How this fruit can help exercise performance, health – and conceiving a male baby.
Superfood banana can help boost exercise performance. (Photo: StockSnap / www.pixabay.com)
1. Bananas are better than sports drinks
When scientists at Appalachian State University in the US compared the performance of athletes after eating a banana and drinking a sports drink, they fared equally well. In terms of nutritional benefits, however, researchers rated the fruit over the beverage. “Bananas come pre-packed with fibre, nutrients and antioxidants,” explains Dr David Nieman, director of the university’s Human Performance Lab.
2. Bananas help your gut
Good intestinal bacteria are essential to overall health as they regulate digestion and prevent constipation, support your immunity, synthesise essential vitamins and hormones, as well as prevent infections and diseases. Illness, surgery, antibiotics and even stress can kill off good bacteria and upset your intestinal flora balance. But your diet can help improve the ratio of good bacteria to bad.
Prebiotic and probiotic foods increase the activity of good bacteria in your gut, says Pooja Vig, nutritionist and co-founder at The Nutrition Clinic. Yogurt contains plenty of probiotics, which are similar to the good bacteria in your intestines and can help them to multiply.
In order to grow and thrive, probiotics need prebiotics – non-digestible carbohydrates that can be found in a variety of foods, including bananas. Consumed together as part of a substantial breakfast or post-workout snack, yogurt and bananas help to enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in your intestines and aid healthy digestion.
3. Bananas were shown to help in conception of a male baby
Have you heard of the old wives’ tale to “eat bananas to conceive a male baby”? (Photo: PublicDomainPictures / www.pixabay.com)
This old wives’ tale was supported by a 2008 study of 740 first-time mothers by the Oxford and Exeter universities in the UK. Researchers found that women who consumed more calories from eating bananas and cereals around the time of conception were more likely to have sons. The odds were 56 per cent of women with a high-calorie intake compared to 45 per cent with a low-calorie diet.
However, Dr Lim Min Yu, a consultant from NUH Women’s Centre at National University Hospital, says these findings could simply be attributed to chance as the UK study was not a controlled trial. Instead, it was observational and based on what mothers recalled eating.
Dr Lim emphasises that there are no foods or herbs that can influence the gender of a pregnancy. “Gender selection is technically only possible from a cycle of in vitro fertilisation with pre-implantation genetic screening, where a cell is removed from the embryo and tested for chromosomal abnormalities.” In case you were wondering, this procedure isn’t allowed in Singapore yet.