(Photo courtesy of morguefile.com)

by Margaret Okakpu

Bananas are not just for monkeys. A banana peel can relieve the itch caused by hives and bug bites, whiten your teeth, and give your leather shoes an awesome shine. The fruit itself has tons of health benefits. So it’s safe to say that they’re tasty, healthy, and super useful!

Bananas contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, biotin, manganese, and magnesium, which are all great for the human body. They are available throughout the year and last up to a week out on the counter and a little longer if refrigerated. Bananas are also pretty cheap, depending on where you are buying them.

Adding a banana to your daily diet can change your health tremendously. Bananas have the capability of leaving you feeling fuller and less likely to overeat in the dining hall. They also relieve symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, and gird. Bananas also make serotonin, the “happy hormone,” which not only helps your mood, it helps your memory too. They are a great source of energy, perfect for a serious workout and class.

Bananas also help regulate heart health. According to Mark Houston, MD, MS, the director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee, an increase in potassium intake and a decrease in sodium intake is the most effective dietary change that a person can make to reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease. A study reported in Medical News Today also found that high potassium intake is associated with reduced risk of stroke. The Food Nutrition board states that adults over the age of 19 need about 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. Depending on the size, a banana contains anywhere between 362 and 544 milligrams of the mineral. Eating two a day sets you up to easily reach the goal amount.

It’s safe to say that apples are not the only fruit that can keep you out of the doctor’s office. Make sure to pick up some bananas the next time you visit the grocery store. It’s a pretty sweet deal; you get all of these benefits for a small price.  It’s never too early to get a jump on good eating habits and it’s never to late to start snacking healthy!