Leaky gut is a digestive system disorder where gut walls or the intestinal walls tear due to several reasons, discussed below. This results in the mixing of harmful bacteria and pathogens into the blood streams which causes inflammation, joint pains, immune health disorders, upset stomach, several chronic illnesses, chronic fatigue, brain fog, general health problems, unhealthy bloating, etc.
The causes behind the occurrence of leaky gut syndrome or LGS include – dysbiosis (unbalanced gut flora), diseases like celiac, etc. However bacterial imbalance in the gut is held as the main reason behind this painful clinical illness. Bananas are considered to be a healthy natural remedy for leaky gut. It is popularly known to stabilize gut bacteria and prevent inflammation. Here is all about the history, good properties, nutritional makeup, and more about bananas!
The place of origin of this popular fruit is difficult to pinpoint, however the year can be confirmed to be around 8000 – 5000 BCE. The history of bananas, according to some researchers, began in Southeast Asia and South Pacific. More specifically, its origin has been said to be from New Guinea. Where it was first domesticated by the Kuk.
It is a natural goodness rich in nourishing vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics. Since its discovery, it has become a popular fruit known all across the globe. Its popularity makes it one of the most easily accessible and highly recommended fruits by dietitians and medical professionals.
Prebiotics are foods or energy sources for the probiotics that aid in the beneficial gut microbiota. They are a special type of carbs and fibers that you cannot digest. It is delivered to the lower gastrointestinal tract and the small intestine where it feeds the good gut bacteria. And probiotics are healthy bacteria that aid with digestion, nutrition absorption, immune health regulation, and even mental health, if you are confused between prebiotics and probiotics, then here is how this guide can help. Bananas are one of the best prebiotics that provides adequate nutrition and prebiotics to the gut to improve your gut microbial composition.
There are several physical, immune, and mental disorders that are closely linked with imbalanced gut microbiota or dysbiosis. Several studies and analysis of journals and research papers on this topic have amounted to the same conclusion. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, Celiac disease, chronic fatigue, chronic inflammation, brain fog, etc. all arise out of this intestinal microbial disorder. Even mental health disorders like autism, vision problems, and neuro-developmental disorders arise out of gut microbial disorders, namely dysbiosis. This happens due to the disturbance in the gut-brain axis, which can be taken care of with the use of a high-quality probiotic supplements, read more about the Top 10 Best Probiotic Supplements!
Effect of Bananas on the Gut Health
Eating a banana as a part of your diet, twice or thrice a week can heavily benefit you. It is one of the healthiest foods in the world. However, do not eat a banana daily or it may cause constipation or bloating, etc. Its positive effects on the gut include aiding our digestive process and normal bowel movements. It also aids in lowering symptoms of several gut health issues by helping regulate and refresh our gut microbiome.
Here are some of the many benefits of bananas on our stomach.
- Bananas serve as a type of prebiotic fiber which nourishes the beneficial bacteria called probiotics in our gut. Prebiotic foods are known to help treat many gastrointestinal infections and also ease IBS.
- The nutrition from bananas helps strengthen gut walls and has a positive effect on our gut microbiome. Balanced good gut flora helps lower the risks of the leaky gut syndrome as it provides protection against intestinal permeability. They also help improve digestion and benefit gut health.
- Research explains that bananas provide fiber and resistant starch to help produce butyrate (also known as butyric acid). It is one of the three main fatty acids in the gut. A research study published has shown that proper levels of these fatty acids have been associated with reduced abdominal discomfort for those with irritable bowel syndrome. Butyrate has also been shown to promote healthy digestion by reducing inflammation and promoting intestinal function. Butyrate is associated with a possibly lower risk of developing colon cancer as well.
- It provides Immune Support –
The immune system needs an adequate amount of protein, essential fatty acids, and at least 11 vitamins and minerals that work together to keep the immune system healthy. One medium banana, about 8 inches long, has 2 percent of the recommended daily intake of five of the 11 nutrients: vitamin A, zinc, Iron, selenium, and protein. It also provides hefty amounts of four other nutrients required for a normal immune response. To boost your immunity, riper ones work best.
