According to studies, women are more conscientious about maintaining a healthy and sustainable lifestyle than men. I mean how can they not?  They have to be in good shape with plenty of energy to keep up with the kids, handle heavy workloads and still have the get-up-and-go to enjoy social activities. A great deal of this care and maintenance comes from the foods we consume. A huge amount of nutrition comes from - of all things - the banana. 

Yep, there is a reason why all of our smoothies contain this sweet goodness. A banana a day, or several times a week, combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, is an excellent way to kick start a healthy lifestyle.

Bananas, Weight Loss and Glucose Control

Bananas aid in building lean muscle mass. One banana contains about 34 mg of magnesium. Magnesium assists with muscle relaxation and contractions, and also helps to synthesize proteins, leading to lipolysis - the breaking down and releasing of fats and fatty acids. We’ve all heard plenty of info about fiber, right? Fiber is known to keep you full and slow down digestion which, in turn, will contribute to losing weight. Bananas are full of the stuff - about 12% of the recommended daily value of fiber, in fact.

Here’s a fun fact: The greener the banana, the better it is for weight loss. The real green ones have a lot more starch, specifically resistant starch, which takes longer to digest, as it mimics soluble fiber. Green bananas are the way to go if you’ve got diabetes or are a pre-diabetic, or if you’re just watching your sugar intake. The time it takes to digest the resistant starch helps keep those glucose levels down. Yet another reason to make green bananas part of your healthy diet.

Don’t Forget the Peel

Did you know that you can eat the banana peel? Yep! That floppy, stringy peel that ends up in the trash is full of fiber - it’s is around 71 to 83% fiber. The peel comes complete with an abundance of potassium and is a great boost for a healthy gut. It’s also got loads of antioxidants that are essential to maintaining a strong immune system, thus keeping a wide array of diseases at bay. If you’re feeling like “Yuck! Not the peel!” right now, don’t worry, there are plenty of online recipes for banana peels, so take a chance and check them out. Be sure to wash the peels thoroughly before consuming, in case (most cases) pesticides were used.

Blood Pressure and Mood Regulator

The amount of potassium in one banana - around 450 mg - contributes to maintaining normal blood pressure. Healthy potassium levels regulate the sodium levels in your blood vessels. This harmonious function works to keep your blood pressure in the normal range. Potassium reduces the risk of having a stroke and heart disease by helping to eliminate sodium. The potassium, along with the resistant starch contained in bananas, is also an excellent metabolism booster, which comes in handy if you’re trying to get rid of those love handles. Moreover, bananas contain vitamin B9 and tryptophan, important nutrients that are known to help ward off depression. These nutrients in bananas boost serotonin. Serotonin helps with so many things, including sleep, bone health, digestion, anti-anxiety and even sexual appetite. If you’ve been feeling down lately, or if you’re just not in the mood, eat a banana (or a Smoothie-N-Go? Anyone?)

Bananas for Your Hair and Skin

What do bananas have to do with hair? Firstly, they can keep the sun and pollutants in the air from damaging those tresses. Bananas are rich in potassium, antioxidants and vitamin B. When combined in one delicious fruit, these nutrients can make your hair thick and vibrant again, despite the damaging effects of the environment that tend to break down and weaken hair. You can even apply banana directly to your dry, damaged hair. Just give it a shot when nobody is looking!

All in all, there is several ways to utilize this fruit. You can nourish your skin by either eating bananas, or applying a banana mask directly to your skin. Bananas have high contents of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, along with potassium and biotin. One such nutrient is Vitamin A, which is a great moisturizer.

There’s no time like the present to get on track with living the healthy life. Eating well is the #1 place to start. It’s never too late to go bananas!