Practical and tasty, the banana is the fruit that can accompany us everywhere, on a trip, to work or to school. Very satiating and energizing, banana also has interesting health properties. Let's learn more about this topic, also trying to understand if there are any contraindications.
Banana is rich in carbohydrates, present in the form of starches, sugars and fibers such as pectin. Not only that, the banana also contains proteins, fatty acids, carotenoids, minerals, including potassium and magnesium, and vitamins, such as C and B vitamins, including B3, B6 and B12, which are important for the health of the nervous system and of the immune system (Khoozani et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2019). But banana is also a source of phenolic compounds, including caffeic, ellagic and ferulic acids, tannins, quercetin and kaempferol, which are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, antitumor and antidiabetic action (Sarma et al, Food Funct, 2021). In addition, the banana also provides phytosterols, such as beta sitosterol and campesterol, that act by modulating the immune system, helping to fight tumors and cholesterol accumulation. Also noteworthy is the fact that bananas increase serotonin levels in the blood, with benefits for mood and cognitive function (Mondal et al, Front Oncol, 2021).
Banana and relaxation
Banana contains potassium, sugars and tryptophan and therefore has a sedative action, very useful in case of nervousness and insomnia (Aufiero, therapeutic and nutritional role of foods).
Banana and microbiota
Banana stimulates the growth of good bacteria of the intestinal microbiota, such as bifidobacteria (Mitsou et al, Anaerobe, 2011). Bifidobacteria prove beneficial for intestinal health, protect DNA from mutations, counteract diarrhea and intestinal inflammation (O'Callaghan et al, Front Microbiol, 2016).
More or less ripe banana
But is it better to choose a more or less ripe banana? In addition to the taste, are the properties also modified according to the degree of ripeness? Let us try to answer these questions. Not too ripe banana helps with stomach acid. Not only that, since the carbohydrates in the less ripe banana are generally made up of starches and resistant starches, a type of dietary fiber, this is beneficial for the health and functionality of the colon, contributes and keeps cholesterol and blood sugar under control, stimulates the absorption of vitamins and the production of B vitamins, as well as supporting the immune system (Falcomer et al, Nutrients, 2019 - Khoozani et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2019). Instead, as the banana ripens, the starches are replaced by sugars and therefore the fruit becomes sweeter, making it less suitable for diabetes (Aufiero, therapeutic and nutritional role of foods). However, in this case the riper banana is more digestible (Khoozani et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2019). As for pectin, a substance that helps counter constipation, this is found in both ripe and less ripe bananas.
Banana and milk
The food combination given by a glass of milk and a banana is a real and very useful remedy in case of anxiety and nervousness, even with tachycardia. Not only that, this association also has a diuretic action. The properties exhibited are due to the combined action of calcium, tryptophan and serotonin in milk and potassium and fructose in banana. However, avoid this association if you have a lactose intolerance, milk or banana allergies or if you suffer from diabetes (Aufiero, therapeutic and nutritional role of foods).