Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Health Food of the month - Bananas

September 2018


bananas

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Gooseberries

Grains

Tea


 

Diet & Supplements Index

It can be a good idea to go bananas!

Bananas are so easy to eat, and taste so sweet and lovely, that not everyone realises they are also a serious health food.

But they are! Bananas offer a huge range of benefits for every age group.

One of the key benefits from bananas is their high levels of potassium. Potassium is a natural mineral that plays a vital part in our wellbeing. It helps to maintain fluid levels in our body and also helps to regulate the flow of nutrients and waste products to and from our cells. It also helps muscles to operate properly and nerve cells to respond. Importantly, the potassium in banana can help the heart to beat regularly and reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure.

A medium sized banana will contain around 400 milligrams of potassium. Baked potatoes are another great source of potassium...but unless you smother them with a sauce they certainly aren’t as tasty!

Along with potassium, a medium bananas will also offer 34 mg of magnesium. This essential mineral is used in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Stored in our bones and organs, one of its primary functions is to help keep muscles and nerves healthy. While you can find it in many foods, magnesium deficiency is extremely common. Plus, as we age, we need more. For our over 50 age group, the recommended daily allowance for men is over 400 mg a day and for women 300 mg a day. Other good sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, mackerel and spinach. But bananas are a great easy to eat boost for magnesium levels.

At lower levels bananas also offer a great range of useful vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C and niacin.

Many people recommend eating a banana thanks to its high fibre content...a medium banana will contain around 3 g of fibre. There are various suggested levels for health fibre intake, the American Institute of Medicine suggest men need 38 grams and women 25 grams of fibre a day, yet in fact an average adult only eats about 15 grams of fibre a day. Reaching for a banana is a quick and tasty way to boost your fibre intake.

As with so many natural health foods, there can be a downside for us as we age. If you are on beta blockers, then a sudden lift in potassium levels from eating extra bananas can be dangerous. Beta-blockers can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood and this can be especially harmful if the kidneys are not fully functional.

But generally bananas are a great health food, easy to buy, easy to keep and easy to eat. If only all the foods that were good for us were this easy!

For more information on bananas, the UK has an excellent site called Banana Link which has an aim to help fair and sustainable trade in bananas.


 


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

 

Latest Articles:

Health food of the month: Goats' meat

Goats' meat

Low in fat and high in protein, it is no wonder that goats’ meat is finally coming onto British menus.

more

AXA Health: How to tell if it’s time for a knee replacement

Having a damaged knee replaced can improve your quality of life dramatically. When you’re weighing up whether now is the right time, talking it through with your doctor should come top of your to-do list. 

more

Get in the flow with Tai Chi

man and woman doing tai chi

Did anyone out there hear of Tai Chi in the 1960s or 1970s? It was really only in the 1990s that this eastern form of martial art really started to take off globally. Now Tai Chi is practiced by an estimated 240 million people worldwide, including thousands here in the UK, and is said to be of enormous benefit especially to older people.

more

Was an alcohol free January worth it?

man drinking alcohol

Dry January is over, but no doubt there will be other ideas for giving up alcohol before the next big event, MacMillan’s Cancer’s “Go Sober for October”, kicks in. But how worthwhile is all this abstinence?

more

Back to LaterLife Health Section

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti