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15 AMAZING Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Posted on May 24, 2018 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)



Cayenne Pepper Nutrition Facts

Cayenne is a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen. Cayenne chili peppers belong to the genus Capsicum and come from a similar cultivar of Capsicum annuum. Capsicum is an herb, and the fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.

The pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids – which provides its powerful antioxidant properties.

Here are the cayenne pepper nutrition facts, listed in recommended daily values; 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper contains:

17 calories

1 gram of fat

2 milligrams sodium

3 grams carbohydrate

1 gram dietary fiber

1 gram sugar

1 gram protein

44 percent vitamin A

8 percent vitamin E

7 percent vitamin C

6 percent vitamin B6

5 percent vitamin K

5 percent manganese

3 percent potassium

No cholesterol

Cayenne pepper nutrition - Dr. Axe

15 Cayenne Pepper Benefits

1. Helps Digestion

One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is important for excellent digestion as well as preventing bad breath. Consuming cayenne pepper stimulates our salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process. (1)

Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. It also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins. (2)

2. Relieves Migraine Pain

Researchers suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its spice, is able to stimulate a pain response in a different part of the body. Once this happens, the brain puts its attention on that new site and will no longer concentrate on the pain in the head, which causes the migraine.

After this initial pain reaction from the cayenne pepper, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P, or pain chemical, and the sensation of pain is lessened. You are basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals. (3, 4)

3. Prevents Blood Clots

Blood clots are blockages in your arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through your circulatory system. Cayenne encourages fibrinolytic activity and helps prevent blood clots. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots. (5, 6)

4. Provides Detox Support

Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity. Cayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body. Cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism. (7, 8)

5. Relieves Joint and Nerve Pain

Cayenne power has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.

Studies have found that cayenne pepper relieves pain after surgery, such as a mastectomy or an amputation. It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms like joint or muscle pain. (9)

6. Supports Weight Loss

Studies have found that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. As one of the key anti-inflammatory foods, cayenne pepper benefits also include weight loss. Cayenne pepper has the power to soothe inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections. (2, 8)

7. Works as Anti-Irritant

Cayenne pepper benefits include its anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs, cough and even potentially cure diarrhea. The common belief is that cayenne pepper, when consumed in excessive amounts, leads to gastric ulcers because of its irritant and acid-secreting nature. People with ulcers are actually advised to limit or avoid using cayenne pepper; however, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chili, or its active principle “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms but a benefactor.

Studies have found that cayenne pepper does not stimulate, but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers. (9)

15 cayenne pepper benefits - Dr. Axe

8. Treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.

Two trials showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis. The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis. The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients; psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching. (10)

9. Boosts Metabolism

Cayenne pepper benefits also include its ability to regulate your metabolism. Cayenne pepper has been found to effectively suppress hunger and normalize glucose levels. It keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

10. Fights Cold and Flu

Cayenne pepper benefits include being full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system. It aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus, and once this nasty mucus leaves the body, the symptoms of the flu or cold will diminish. Besides helping you beat a cold or flu, cayenne pepper also raises your body temperature, which makes you sweat and increases the activity of your immune system. As a vitamin C food in cayenne pepper will also help you to kick that nasty cold.

11. Source of Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin; it is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by fighting free radicals. Studies have repeatedly shown that antioxidants like vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity and foster cell growth.

Lucky for us, cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin A; in fact, with just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, you are getting your fill of vitamin A for the day!

12. Contains Vitamin E

Vitamin E benefits include helping many organs in the body function properly and is extremely useful in naturally slowing the aging process. This important and beneficial vitamin has the power to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, repair damaged skin, balance hormones, repair damaged skin and hair, improve vision and increase energy levels … and cayenne pepper is an important provider of vitamin E.

13. Prevents Allergies

Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food. Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.

Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. (Take my leaky gut test if you want to know if you have it.) When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.

14. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent

Studies suggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer. One study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations. (11)

There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers. Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper.

15. Anti-Fungal Properties

The final cayenne pepper benefit is its ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Cayenne pepper was investigated to determine its in vitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.

Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces however, the typical candida symptoms may appear; this includes hormone imbalance, joint pain, digestive problems and a weak immune system. (12)

History & Interesting Facts About Cayenne Pepper

The chili originated in Central and South America. It’s named after the capital city of the French Guiana, Cayenne. From seeds found on the floors of caves that were ancient human dwellings and from ancient fossil feces, scientists have found that people were eating peppers as early as 7000 B.C.

