas improve concentration, working ability and keep you fit and in good mood. Thanks to their well-balanced chemistry, bananas help to prevent and even heal certain diseases.
Impact on Heart, Vessels and Lungs
Bananas are rich in potassium, which restores a normal heart rhythm and strengthens the vascular walls. Iron improves hemoglobin synthesis while vitamin B2 is involved into red blood cells production and calcium regulates blood pressure. As a result, bananas consumption improves the state of health of people sick with atherosclerosis and hypertension. Fiber and niacin contribute to the removal of excessive cholesterol amounts. The latter has a favorable effect onto the blood vessels.
Healing Digestive Issues and Liver
Doctors recommend to consume finely chopped flesh of the ripe bananas in presence of the following gastrointestinal diseases:
- Ulcerative colitis;
- Stomach and duodenal ulcers;
Being rich in fiber, bananas improve digestion. They treat celiac disease which makes body unable to process gluten. Bananas improve liver functioning normalizing metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Natural Cure for Headache and Insomnia
People who suffer from a weather-related headache have a potassium deficiency. Here bananas are to help. They are rich in tryptophan. This amino acid is involved into melatonin production, which regulates the circadian rhythm.
Tryptophan improves mood and stimulates serotonin synthesis as well as increases libido and prevents impotence. Therefore, this fruit is called a natural aphrodisiac.
Those who regularly eat bananas produce more oxytocin – the love hormone. It enhances a feeling of closeness and affection to a sexual partner.
Remedy for Weight Loss
Bananas are rich in carbohydrates. They cannot be used by people sticking to protein diet. A fruit of a medium size contains 15g of sugar. However, bananas are better to have than sweets. They will promote weight loss providing body with vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino acids.
Banana diet has three advantages which make it efficient:
- Fruits remove excessive fluid, improve metabolism and normalize stool.
- Sweet bananas can be used instead of cakes and candies.
- Being rich in carbs, they feed hunger and prevent overeating.
There are two types of banana diet:
- Fasting day. You should eat 3 bananas and drink 3 glasses of fermented baked milk, curdled or sour milk during one day. You should do so twice per week but some people do it 5 to 7 days in a row.
- One-week diet. You should eat 1kg bananas per day during one week. You can have a sugar-free tea. One day you can have couple of boiled eggs or 100 grams of chicken breast without skin to replenish protein deficiency as bananas are not rich in proteins. You will lose up to 7-8 kilos after such dieting.
You should always consume fresh bananas. Dried fruits are rich in calories – they contain 310kcal per 100 grams of product. Banana chips depending on what they are complemented with may add up to 480 kcal. Such products are not going to help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Those, who do not adhere to any diet, can have a banana as a snack. This is a healthy and natural food. A couple of bananas satisfies hunger for 1 to 1.5 hours, and they do not cause harm such as burgers, pancakes and other unhealthy foods do.
Bananas Help to Gain Muscles
US researchers conducted a series of experiments and were able to prove that bananas are also useful in sports nutrition. The fruits help to gain muscles so they along with rice are included in a compulsory diet of Japanese sumo wrestlers to prepare them for competitions.
Muscles get short in glycogen after tiresome workouts. And this is a substance that is being converted to glucose, from which energy is released. If the athlete does not receive carbs, catabolism, that is, a breakdown of the muscle cells takes a rise. Bananas prevent development of this process. They contain fast carbohydrates and serve as a source of natural energy, which feeds the body during and after exercise.
Natural sugars from bananas is quickly digested and enters the bloodstream. As a result, it satisfies the hunger and body gets a new portion of energy. It is necessary for a sportsman not only to train, but also recover properly.
Athletes sweat profusely, and this is how potassium leaves the human body, lack of this substance can cause muscle cramps. Bananas are rich in this macro element. After training, tryptophan from bananas, the amino acid, which is converted into serotonin, promotes relaxation and improves mood and overall wellbeing.
With all the benefits of bananas in mind, they should not be consumed before bedtime. At this time of day, the athletes need slow proteins that will nourish the muscles throughout the night until the morning. Therefore, it is better to have some cottage cheese, which is rich in calcium caseinate – a protein produced from casein. If you eat a banana before bed, excessive energy will be converted into fat.
Healing Properties of Banana Drinks
Bananas are useful to have not only in a fresh form, but also as a beverage. Combined with other fruits and vegetables, they are very good for your body.
Here are some recipes of healthy drinks based on bananas, which are easy to prepare on your own:
Mash a banana. Dilute it with a mixture made from a half of a cup of a carrot juice and half of a cup of orange juice combined with a small amount of a lemon juice. Add 1 tsp of a honey and mix it all through. This drink will relieve anxiety, calm you down, help you to relax and strengthen your immune system.
Cocktail with Vitamins
Squeeze juice from an orange, grapefruit, banana, half a lemon and a quarter of a pineapple. Mix it all very thoroughly. This cocktail is an excellent restorative remedy that will provide you with vitamins and keep you energetic and in a very good mood. This drink is good to have in the mornings and during evening times.
Dried bananas are high in calories. However, you can add up to 10 grams of this tasty treat into herbal tea. So you will get a tasty drink, which preserves all the useful properties of fresh bananas.
Coping with seasonal depression, one can make extracts from bananas skin or raw bananas. Also, the banana flesh can be mixed in a blender and added into bottled and fresh juices or yoghurt. If you do not stick to a strict diet, you can enjoy a portion of ice cream. Enjoy your delicious and healthy dessert.
The Ways to Choose Tasty Bananas
You should always pay attention to the way bananas look when you buy them. Good bananas should have a round shape and a glossy yellow color without brown specks on its skin. Bananas should not get cold otherwise they will get dark. They are not dangerous to have, yet such bananas won’t be any beneficial for your body.
Bananas should be consumed immediately after they have been bought because they will become less nutritious with time. Otherwise it is better to buy some green bananas. You can put them aside and store them in a cool place and eat these fruits later on. Don’t wrap bananas into plastic and keep them in batches without splitting.
Even the most useful products have contraindications. Unlike other fruits, bananas rarely cause allergies. However, they should not be used by people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. These fruits are digested slowly so the lack of movement will cause the calories they contain being converted into the body fat that will settle on hips and waist. In this case, it is better to drink a banana juice or eat bananas an hour after lunch.
These fruits should also not be consumed in presence of the following cardiovascular diseases:
- Cardiac infarction;
- Varicose veins;
Bananas contain substances which affect the blood content. It becomes more dense and viscous, which creates the risk of development of the venous or arterial thrombosis.
Excessive consumption of bananas increases the risk of erectile dysfunction development in men. This is because a blood moves slowly along thickened blood vessels. Possible blood flow problems will affect blood circulation in penis. Such problems can be easily avoided just by eating no more than one banana a day.