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Mango may play the king of fruits, but when it comes to making up the health, banana owns the crown. Banana, is a common fruit and can be seen in almost every part of India. Be it sheera, malpua or payasam (kheer), a sweet and sour twist of banana adds a delicious flavour summing up to its taste. The crispy and salty chips made by slicing down the bananas are famous too. Apart from being one of the tasty fruit, it is also considered as a source of nutrition and a healthy snack.

Banana Health Benefits (you must know)
Contrary to popular belief, bananas actually help you in losing weight. If you are looking out to get healthy and fit, then there are reasons enough for you to include this humble fruit in your daily diet. Here are the 8 beneficial reasons why you must eat a banana-

Improves Digestion

Bananas are rich in and dietary fibre, which are vital elements in removing the toxins from the body. It also contains fructooligosaccharides, which is prebiotic in nature. What this fructooligosaccharides or FOS does is, it feeds the good bacteria within the digestive tract. This helps us to absorb the necessary nutrients systematically.

Bananas provide an ease in digesting food. Even if you’re going through a constipation case, banana comes to the rescue, thereby smoothening the bowel movements. Bananas ultimately aid in minimizing the unhealthy digestive situations keeping your gut fit and light.

Aids in Boosting Energy

Neither an energy bar nor any flavoured energy drink can provide enough of nutrients which a single banana can- it is considered as an energy-boosting snack by health experts. A dose of vitamin and mineral is must to give a power packed performance, and bananas surely come up with what’s required. Professional athletes and other sports personalities make sure to have bananas in their diet plan, which helps them in their strenuous workout.

Serves as a Great source of Potassium

Potassium plays a major role in proper functioning of a heart. It helps in regulating blood pressure and aids in smooth flow of blood throughout the body. Banana, being rich in potassium, benefits you by reducing the risk of high blood pressure. According to research, eating bananas everyday can lower down the risk of stroke by 20%. It is also considered as a superfood (super fruit).

Fights Various Skin Conditions

Being rich in nutrients, banana also has a major role in keeping your skin healthy. A well-mashed banana, when applied on face, helps in moisturizing the skin, making it smooth. It also controls the oil on the skin, when applied along with honey and a bit of lemon juice.

Not just the fruit, but also its peel has its own potential. The fatty acids present in the banana skin makes it good enough for fighting psoriasis, acne and other skin conditions.

Helps Fight Anaemia

Banana can help fight Anaemia, a condition in which there occurs a deficiency in the total number of RBCs or haemoglobin in the blood.

Iron and copper are essential elements which make up the haemoglobin, and bananas are a great source of both, iron and copper. Banana, with its active elements, iron and copper, plays a vital role in enhancing the ability of blood to carry oxygen.

Assists in Strengthening Bones

As you already know, strong bones are essential to staying fit and healthy. Banana is a great source of nutrients: Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are much needed to keep up the strength within your bones. Also as said earlier, the prebiotic component called fructooligosaccharides present in it helps the good bacteria produce the necessary digestive enzymes and vitamins, which ultimately help in bone-strengthening.

Combats Depression

Banana is a natural stress buster, it helps to fight depression. It contains high levels of tryptophan which gets converted by the body into serotonin, which helps to relax and improve your mood. It also contains other elements like dopamine and Vitamin B6 which play a vital role in boosting one’s mood.

Improves Eye-sight

You must have heard people saying carrot and beet-roots can benefit in improving your vision (and surely they do). Meanwhile, according to the new studies, bananas also help in enhancing the eye-sight. Banana has all the necessary contents like antioxidants and carotenoids along with required minerals which keeps your eyes healthy. Even a normal intake of banana can suppress cataracts, glaucoma, and night blindness.

Key Take-away

And you wondered why those minions are so crazy for this simple looking fruit. Now you must have got an idea. An apple a day may surely keep the doctor away, so does the banana. So make sure to add this delicious fruit to your daily diet to stay healthy and fit. Start munching now!

