The banana: properties, benefits, and myths
The banana: properties, benefits, and myths
Banana is one of the most consumed and known fruits, mainly because of its high potassium content. But, beyond this mineral, what more benefits can banana bring to health?
Watermelons, nectarines, melons, plums … Summer is the time when the greatest variety of fruits can be found in the market to get out of the food routine. Still, there are fruits that are available all year round for their timelessness, such as apple, orange or banana.
The latter, the banana, thanks to its annual stay in the greengrocers becomes a perfect source of nutrients to add to the diet, with the Canary Islands being the most famous.
What does the banana contribute?
Although it is mainly known for its high potassium component, the truth is that it is also a rich source of two other minerals, magnesium and phosphorus, as indicated by Ana Molina Jiménez, licensed in Pharmacy and dietitian and nutritionist in AM Integral Nutrition.
In addition to these minerals, the nutritionist also highlights in the banana the presence of folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin B6 and, depending on the degree of maturation, some levels of fiber and sugar or others.
Regarding if there is any specific limit or amount for the consumption of bananas, the specialist appeals to common sense and seasonality of fruits. For her, the ideal is to ” vary from fruit to get different nutrients,” he says.
The benefits in …
It is common to see athletes eat bananas before, during or after training or competition. This is due to the high content of potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The combination of the three favors muscle recovery and nerve impulses. Specifically, potassium benefits blood pressure and muscle activity.
“It also has a small amount of sodium, ” says Molina, that along with its content in sugars, potassium, and magnesium, makes it ideal for muscle recovery, which “will be infinitely better, healthier and less fat than any commercial beverage isotonic type ”that is usually used.
The fiber that contains the banana is known as fructooligosaccharides and helps intestinal transit. According to Ana Molina, the less ripe the fruit is, it has higher fiber content, so it is recommended for “cases of diarrhea, as it helps to cut it,” he says.
On the other hand, fructo-oligosaccharides not only influence transit but once they are fermented by the intestinal flora, “they generate substances that also benefit the immune system,” he explains.
For the entire population
Although it is a fruit recommended for the entire population, Ana Molina advises, above all, those groups of people who are growing or who require stronger nutrition. For children, bananas are a great source of energy, as for older people, to whom the nutritionist suggests their consumption.
Due to its benefits for the immune system, Molina recommends it to people who have gone through a disease that has left them weakened or who suffer cases of permanent stress that make their immune system weaken.
The only restriction that the nutritionist points out is about those who suffer from kidney failure. These people need a low potassium diet, so the consumption of bananas should be regulated depending on the other sources of this mineral integrated into the diet of the affected.
Myth or Reality?
The banana has always been wrapped in some myths that balance between the hoax and truthfulness. One of the most entrenched is that the banana is fattening and, according to Ana Molina, it is totally false.
A ripe banana has more sugar than green, but not fattening. Even it is usually included in diets for people with diabetes or weight loss, since “it generates a feeling of satiety,” says the specialist, who emphasizes that what makes you fat are excesses, such as “beers or extra bread,” fats Processed or sedentary, not fruit.
It is also often said that bananas prevent cancer. The first thing Ana Molina insists on is that ” no food cures or prevents cancer, it is the whole food that helps prevent”.
The dietitian recognizes that the substances that the fructo-oligosaccharides of the banana generate when fermented by the intestinal flora, butyric acid, and propionic acid, have been studied and can be beneficial for prevention, but at no time can it be called Banana as an “anti-cancer” food.