The average fruit bowl in any American household contains a big bunch of bananas. They’re a staple fruit for most of the modern world, and for good reason. Bananas taste amazing on their own and also make a delicious base for any smoothie. They are dynamite in baking and make a fruit salad taste just that much more scrumptious.
Not only that, bananas are pretty darn healthy as well. They’re one of nature’s highest sources of potassium, an essential nutrient which is critical for both heart and kidney health. They also contain high levels of vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and copper — all very important things for your overall health! In addition to their high nutrient content, bananas contain plenty of pectin, which improves digestive health and banishes cravings.
So, they’re delicious, versatile and healthy — what more could you want in a fruit? Well, it turns out, this super fruit even has great potential as a beauty product. Surprisingly, there are plenty of ways you can use your humble banana to nourish your skin, revitalize your hair and do so much more.
The many health benefits of bananas
first and foremost, bananas are an excellent source of nutrition. They contain a relatively high amount of fiber, plenty of antioxidants and a great source of carb-loaded energy for those on-the-go. Just one banana will give you one-third of your daily vitamin B6 needs, nine percent of your potassium needs, 11 percent of your recommended vitamin C intake, and eight percent of your magnesium daily quota.
Next, if you’re looking to improve your digestive health, look no further than bananas. They contain two types of fiber: pectin and resistant starch. Pectin has been shown by various lab tests to significantly increase your ability to digest food. It is also an excellent way to calm an upset or volatile stomach.
Resistant starch, rather than being used by our digestive system, arrives relatively intact into our large intestine where it is used as a food source for beneficial gut bacteria. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that rats fed a diet high in resistant starch experienced a significant increase in beneficial bacteria and a dramatic decrease in harmful or parasitic bacteria. Just remember that the riper your bananas are, the less pectin and resistant starch they contain.
Bananas are also great for your heart
Bananas contain high levels of potassium, a mineral that is essential for heart health and balanced blood pressure. It’s also a mineral that most people aren’t getting enough of. Meaning, the more bananas in your diet, the healthier your heart.
A 2014 study published in the journal Stroke found that a higher potassium intake was associated with a lower incidence of stroke and a lower mortality rate. Another study, this time published in the Journal of Current Hypertension Reports, found that “there is a greater BP (blood pressure) reduction with an increased intake of dietary potassium.” The study also noted that “increasing consumption of potassium to 4.7 g per day predicts lower event rates for future cardiovascular disease.”
Bananas may help you lose weight
This weight loss effect may occur due to a range of factors, including greater satiety, greater insulin sensitivity and greater digestive capacity. To dive in a little further, studies have shown that 15 to 30 grams of resistant starch can improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 50 percent. Because insulin resistance can lead to weight gain and diabetes, and because green bananas contain between 10 and 30 grams of resistant starch, they may be your gateway to a slimmer physique.
The other beneficial effects of bananas which may lead to weight loss we’ve already discussed. Bananas contain plenty of fiber, which improves your satiety, leaves you feeling fuller for longer and aids your digestive system. Taken together, all these benefits mean bananas may be a valuable weight-loss tool. Just don’t go don’t go overboard eating this delicious fruit!
How to use bananas for beauty
Now that we’ve got many of banana health benefits out of the way, here’s another reason to keep your fruit bowl well-stocked with bananas: your beauty routine.
Many of the internal health benefits that bananas provide can actually be utilized for the purpose of improving your outward appearance. When mashed up, bananas also provide an excellent paste. It can be used in a variety of ways to supplement your beauty routine. You’ll also smell amazing and may even be able to throw away some of your conventional, toxic beauty products.
Banana beauty recipe #1: Anti-acne paste
The funny thing about this recipe is that it not only helps to clear up your complexion and lower your risk of future acne breakouts, it also makes a delicious meal! Simply throw one medium banana, one teaspoon of milk (you can also use coconut milk if dairy isn’t your thing), a pinch of nutmeg and one teaspoon of oatmeal into your blender. Whizz it all up into a paste, and apply it to your face or other acne-prone areas. Leave the paste to dry, then rinse it off with cool water. Trying to avoid eating this DIY beauty paste will also be great for your self-restraint abilities!
Banana beauty recipe #2: Exfoliating scrub
Ditch your usual exfoliator — it’s probably loaded with toxic chemicals and other compounds which can harm your skin, rather than heal it. Instead, mash together one banana with a handful of oatmeal and one tablespoon of coconut milk. The oats help to remove dead skin cells and add some essential colloidal nutrients into the mix. The banana and coconut milk help to hydrate your skin and provide it with a wide range of anti-aging compounds.
Banana beauty recipe #3: Hydrating face mask
For this recipe, as with all the others, you can choose to use your blender to create a workable mush or simply use a potato masher or fork to get the consistency you desire. It all looks like baby food at the end anyway! To make an ultra-moisturizing mask, blend together one banana with one tablespoon of raw honey. Using a spoon or your fingers (they may get a little sticky!), rub it onto your skin and leave for 20 minutes. After you rinse off with warm water, your skin will feel smooth and silky, on account of the hydrating effect of the banana and the active, skin-supporting enzymes in the raw honey.
Banana beauty recipe #4: Sugar scrub
If you run out of oatmeal for your daily banana exfoliating scrub, don’t panic — sugar works just as well! Any old sugar will do, as we just need to create that gritty, granular effect to get all the exfoliating benefits. Mash together one banana with around one tablespoon of sugar, and mix well until evenly distributed. Apply the exfoliating mixture to your skin using circular motions, then rinse off with cool water. Your skin will feel amazingly smooth and soft, and will look cleaner and clearer. Who said sugary baked goods weren’t healthy?
Banana beauty recipe #5: Anti-oil mix
If you have trouble with oily or clogged skin, this natural banana recipe is right up your alley. The banana provides a great base and moisturizes your skin. The lemon provides a rich source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that freshens your skin and encourages healthy cell turnover. Mash your banana first, then squeeze in two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Mix it all together until evenly combined, then apply to your skin. Leave the mixture on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off. Your skin will not only look clearer than ever before, it’s oil content will be more balanced and less likely to clog up your pores.
Banana beauty recipe #6: Anti-dandruff treatment
In a blender, mix together two whole bananas (peeled, of course) and three tablespoons of raw honey. The raw part is important, as pasteurized honey loses a lot of the active enzymes and nutrients that make honey such an amazing beauty product. Rinse your hair and pat dry, so that it is moderately damp (but not dripping).
Gently massage the mixture into your hair and scalp. Either put on a shower cap or wrap a damp towel around your head to lock in the moisture and enhance the beneficial effects. After 15 to 20 minutes, jump in the shower and rinse off with warm water. You may need to turn up the heat a little to get the stubborn honey out of your lovely locks! At the end of your shower, rinse your hair with cool to cold water. This will close your pores and lock in all that anti-dandruff goodness you’ve just bestowed upon it.
— Liivi Hess
Just to get you even more excited, here are a few more reasons why you can benefit from eating a banana every day.