BananasMost people are familiar with bananas since they know them as the bright yellow fruit. Bananas are not only delicious, but they are also extremely healthy. They do not only contain nutrients that can have a positive effect on the digestive system, but they can also provide health benefits on the heart. Besides the many health benefits they provide, they are also a highly convenient snack since they are cheap and easy to carry.


Many people refer to bananas at the type of food which is eaten by monkeys. While this is true, the fruit is also incredibly popular among humans. Since bananas are a versatile fruit, they can be used for many different purposes. They can be eaten as part of a fruit salad, in a smoothie or you can make banana bread from the fruit. Bananas are elliptically shaped. The fruit is characterized by its bright yellow thick inedible peel. The flesh of the fruit is packed inside this peel and has a firm and creamy structure. The banana plant can grow up to 26 feet in height. The banana plant belongs to the family with the scientific name called Musaceae. When the bananas grow on the plant they usually grow in clusters of 50 to 150 pieces. Individuals fruits grow together in bunches of a total between 10 to 25 bananas. There are more than hundreds of different types of edible bananas. The two main categories of bananas are, however, the sweet banana and the plantain banana. The sweet banana is officially called the Musa sapienta or the Musa nana, and they can vary in size in colour. The plantain banana, on the other hand, does not come in different sizes and colours. Most people think of bananas as only having yellow skin. However, this is not the case since bananas can have different colour skins. They can be featured in purple, pink, red and black tones. The taste of bananas also depends on the type of the fruit. While some bananas have a sweet taste, others have a starchier taste. The types of bananas which are especially popular in the Western world are Cavendish, Martinique and Big Michael bananas. While plantain bananas can be eaten as a snack, they are often cooked. This is due to the fact that its structure can be compared to that of a vegetable since it has starchier qualities. Also, plantain bananas have a higher concentration of beta-carotene compared to sweet bananas.


Bananas are believed to be originate from Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea. Sources say that the fruit has been consumed by communities in these regions for thousands of years. Evidence also suggests that bananas were cultivated in various regions in Africa. Also, research has also suggested that the fruit was cultivated on the island Madagascar. Around the 9th and 10th century is when bananas were being spread across regions in the Middle East as well as in North Africa. The fruit is also mentioned in Ancient Islamic Texts which were found in Egypt and Palestine. Once explorers from the Middle East and Europe started travelling to regions such as Central and South America, they brought bananas with them on the journey. It is said that the explorers were the first ones to introduce the fruit to a new population. Especially the Portuguese played an important role in introducing bananas to new populations since they colonized various countries in the South America. Up until today, bananas are consumed on a large scale by populations on this continent. Since the climate of South and Central America allowed for bananas to grow easily, bananas began to be harvested in high quantities soon after the fruit had been introduced to this region. The popularity of the fruit also spread to North America, where many bananas are exported to today from this region. Areas such as the Caribbean and South and Central America are all regions which still grow large quantities of bananas. Especially countries such as Ecuador Colombia and Brazil are among some of the highest exporters of bananas in this region. The three biggest exporters of bananas are, however, Uganda, India and China. Interestingly, the original wild bananas included large seeds. However, the modern type bananas which most people are familiar with now, do not contain large seeds. These are known as parthenocarpic fruits. This means that this flesh of the fruit ripens without the seeds having to be fertilized.