Cayenne is one of the main foods of the Hunzas in Asia, along with apricots and their pits, millet, and other simple foods. These people live to over a hundred years of age, which some say is because of their natural immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory foods that they consume daily. Cayenne peppers were even growing in the Hawaiian Islands in as early as 1897; these smaller and more pungent fruits were called “Hawaiian Chili Peppers.”

Today, you can find cayenne pepper all over the world, and it’s beginning to get a reputation for its health benefits. An interesting and popular detox and weight loss regime recently has been the cayenne pepper diet, which is a “cleanse” that flushes toxins from the body. The diet consists of a lemon and cayenne drink that is consumed about six times a day, and this lasts for about 10 days. The drink recipe calls for two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, two tablespoons of real maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne pepper and eight ounces of water.

How to Use/Cook Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers are available year around in the markets; you can find them in fresh, dried or powdered form. Because powdered cayenne pepper is sometimes a mix a poorer quality herbs, it’s best to buy cayenne peppers fresh; however, if you are using dried or powered pepper, the health benefits are still awesome.

In the store, look for raw, fresh chilies that have a brilliant red color and a healthy stem. Make sure there aren’t any spots, mold or spoiled tips. The pepper should look wholesome and firm. Once at home, store your peppers inside the refrigerator in a plastic bag; they will stay fresh for about a week.

Dry peppers are also available at the supermarket, especially health food stores. Dry peppers can be stored using airtight containers in a cool and dark place. Dried cayenne peppers can be milled to powder using a hand mill, or you can buy dry powder instead. Go for powders that are authentic and branded products — there are even organic options.

Fresh cayenne chili peppers can be used to make spicy drinks, sauce, chutney or can even be used for pickling. Make sure you wash them well first — you want to use any dirt, sand or fungicides.

Dried or powdered cayenne pepper is added to meals for a spicy (and healthy) kick. It can be added to meat, pasta, eggs, nuts and veggies — there are a ton of options. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon or so, and then work your way up; remember that it adds heat and can be too much for people who are spice-sensitive.

If you want a quick fix that will help you to experience these amazing cayenne pepper benefits, an easy way to get it in your body is by mixing it in a drink with water and lemon, which is similar to the drink consumed during the cayenne pepper diet, so it will give you the same detoxifying results.

There are also creams that contain capsaicin, the main component of cayenne pepper, that can be found in most stores. These creams are used to treat skin infections, sore muscles and tension. By rubbing a small amount of cream on the affected area, you will feel the pain and irritation subside.

If you are using a cream, make sure to read the directions carefully so that you don’t use too much. Also, be sure to wash your hands after applying capsaicin cream because it can cause a burning sensation on your hands; try washing with vinegar and water for the best results.



Source:  https://draxe.com/cayenne-pepper-benefits/

 

11 Surprising Matcha Tea Benefits

Posted on May 23, 2018 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)


The rich antioxidants present in matcha tea help in cancer prevention, improved mental alertness and clarity, detoxification, free radical scavenging activity, and stronger immune defense. Polyphenols and catechin-rich matcha promotes relaxation and contributes beneficially to prevention and treatment of various medical conditions. These include bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, cancer, and type-2 diabetes. Matcha tea also assists in maintaining cardiovascular health, gastrointestinal health, and works as a superb energy booster.


What is Matcha?

Matcha or maccha is a finely ground, bright emerald-green tea powder with the scientific name Camellia sinensis. It is prepared from a high-quality shade-grown leaf known as tencha. The tea bushes are sheltered to avoid the exposure of direct sunlight which reduces the pace of photosynthesis and slows down the growth of plants. This provides the leaves with a darker shade of green and stimulates the production of chlorophyll and amino acids.

Nutrition Facts

Matcha is a time-honored beverage which is a source of essential nutrients.

It is rich in vitamin A, C, E, K, and vitamin B-complex

Matcha tea contains trace minerals including selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium.

It is rich in components with super antioxidant activity including polyphenols, catechins, and chlorophyll.

Matcha tea contains a high level of dietary fiber.

Presence of amino acids such as L-theanine and theophylline in the matcha tea makes it a multi nutrient-packed drink.

This green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea.

Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

The important health benefits of matcha tea have been listed below.

Provides Relaxation

Matcha tea works wonderfully well in providing a calming effect on the body. L-theanine, a unique amino acid present in this green tea, possesses anti-anxiolytic properties, which assists in boosting alpha waves in the brain. These alpha waves enhance mood, encourage relaxation, induce a profound feeling of mental clarity, and help achieve an alert state of mind.

