Bananas and Inflammation

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Bananas may help fight inflammation, even in smoothie form.
Image Credit: DENIO RIGACCI/iStock/Getty Images

If you're searching for the best anti-inflammatory foods, add nutrient-rich bananas to the menu. This tasty fruit's powerful antioxidant compounds can help to reduce inflammation and promote better digestive system health. Together, this enables you to enjoy a better quality of life.

Snapshot of Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation in your body can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, inflammation occurs when your immune system senses a foreign substance that threatens your body in some way, states Harvard Health. The immune system's inflammatory response is designed to fend off the invader and keep you healthy. So inflammation can be beneficial in this context.

However, when inflammation becomes the norm rather than the exception, this response can set the stage for a serious disease occurrence. Chronic inflammation has been connected to the development of heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Certain foods can also trigger an inflammatory response, so avoid them or limit your consumption. Examples include refined carbohydrates, including white bread and commercially baked goods. Red meat and processed meats can also be harmful.

Tasty fried foods, including french fries, are also on the list of offenders. Sugar-containing beverages, including soda, have also been shown to cause inflammation.

Strategies for Reducing Inflammation

When you're dealing with uncomfortable (even painful) inflammation, you just want quick relief. So you might be tempted to take an over-the-counter medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Although these drugs often do their jobs, they have undesirable side effects.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison notes that choosing a healthy diet and engaging in other health-focused behaviors, can also help to knock down inflammation. This "anti-inflammatory lifestyle" includes consuming the best anti-inflammatory foods and managing your weight.

Regular exercise, sufficient good-quality sleep and stress management are also beneficial. Limiting your alcohol consumption and not smoking are two more important components of this approach.

Speaking of the best anti-inflammatory foods, the University of Wisconsin at Madison points out that some diets have been shown to decrease existing inflammation, along with inhibiting the development of new symptoms. The Anti-Inflammatory diet includes numerous foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory agents.

This eating plan incorporates cold water fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Colorful vegetables and fruits, valued for their phytochemicals and antioxidants, also fight inflammation and are among the best anti-inflammatory foods. When cooking a meal, choose extra-virgin olive oil, as it has also been proven to reduce inflammation markers.

Read more: 14 Inflammation-Fighting Foods to Eat Every Day

Bananas: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Who doesn't love a tasty, ripe banana sometime during the day? This versatile yellow fruit is packed with nutrients such as vitamins B6 and C, along with magnesium, states Joanne Hutson, registered dietician at the Mayo Clinic.

In addition, you're likely aware that bananas contain potassium. This valuable mineral contributes to good heart health, muscle and nerve operation and optimum fluid balance.

Bananas also play a role in several major body functions. With 3 grams of fiber, a banana can help you feel full, and send essential prebiotics and probiotics to your digestive system. Both substances are sources of insoluble fiber, and help to enhance your body's gut bacteria and digestive enzymes.

If you've ever grabbed a banana before a vigorous workout or extended run, you probably know that consuming this fruit's carbohydrates provides you with a much-needed energy boost. And, if you sometimes have muscle cramps after your exercise session, a banana might be able to prevent that uncomfortable condition.

Read more: Top 10 Health Benefits of Bananas

Bananas and Inflammation: A Review

The banana anti-inflammatory potential was discussed in a well-rounded review that appeared in the March 2016 edition of the journal Food Chemistry. In addition to profiling the banana's history and cultivar varieties, the review discussed this popular fruit's many useful properties and health benefits.

Bananas contain several types of bioactive compounds. Many of these substances exhibit antioxidant behavior, and can help to protect your body against a wide range of oxidative assaults.

These beneficial bioactive compounds are notably present in fiber-rich banana pulp. In addition, bananas' carotenoids help to fend off vitamin A deficiency ailments and chronic health conditions.

Generally speaking, many fruits' powerful antioxidant compounds help to reduce the occurrence of degenerative conditions, including painful inflammation. So bananas and inflammation are linked, with a positive result. These banana anti-inflammatory properties can help to promote a better quality of life for patients troubled by inflammation.

These antioxidant compounds can also decrease the incidence of heart disease, arthritis, cancer, arteriosclerosis and abnormal brain function. The antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce neurodegenerative disease risks and slow down the aging process.

Read more: Can You Eat Bananas If You Want to Lose Weight?

Bananas’ Effects on Arthritis

If you're bothered by arthritis, eating a healthier diet should help to improve your overall health, and may also help to relieve your symptoms. To that end, McLeod Health recommends that you add more beneficial fruits and vegetables to your meal plan.

Bananas are a star player here, as the fruits' high magnesium content promotes bone strength. McLeod Health notes that bananas can also ease your arthritis symptoms. So there appears to be another link between bananas and inflammation. In other words, the banana anti-inflammatory benefits have been demonstrated.

Blueberries and pineapple respectively contain antioxidants and the enzyme bromelain. Both of these substances can also reduce inflammation.

In addition, iron-rich dark green vegetables help to combat anemia that can result from taking anti-inflammatory medicines. To control your weight, reduce your saturated fat consumption by reducing your red meat, cheese and butter use. Completely avoid trans fats, which are often found in fried foods and commercially made baked goods.

Decrease your sodium intake by eating less fast food, ketchup, mustard and soy sauce. Limit high-calorie sodas and other foods loaded with sugar. If you choose to drink alcohol, do it in moderation. If you're already bothered by arthritis, alcohol consumption can raise your risk of ulcers and stomach bleeding.

references
Show Comments