- It helps to Manage High Blood Pressure –
Physicians recommend eating bananas for patients who need to lower high blood pressure since the fruit is high in potassium.
- Helps with Weight and Diabetes Management –
The high fiber content in them is beneficial for weight management, as fiber intake helps make you feel fuller without overeating. Fiber also reduces the absorption of fat and carbohydrates when foods travel through the gut.
- Eating bananas are actually Good for Skin and Hair –
Bananas are rich in manganese which helps our skin produce collagen and protect cells from the harmful effect of free radicals. They help protect skin and hair from aging and stop wrinkling. They also contain silica, a mineral element that helps our body synthesize collagen, eventually making our hair thicker, shiner, and many times stronger.
Green Banana –
You may assume that ripe yellow bananas are best suited to be consumed. But bananas are safe to eat at any stage of their development. Green bananas contain resistant starch or insoluble fiber.
- It is also able to add size and density to the stools which encourage easier channeling of food through the digestive tracts that help fight constipation.
- It may also regulate low blood sugar levels thereby helping manage diabetes. However, because the resistant starch changes to simple sugars when they turn yellow, it is advisable for diabetic patients to use the unripe variant instead.
- Unripe bananas are also more suitable due to the lower sugar content and glycemic index or GI.
They can be cooked into so many various mouth-watering meals as well. Simply delicious and promotes natural healing!
Yellow Banana –
Yellow bananas are an amazing source of energy as they are rich in simple sugars and are fat and cholesterol free. It is also convenient to eat on the go without any preparation and can serve as an ideal pre or post-workout diet snack.
- The yellow ones contain antioxidants that protect our bodies from various illnesses including leaky gut, digestive disorders, acid reflux, etc.
- The antioxidant properties of yellow ones reduce the risk of heart health disease, kidney disease, as well as neurodegenerative disorders.
Dopamine from bananas does not cross the blood-brain barrier so sadly, you won’t get that immediate boost of mood-lifting feeling on eating them. It has no part in regulating hormones or mood as observed by research. Bananas typically have a higher sugar content as they age and so the yellow ones are on the sweeter side. It can be enjoyed as a quick snack to eat in between or as a part of your diet.
Brown Banana –
Brown bananas contain the mood-altering amino acid tryptophan. In a report by clinical studies, tryptophan is said to regulate your moods and have a positive effect on mental health. It can help ease depression, and anxiety and also help you sleep better. The older a banana gets, the easier they are to digest making brown ones ideal for those with digestive issues. They contain high doses of antioxidants and are considered to be highly nutritional.
So, if you are thinking of throwing away your brown or bruised bananas, make sure you don’t. Use a frozen mushy banana to make some delicious smoothies and relish the healthful treat.
Bananas can be enjoyed in all of their three main stages of shelf life. Green ones can be cooked into curry or gravy. Yellow ones are to be enjoyed raw. Brown and mushy ones may also be enjoyed raw or may be made into a quick and easy smoothie, etc. All of these good gut health-regulating dishes are delicious and easy to prepare.
Here are some simple but healthy tips and recipes for eating bananas as a part of your diet –
- Banana pancakes –
Fry a mixture of mashed-up bananas and whisked eggs over low or medium heat. Add vanilla or chocolate chips for some delicious indulgence!
- Banana smoothie –
Blend one frozen banana, milk and a few cubes of ice.
- Banana sandwiches –
2 slices of whole meal bread with a banana (sliced) and peanut butter or butter spread.
- Banana fruit salad –
Slice your favorite mixture of fruits and include banana slices into the salad bowl. Add salt and lemon juice for a burst of flavor and tons of healthiness.
- Banana ice cream –
Slice up one or two ripened brown bananas and freeze them. Blend them into a creamy consistency and freeze the paste before consuming.