Matcha

Rich Source of Antioxidants

Matcha tea has antioxidants such as catechins – EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which detoxifies the body. A research [12] study assessing the antioxidant power of this tea has revealed that as compared to other green teas matcha has the highest amount [13] of EGCG. These antioxidants seek out for the oxygen free radicals and neutralize their harmful effects. Thus, protecting the body from the occurrence of disorders or inflammations associated with the oxidative stress.

Detoxifies the Body

Chlorophyll present in matcha is an excellent detoxifier which helps in cleansing the blood. It aids in maintaining the alkalinity of blood and tissues. Chlorophyll also helps in preventing the association of harmful toxins with colon walls and flushes them out of the body.

Prevents Cancer

Matcha helps prevent cancer due to the presence of EGCG [5] which has chemopreventive properties. Multiple studies have shown that polyphenols present in this tea prevent the proliferation of malignant cancerous cells, and promotes induction of apoptosis. It also assists in reducing the risk of developing various [6] cancers including bladder, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.

Boosts Energy

Matcha contains a healthy form of caffeine; not to be mistaken with the one present in regular coffee. This unique form of caffeine known as theophylline sustains the energy levels without any adverse effects. The slow release of energy due to theophylline helps in supporting the functionality of adrenal glands. It also maintains optimum hormonal levels.

Prevents Eye Disorder

Consumption of matcha leads [21] to absorption of catechin in the tissues of the eye, which helps prevent blindness caused by cataracts. It also boosts vision and prevents eye disorders such as glaucoma.

Weight loss

Catechins present in matcha leads [7] to a reduction in body fat. It also boosts metabolism which further leads to decrease in body fat mass.

Improves Cognition

A study [10] suggests that theanine found in matcha tea acts as a neurotransmitter. It exerts a calming effect on the brain without causing any drowsiness. This soothing effect helped the Buddhist monks in maintaining deep concentration during their meditation sessions and was the main reason behind its popularity. Another study [11] has revealed the anti-stress effects of theanine present in this tea, which assists in reducing the physiological and psychological stress responses by inhibiting the neuron excitation. Matcha tea is also believed to boost memory and concentration.

Have a look at the benefits of Matcha Tea in the video below.

Protects from Infections

Matcha tea rich in EGCG helps fight various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. According to a research [18] study, EGCG binds to the lipid membrane and exerts inhibitory action against the growth of various human pathogens. These include influenza A virus, hepatitis B, and C virus, herpes virus, adenovirus Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and Candida albicans yeast.

Protects against HIV

Epigallocatechin present in matcha also helps in protecting the brain of HIV patients. This defensive act attributes to its penetration power through the blood-brain barriers, which are not feasible for the commercially available anti-retroviral drugs.

Improves Gastrointestinal Function

Matcha tea is useful for treating gastrointestinal disorders. A research [20] study conducted in this field has revealed that consumption of this tea stimulates the fecal excretion. It also helps the body to get rid of harmful chemicals and toxins.

Prevents Renal Damage

A research [15] conducted on diabetic subjects administered with matcha tea suggests that it helps prevent renal and hepatic damage. It does this by restraining the accumulation of advanced glycation end products in the kidneys. Green tea extracts also help to treat [22] non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Controls Type-2 Diabetes

Matcha tea is beneficial for those suffering from type-2 diabetes. It helps in maintaining [14] a healthy metabolism by lowering blood sugar levels. This antioxidant-rich tea also aids in reducing the levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, and hepatic glucose content in diabetic individuals.

Strengthens Immune System

Matcha contains various antioxidants, polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate, and L-theanine. All of these collectively contribute towards boosting the immune system and protecting against various antigens.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

EGCG present in the matcha helps to lower the cholesterol levels thereby maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. A research study [16] has suggested that EGCG also helps in reducing the accumulation of lipids and promotes autophagy in the vascular endothelial cells.


Source:  https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/matcha-tea.html




Easy To Do Meditation

Posted on January 1, 2018 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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How to Meditate

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)



How to Meditate

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It can even affect our health. We are often so busy we feel there is no time to stop and meditate! But meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance. Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation. On this website you can learn the basics of Buddhist meditation. A few books are mentioned that will help you to deepen your understanding if you wish to explore further. Anyone can benefit from the meditations given here, Buddhist or not.

Why learn to meditate

Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we get what we want, such as a new possession or a new partner, we become excited and cling to them tightly. However, since we cannot have everything we want, and since we will inevitably be separated from the friends and possessions we currently enjoy, this mental stickiness, or attachment, serves only to cause us pain. On the other hand, if we do not get what we want, or if we lose something that we like, we become despondent or irritated. For example, if we are forced to work with a colleague whom we dislike, we will probably become irritated and feel aggrieved, with the result that we will be unable to work with him or her efficiently and our time at work will become stressful and unrewarding.

