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Nutritional Benefits of Bananas

January 8th, 2011

bananas-health-benefits.jpgBananas, though once considered inedible, today are part of healthy diets worldwide. Not only do they taste delicious, but bananas provide several nutritional benefits as part of a healthy diet. Most commonly known for the large amount of potassium they provide, bananas go on to provide a wide range of additional benefits. Bananas have a long and rich history and are now consumed by Americans in great quantity every year. At just 100 calories per banana, this nutrient dense, low calorie food is the perfect addition to any snack or meal.

Potassium

Bananas are often touted for their high concentration of potassium. With approximately 400 mg in every banana, one will provide 10% of your daily needs of this important nutrient. This means bananas can play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of your cardiovascular system, as potassium plays a pivotal role in heart health by helping to regulate muscle contraction throughout the body. Potassium also reduces the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, making it a key ingredient for healthy living.

Vitamin C

Most people think of oranges or other citrus fruit when they think of getting enough Vitamin C in their diet, but this immune boosting and scurvy preventing vitamin is found in bananas too. Just one banana provides 16% of your daily needs. Vitamin C, being a water soluble vitamin, can’t be stored in the body for future use. As this is the case, eating a banana daily ensures that you are on track to reaching important daily nutritional benchmarks.

Fiber

Fiber may be the most obvious missing component in many of today’s diets, crowded out by an array of highly processed foods. Just one banana provides 4 grams of fiber which will help to regulate and cleanse the bowels. Additionally, diets high in fiber have been found to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes, both of which run rampant in today’s society. Adding fiber to your daily diet can be one of the most important steps you take on the path toward a healthier future.

Vitamin B6

Bananas provide a rich source of B6, one of the highest naturally available. B6 plays an important role in maintaining healthy blood and vessels, along with increased immune system strength. Finally, B6 works in conjunction with amino acids within the body to maintain stable mood levels.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein within the body. Along with its function in building and maintaining muscle, tryptophan is used in the production of serotonin. In fact, it is one of the substances previously mentioned which works with Vitamin B6 to produce serotonin within the brain, regulating and enhancing mood. Including a banana in your daily diet may very well play an important part as a piece of an overall plan to increase feelings of well-being and maintain a stable, positive outlook.

Naturally sweet and delicious, bananas were once thought to not even be fit for consumption. The banana’s reputation has come a long way since then as our understanding of its many benefits has continued to evolve. Bananas are now known to provide many key nutrients including potassium, fiber, vitamins, and even important amino acids that work within the body to maintain proper health and functioning in a variety of systems. Though the saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a banana may hold much of the same promise.


This article on the benefits of bananas was supplied by Kristin Urbauer from Constant Content.


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