Helps to improve digestive health

One of the health benefits of bananas is the fact that they can contribute to improving the digestive system. Each banana contains an average of about 3 grams of fiber. This is almost ten percent of the daily amount of fiber one should be consuming. The fiber which is present in bananas does not only help to prevent constipation, but it can also play a role in preventing unwanted digestive symptoms such as bloating. Moreover, fiber helps to regulate and maintain regular bowel movements. This is due to the fact that is binds toxins and waste together within the digestive tract. It then aids the body to pull them out and thereby keep the digestive tract healthy. Dietary fiber can also help to stay full for longer. This is also a reason why the fruit makes a great snack. This will be explored later in this article. Various studies have been conducted on dietary fiber and its influence on the human body. These studies have concluded that dietary fiber can protect you against cardiac arrest, stroke and various heart diseases. Another health benefit of fiber is the fact that it reduces inflammation by keeping the arteries clear from plague which can be built up. Also, since the fruit is easy to digest it can also help to prevent diarrhea. One of the nutrients which plays an important role in this process is potassium. Bananas are one of the richest sources of potassium in the world. Each banana contains an average of 500 mg of potassium. For those people who are physically active, potassium is especially important. In the body, the nutrients acts as an electrolyte and it promotes circulatory health. This means that is plays a role in managing blood flow and hydration levels. Also, it helps oxygen to reach the cells. Potassium also has an influence on preventing high blood pressure. It does not only help to decrease the risk of heart diseases and strokes, but it also regulates blood circulation in the body. Since potassium counters the effect of sodium in blood, it helps to lower high blood pressure as well. Some people take potassium supplements to benefit from this nutrient. However, various studies have indicated that the best way to benefit from this nutrient is by consuming it naturally. Thus, it is therefore recommended to eat bananas if you want to benefit from this nutrient. Additionally, potassium can assist in the prevention of muscle cramps. This makes the nutrient particularly important for those people who are physically active or might be recovering from a muscle injury.

Affordable and low in calorie snack

Besides the fact that bananas provide many health benefits, they are also low in calories. They contain about hundred calories per piece. Compared to many other snacks which are currently offered in supermarkets, bananas make a great and healthy snacks. This is not only because they make you full for a longer period of time, but most importantly because they are full of nutrients and fiber. Thus, bananas make a great snack for everyone who wants to lose weight or is just watching their calorie intake. Since bananas make you full for a longer period of time, they can help to prevent you from eating other processed foods. Also, since bananas are generally a sweet fruit, they can also satisfy your sweet tooth without having to feel guilty about eating it.  Many people say they do not eat fruits because they do not have time. They often think that it takes a long time to prepare. For example, it takes time to clean berries, put them in a container and carry them around. This is not the case for bananas. They are not only easily portable but they also do not have to be stored in the refrigerator. Thus, not having time is not an excuse anymore not to be eating fruits. Since they are easily portable, you might want to keep a few bananas on your desk or in your car, in case you feel like you want a quick snack between meals. Another benefit of bananas is that they are one of the least expensive fruits.

Side effects and concerns

While bananas are full of healthy nutrients and are perfect as a healthy and quick snack, they might not be the best choice of fruit for everyone. People who have trouble keeping their blood sugar levels at a healthy level should make sure that they consume bananas in moderation, or not at all. This is due to the fact that bananas are a source of natural sugars which can cause highs and lows in the blood sugar levels. Other fruits, such as citrus, kiwis and berries, are higher in fiber and lower in sugar compared to bananas. Berries are an example of fruits which have an ideal sugar to fiber ratio. They are high in fiber and relatively low in sugar. Also, they are high in antioxidants which also have a positive influence on the body. Thus, for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is recommended to consume fruits such as kiwis, citrus or green apples instead of bananas. These fruits are considered to have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar levels.

How to select and store

Most people know bananas as having a bright yellow colour. However, bananas are actually green when they are picked off the tree. Most supermarkets, however, do not sell these bananas since they are not fully ripe by this time. When buying bananas there are a few things you should pay attention to. When choosing your bananas, make sure that they are firm and not too hard. They should also be free from any bruises of dark spots. While it is normal for bananas to have a few dark brown or black spots, make sure that the fruit is not bruised. The size of the banana does not have an effect on its quality. Thus, you can choose the size you prefer. Moreover, while bananas might look resilient they are actually rather fragile. If the bananas are not fully ripe yet, let them ripe at room temperature and do not expose them to either very hot or cold temperatures. If you want to fasten the ripening process, it is recommended to place the fruit in a paper bag. Place an apple inside the paper bag as well since this will accelerate the ripening process.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 3257x
Added: 01-02-2017 17:07
Last modified: 05-04-2017 21:32

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