By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind

Such fluctuations of mood arise because we are too closely involved in the external situation. We are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first made, but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.

If we train in meditation systematically, eventually we will be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or “nirvana”. Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness.

Breathing meditations

Generally, the purpose of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace. We can use breathing meditations alone or as a preliminary practice to reduce our distractions before engaging in a Lamrim meditation

A Simple Breathing Meditation

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid.

We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

Benefits of Meditation

If we practise patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.

Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions.

So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind

When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress.

Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calm, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.



Article from how-to-meditate.org

Image from Google Images

Bananas Have Incredible Health Benefits

Posted on June 9, 2017 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. Eating them could help lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of cancer and asthma.

Today, bananas are grown in at least 107 countries and are ranked fourth among the world's food crops in monetary value. Americans consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined.

With the world consuming so many bananas, it's not surprising that people are asking the question: are bananas good for you?

This article will take a look at the potential health benefits of bananas, such as improving heart health and promoting regularity. It also examines the possible health risks associated with them.

Contents of this article:

Possible health benefits of bananas

Health benefits of potassium

Nutritional profile of bananas

Incorporating more bananas into your diet

Risks and precautions

Possible health benefits of bananas

Listed below are the possible health benefits associated with bananas. It is important to note that more high quality studies are required before these health benefit links are proved definitive.

Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.

Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.

Asthma

A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.

Cancer

Consuming bananas, oranges, and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. As a good source of vitamin C, bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.

In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).

High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

Digestive health

Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. They are part of an approach known as the BRAT diet; this stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can replace these lost nutrients.

Bananas can also help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.

Preserving memory and boosting mood

Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.

Health benefits of potassium

Bananas are high in potassium and contain good levels of protein and dietary fiber.

Bananas are rich in a mineral called potassium. This mineral is important as it helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.

Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure.

Potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones forming as people age. In turn, healthy kidneys make sure that the right amount of potassium is kept in the body.

One medium-sized banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium.

Nutritional profile of bananas

One serving of banana is considered to be about 126 grams. One serving of banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin B6 - .5 mg

Manganese - .3 mg

Vitamin C - 9 mg

Potassium - 450 mg

Dietary Fiber - 3g

Protein - 1 g

Magnesium - 34 mg

Folate - 25.0 mcg

Riboflavin - .1 mg

Niacin - .8 mg

Vitamin A - 81 IU

Iron - .3 mg

The recommended intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 milligrams per day.

Incorporating more bananas into your diet

Bananas and oatmeal

Add a sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast.

Fresh bananas are available year-round. Unlike other fruits, the ripening process of bananas does not slow down after they are picked. Bananas should be stored at room temperature.

The warmer the temperature, the faster bananas will ripen. However, to slow ripening, bananas should be refrigerated. The outer peel of the banana will darken but the banana itself will stay intact longer.

To encourage faster ripening, place the banana in a brown paper bag at room temperature.

In 2008, a popular diet fad known as the Morning Banana Diet recommended eating a banana in the morning along with water, eating a normal lunch and having dinner before 8pm.

Add a sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast.

Like apple sauce, ripe mashed bananas can be used in baked goods to replace oil or butter. Mashed bananas lend a moist, naturally sweet flavor to muffins, cookies and cakes.

Peel and freeze bananas for a great addition to any smoothie.

Add sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal, or take a banana with you on your way to work or school for a healthy, portable snack.

Risks and precautions

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as bananas should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

Dr. Peter S. Gelfand, who practices Internal Medicine in Long Beach NY, says:

"Certain medications used for heart disease and hypertension have the potential to increase potassium levels. Examples include certain beta-blockers such as Labetalol, medications that work by blocking the actions of the hormone aldosterone such as Lisinopril and Losartan, and certain diuretics like Spironolactone and Eplerenone. This is a partial list only, and you should consult with your doctor if potassium levels become a concern."

Some people may have an allergy to bananas. If anyone with a banana allergy eats a banana, they may experience symptoms in the mouth and throat such as itching, hives, swelling and wheezing.

Bananas may trigger migraines in some people. People who often experience migraine headaches are advised to eat no more than half a banana daily.

Bananas also contain a lot of fiber. Eating too much fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

Written by Megan Ware RDN LD

Article from medicalnewstoday.com

Image from fitbodybuzz.com


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