Numerous research and lab tests have confirmed its nutritional benefits and how each nutrient affects our gut health:
Bananas are rich in essential nutrients –
- Calories –
They are high in fiber but low in calories. A medium banana contains 105 calories, on average. However, the number varies according to size.
- Protein –
Protein is a major component essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, tissue repair, muscle building, bone health, etc. They contain just enough protein and hence are considered to be a great pre-workout food.
- Carbs –
They contain high amounts of natural carbs. A banana’s ripeness may affect its carb contents. Generally, unripe bananas contain fewer digestible carbs than ripe ones. The natural carbs are good for healing leaky gut.
- Fiber –
One banana contains 2-4 grams of fiber, depending on its size. They are also a good source of other types of fiber such as pectin. Their high fiber content keeps you full longer, helping your appetite stay in check. This promotes healthy weight loss and is an amazing addition to your diet. The fibers also help as a nutritional source for the good bacteria in your small intestine.
- Vitamin C –
It helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals and boosts the immune system, aiding our organs to heal faster. One medium banana can supply 11 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C also promotes the growth of collagen which is a protein that helps build your bones, skin, and tissues.
As we age, we tend to lose the amount of collagen we naturally produce. Therefore, having enough vitamin C can help your skin stay youthful for years.
- Vitamin B6 –
There is a high content of vitamin B6 which aids in brain development and helps regulate our nervous system and immune health. It also helps to create neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers that help in sending messages from the brain throughout the body. Vitamin B6 may also help in regulating homocysteine, which is an amino acid linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Vitamin B6 also helps maintain the level of homocysteine, which can reduce the risk of developing these health disorders in the future. Researchers also show that a lack of vitamin B6 correlates to cognitive decline. So, it is very important to consume vitamin B6 in your diet and it is also a reason why bananas are good for you.
- Riboflavin –
Also known as vitamin B2. One medium banana contains 5 percent of the DV of B2. Riboflavin also aids your liver in detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs. As it is necessary for having a healthy liver, it is also necessary for good gut health and improved digestion.
- Folate –
Folate is important for red blood cell formation and for healthy cell growth function. Some studies suggest that folate may offer protection against certain cancers as well. Low folate levels are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, such as breast, lung, and stomach cancer, etc. Folate is present in a wide range of foods including vegetables, legumes, eggs, etc. One medium banana contains 6 percent of its DV.
- Niacin –
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a micro-nutrient that your body uses for proper metabolism boosts, nervous system function, and antioxidant protection. The basic type of raw banana contains 100 g or 0.665 mg of niacin. Niacin helps produce the required fats and acts as a cofactor in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Copper –
Dietary natural copper has a significant role in maintaining the intestinal barrier and in regulating good bacteria in the gut. Low copper levels in the body may result in anemia, low white blood cell count, unnatural weight gain, thyroid problems, etc.
- Potassium –
Bananas are a good source of potassium. It helps in lowering blood pressure in people with elevated levels of such and promotes better heart health. Potassium is essential for maintaining our body’s fluid balance and it also helps regulate the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells.
- Magnesium –
One banana contains 8 percent of its DV. Magnesium helps your heart, muscle, immune health, and overall health to function properly. This mineral is responsible for producing a good mood and healthy sleep. As a result, it makes you feel more relaxed and happier.
- Full of antioxidants –
Bananas are a good source of natural antioxidants that ensure many health benefits. They contain several types of potent antioxidants as well, such as flavonoids and amines. They also help reduce the chances of heart disease and help prevent oxidative damage to your cells caused by free radicals.
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? And did you know that a healthy gut is a key to a happy and successful life? Now that you know how a Banana can help promote gut health and most importantly a banana can be added to your daily routine without any side effects. So, if you have been avoiding this fruit, make sure you don’t anymore. Besides, banana, you can also learn more about Gut Health Foods from here!