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Five Reasons Bananas Should Be Your Nutritional Go-To

banana pancakes

A medium banana packs 450 milligrams of potassium. That is 13% of the potassium you need every day. Many of us know that bananas are a rich source of potassium, but what people do not know is that there are far more benefits to regularly eating the ripe yellow fruit.

Find out why WebMD describes bananas as a “nutritional powerhouse.” Here are the top five benefits of eating bananas.

1. You’ll Sleep Better

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, consider peeling a banana and eating it before bed. “Bananas help promote sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium,” Health magazine writes. That is not all. Bananas contain carbs, which make us pleasantly sleepy, and, most importantly, tryptophan. Like magnesium, tryptophan promotes relaxation. Ultimately, the tryptophan in bananas is converted to melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin regulates sleep, while serotonin encourages an overall sense of calm.

Recipe: Banana Creme Brulee. Get better sleep by enjoying a decadent dessert before tucking in. Combine bananas with milk, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Whip the ingredients together in a blender, portion out into ramekins, and bake for 50 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Bananas Can Help You Beat Depression And Anxiety

Bananas contain folate, and, as previously discussed, tryptophan. Tryptophan ultimately produces serotonin, which makes us feel better. Specifically, it reduces symptoms like agitation, fatigue, anger, anxiety, and depression. Folate works in conjunction with this tryptophan and serotonin to get it to the brain faster.

Recipe: To satisfy your sweet tooth while improving your mood, try any one of the best banana bread recipes out there. For simple banana bread, mix together flour, ripe bananas, eggs, sugar, baking soda, and melted butter, and bake in a loaf pan. Find the full recipe on AllRecipes.com.

3. Bananas Help With Satiety

If you want to stay fuller longer, eat foods that boost satiety — foods like bananas. The resistant starch in bananas fuels healthy gut bacteria. That gut bacteria, in turn, “suppresses the appetite and leads to more efficient fat oxidation,” according to Eat This, Not That! In addition, Resistant starches can buoy fat burn after meals by as much as 30%.

Further, bananas contain prebiotics that reduce bloat and promote good digestive health.

Recipe: Start your day off right with a banana pancake. Banana pancakes will keep you satisfied and full until lunch, and they taste great, too. Combine flour, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add wet ingredients, including bananas, eggs, and milk. The simple and straightforward combo make a tasty pancake mix.

4. Bananas Boost Energy

Bananas are packed with glucose. That glucose or natural sugar is easily digestible. It releases energy slowly and steadily over time, making them a great option for marathoners who want a reliable and consistent energy boost. Of course, while popular among marathoners and athletes, anyone can enjoy the energy benefits from the yellow superfood.

Recipe: Begin your day with a healthy and nutritious banana smoothie. Create a simple, healthy smoothie by blending together a banana, Greek yogurt, milk or water, and honey (an optional sweetener).

5. Bananas Are A Boon To Exercise

A troubling 95% of us report muscle aches, muscle cramps, and exercise-related soreness. Bananas can help combat all three. Plus, bananas help lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, and help your muscles work more efficiently, making them the perfect snack before and after exercise.

Recipe: To enjoy the health benefits of bananas and exercise, keep it simple. A banana pancake or two could be a great way to start your day, but not your workout. Before a workout, simply eat a banana or slice up a banana and enjoy with peanut butter or almond butter.

Enjoy all the health benefits whatever way you want. Bananas are versatile. You can toss them into a smoothie, whip them up into a batter for extra tasty banana pancakes or waffles, or use any overripe bananas you may have laying around to make an all-time favorite, banana bread.