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Do Bananas Help with Anxiety?


Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses and can range from mild to severe. In many cases, anxiety can also cause or be the result of other illnesses such as depression. Taking this into account, treating anxiety can also require treating symptoms of other illnesses that may come with it. This can make finding what works for your body even harder.


There are many pharmaceutical drugs that can reduce mental illnesses, but you can also take time to experiment and find what works best for you individually. Foods are a great place to look for those who feel pharmaceuticals are not right for them, or just want to see what else they can add to their health regime.


The widely known, versatile, and affordable banana is known to have anti-anxiety and depression properties. Bananas contain 3 types of sugars: sucrose, fructose, and glucose [1]. This fruit is known for providing quick energy, and “just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout” [1].


Depression


Bananas contain a protein called tryptophan. The body converts this into serotonin, the ‘happy chemical’ that makes people feel more relaxed and positive. Eating bananas will increase the amount of tryptophan to be converted to serotonin [1].


Anxiety


The serotonin that is obtained from tryptophan in bananas will also help with anxiety as well. Different parts of the plant also have antioxidants. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in bananas have an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect [2]. The banana’s official name is the M. sapientum, and research has been collected on the effect of M. sapientum stem extract (MSSE) on anxiety. Results show that there is a high amount of anxiety-reducing activity for MSSE, which makes it a natural treatment for anxiety [2].


Bananas are very versatile and easy to incorporate into an everyday diet. They can be eaten on their own or baked into bread, muffins or scones. Smoothies are also a great way to add in bananas and other healthy fruits and vegetables. Make sure that you are not allergic to bananas before incorporating them into your diet.



References

1. Kumar Sampath, K.P., et al. “Pharmacognosy.” Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana, https://www.phytojournal.com/vol1Issue3/9.html.

2. Reddy, A. J., Dubey, A. K., Handu, S., Sachin, M., Mediratta, P. K., & Mushtaq, Q. A. (2017). Effects of Musa sapientum stem extract on experimental models of anxiety. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 7(6), 495–501.


 

Contributors

Author: Sophie Gangi

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health Scientist: Bhagya Arikala


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