Read related articles on Indian fruits.
10 Reasons to Eat Mangoes in Summer
Enjoy local Tadgolas (Toddy palm) in Summer

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods

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Mindfulness in eating: experience the bliss of well-being

The last few years have seen the concept of mindfulness gain rapid traction, from corporate board rooms to sports teams. At its core, it is a very simple philosophy that should apply to every walk of life. Therefore, the need for mindful eating shouldn’t really be a surprise if you really think about it. We’re sure most of us have grown up listening to parents scolding us for watching TV, reading comics, or talking while eating. I am sure you remember being told, No distractions while eating!. Without ever realizing it, that was an implicit order to practice mindful eating, something which we seem to have given up on in current times.

Before we delve deeper into why mindfulness is as important while eating as it is for better productivity, let’s understand the essence of this ‘modern buzzword’. According to ancient Zen Philosophy, mindfulness is simply “presence” and it is probably the simplest form of meditation there is. It is about being immersed completely in the present moment and being fully aware of it.

Unfortunately, we now seem to be always racing against time, with our minds full rather than being mindful. As we multi-task our way through life, pre-occupied by numerous thoughts and worrying about either the past or the future, focusing on just one thing at a time seems like a terrible waste of time. How wrong could we be?

Mindful eating

That brings us to eating. When people speak of healthy eating, the focus is generally on what we eat – the constituents of a meal and their nutritional value. What tends to get ignored often is how we eat. Welcome to mindful eating and its role in delivering the full benefits of the food we eat. According to Psychology Today, “mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?”

Benefits of Mindful Eating

Several modern studies have brought to the fore the ‘mind & gut connection’ and the resultant benefits of simply focusing on eating. It is not difficult to understand why.

  • Prevents overeating/binge eating: If you eat mindfully, you are more likely to avoid overeating as you are fully aware of the quantity of food you are putting in your month. In turn, this means you are more likely to listen to the “full” signal coming back from your tummy! (Have you ever wondered why we tend to end up eating a lot more than we normally would at parties? It’s all thanks to the divided attention!). If you want to lose weight or are conscious of gaining weight, you know how important it is to not overeat.
  • Better digestion & absorption of nutrients: When we are fully focused on the food we eat,our salivary glands work better. This aids digestion enormously. Also, we tend to slow down the pace of eating – we eat more leisurely, chewing the food well and ensuring that the important first stage of the digestive process is completed properly in the mouth. By ‘breaking down’ the food in the mouth, we enable much better absorption of all nutrients.
  • Greater satisfaction and fulfillment: The undivided attention on the food helps us truly enjoy and appreciate its look, feel, fragrance and flavours. Isn’t such sensory fulfillment a great source of joy? Mindful eating invariably translates to joyfulness!

How to Practise Mindful Eating for Greater Fulfillment

The important word is conscious ‘practise’, as this is a process of creating and reinforcing a habit while (in many cases) altering an existing habit. Many of you would be familiar with the principle of auto-suggestion while practicing meditation or breathing exercises in Yoga. We should follow something similar to becoming mindful: tell yourself to experience every step of the journey of the food from the plate to the stomach. Don’t just take in the food, take in the entire eating process and enjoy it, slowly, leisurely.

You can become better at this by following some of the following steps:

  • Sit in a clutter-free dining area, whether it is at the dining table or on the floor. Avoid the bed or the couch while eating.
  • Try to close your eyes and visualize the food on your plate before you start eating. In our Indian culture, people close their eyes and say a silent prayer and express their gratitude. The attitude of gratitude is a key ingredient to our happiness; besides, this entire process of calming our mind and visualizing the food stimulates our brain to prepare for the digestion process!
  • Turn off the television, keep the reading material and mobile phones away. Whatsapp messages and Facebook can (and must) wait!
  • Pause for a few seconds after each morsel/bite of food. Take smaller portions, chew well and eat slowly.
  • For a sensuous, intimate and mindful connect with your food, eat with your hands, not the fork and spoon.

So, there you go. Mindful eating is not too difficult to practice, if you set your mind to it. Make a few simple changes to your eating routine and experience the true joy of eating. It’s an age-old wisdom that is rooted deep in Indian culture and philosophy, and let’s ensure we heed that wisdom to enjoy all its benefits!

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

References & other articles related to mindful eating

Mindful Eating: How to really enjoy your meal, Jan Chosen Bays, Psychology Today

A Mindfulness Approach To Eating, Dr. Susan Albers, Huffington Post

Mindful Eating, Harvard Health Letter

Image Credit – Google Images

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