Overview of Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of the Banana
A wide variety of vitamins and minerals can be found in bananas making them a very nutritious food. Bananas contain high amounts of potassium in addition to some unique sugar compounds for aiding digestive health, other than that the nutritional contents are similar to other fruits. One minor exception is that bananas contain a measureable amount of fat. This is such a small amount though, that even dieters should not avoid Bananas because they have many important health benefits and we need some amount of fat in our diets for normal body functions, especially vitamin and nutrient absorption. Many vitamins requiere the presense of fat to be absorbed in the small intestines.
Potassium is found in large amounts in the Banana
Potassium is the most notable nutrient bananas contain. Nearly one-third of the daily recommended allowance of potassium is found in a normal sized banana. A number of the body’s processes rely on potassium. Potassium plays a key role in helping to regulate blood pressure in the circulatory system. Potassium in bananas can also help to reduce the blood pressure of those that have hypertension as a result of eating too much salt since potassium works directly against the negative effects of sodium. The risks of heart attack, kidney failure or stroke as a result of hypertension can be reduced by the helpful benefits of potassium. Potassium can also aid in the prevention of cramps since it is vital to the normal functioning of muscles.
Bananas contain large amounts of Vitamin B6
Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 is another nutrient bananas contain in large quantities. Proper nerve impulse signaling and brain functioning require Vitamin B6. The conversion of food into a form of energy that the body can use is also aided by Vitamin B6. Homocysteine levels in the blood have also been shown to be reduced by Vitamin B6. Homocysteine is an amino acid that has been associated with heart attacks and cardiovascular disease when large quantities are present in the blood. Bananas are rather unique amoung fruits and vegetables in the quantity of Vitamin B6 it provides
Magnesium and Manganese in the Banana
Many foods contain the mineral Magnesium in trace amounts, but bananas contain it in large quantities. Metabolization of fats, carbohydrates and protein is dependent on the magnesium from bananas. The body’s conversion of blood glucose into energy is aided by magnesium in addition to the building of strong teeth and bones.
Manganese is another mineral that bananas have in large quantities. Bone development uses manganese and the mineral has a unique function in thyroxin production. Thyroxin is the major hormone produced by the thyroid gland making it vital to an individual’s overall metabolic functioning.
Prebiotics and Probiotics for Good Digestive Health
A sugar known as prebiotics which taste sweet but cannot be digested by the body is contained in bananas. Helpful bacteria known as probiotics found in the intestines feed on these sugars. Probiotics are naturally found in the intestines and aid in the digestion of foods that could not otherwise be digested allowing the nutrients in them to be obtained.
Summary of Health Benefits of the Banana
Bananas have a sweet, creamy taste that makes them a good addition to a number of recipes, they are also wonderfully nutritious. They are both plentiful and economical, and easily included in a bag lunch. Bananas contain beneficial things such as prebiotics and fiber along with vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
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