Lately I have been somewhat obsessed with bananas. Being insanely busy for the past two months has reintroduced me to how versatile bananas can be.
In the morning I blend them with almond milk, blueberries and medjool dates for a simple, quick and super filling smoothie or will slice them and add to my muesli or coconut milk yogurt.
When I'm really rushed for time I have a banana with a few almonds for a filling, yet healthy snack. Little did I know that in addition to being filling and convenient, bananas also have amazing benefits for skin, hair and my overall health and well-being.
The health benefits of bananas are seemingly endless. They contain flavonoids and poly-phenolics, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta and alpha carotenes, acting as free radical-destroying antioxidants.
They also are also high vitamin C, most known for its infection-fighting properties. Just one banana contains 467 mg of potassium, which is important for controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in bananas provides around 28% of what is needed daily to help prevent anemia and coronary artery disease.
The fiber content of bananas helps keep the digestive system regulated, while magnesium helps to strengthen bones and protect the heart. Manganese is needed to activate antioxidant enzyme and one banana supplies an adequate amount of copper to keep up the production of red blood cells.
Bananas have been used to settle upset stomachs (including morning sickness), reduce stress, ease heartburn pain, relieve constipation, soothe PMS symptoms, cure warts, and stimulate brain power.
In addition to the health benefits, the beautifying benefits of bananas are countless. They contain significant amounts of vitamin C and B6, which is vital in maintaining the integrity and elasticity of the skin.
In addition, the large amount of antioxidants and manganese present in banana protect the body from damage caused by free radicals which lead to premature aging of the skin. A banana has about 75% water by weight and thus helps to hydrate your skin and prevent it from drying and peeling. The potassium in a banana helps to draws out excess fluid from under the skin and reduces swelling immediately, which makes it ideal for reducing puffy eyes.
The potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates and vitamins in bananas helps to soften hair and protect hair’s natural elasticity preventing split ends and breakage. Banana also creates manageability, shine, growth and controls dandruff. Bananas can be incorporated into facial and hair masks, face and body scrubs and applied to the eye area to battle puffy eyes.
For a moisturizing facial mask: Mash one banana to the consistency of baby food (or you can blend it to make it thinner) Add one teaspoon of natural honey and mix Apply to your face Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse off with tepid water Optional: Add lemon if you have acne or yogurt for oily skin.
For a moisturizing hair mask: Puree 1-3 ripe bananas (amount of bananas depends on the length/thickness of your hair) Add 1-3 tablespoons of honey (same as above depending on length/thickness of your hair) 2 teaspoons of coconut oil Blend all ingredients and apply to your hair Leave on for 30-60 minutes (the longer the better) and rinse, shampoo and condition hair as you normally would.
Since they are available year round, bananas may not only the perfect food, but also the ultimate beauty product!