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Amazing Health Benefits of Bananas

Updated on March 10, 2010

We all know of that we should have a daily requirement of five fruits and vegetables if we want to help keep a healthy lifestyle. Though this may be common knowledge, it can sometimes seem a bit difficult to maintain. With the vast amount of tastey snacks and treats that can easily be picked up and stored in our pantries, it can be a challenge at times to choose what we know is best for us.

Maybe with a little more knowledge of this very common fruit, the banana, grabbing one throughout the day can be more rewarding than you previously thought. Interestingly unlike most fruits that come from trees, bananas are fruits of large plants that are giant herbs and related to the lily and orchid family.

The term "going bananas" which means going crazy or losing your mind is ironically far from truth when it comes to this fruit. Like many fruits, there are plenty of amazing health benefits that can be gained from adding this simple fruit to our daily diets. Hopefully after reading this, you'll never look at a banana the same way again.

Nutritional Information on a Serving of Banana

Serving size = 1 medium sufficiently ripe banana [about 7″ long and 126 grams (0.28 pounds) in weight]

Total Fat = 0 g; Cholesterol = 0 g; Calories = 110

Potassium = 400 mg (10% of daily recommended value)

Dietary Fiber = 4 g (16% of daily recommended value)

Sugar = 14.8 g; Protein = 1 g (2% of daily recommended value)

Vitamin C = 16% of daily recommended value

Vitamin B6 = 20% of daily recommended value

With the nutritional information highlighted in blue to the right of this article, Let's dive into the incredible health benefits of this very common fruit.

1. Bananas benefit your heart and nerves: Bananas are very high in potassium which is a vital ingredient to keeping your heart and nervous system in good shape. Potassium is essential for proper muscle contraction and plays an important role muscle-influenced activites including;the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion, muscular movements, etc., Some studies have also linked low potassium intake to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke. Most of us don't get enough potassium in our diets. Simply including a banana or two in our everyday food choices would take us a step closer in reaching our daily recommended dose of potassium. (references: American Heart Association, University of Maryland Medical Center, Colorado State University).

2. Bananas are good for your kidneys and bones: Again, due to the high potassuim content in bananas, our kidney and bones also benefit greatly. If we intake a normal amount of potassium, it helps suppress calcium excretion in the urine and minimizes the risk of kidney stones. Also, because of suppressed calcium excretion, we minimize the loss of calcium from our body which in turn, reduces the risk of osteoporosis. (references: University of Maryland Medical Center).

 3. Bananas as mood enhancers or mild sedatives: Tryptophan, also found in bananas, is one of the 20 amino acids which are building blocks of proteins. It also helps the body to produce serotonin, which gives a calming effect on the brain acting like a mild sedative, creating a stable mood. It's important to note that our bodies do not produce tryptophan naturally. The only way to get it is through our diet, with bananas being one of the easiest ways.  (references: Nutritiondata.com, Chemistry Daily, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, NIH MedLinePlus).

 4. Bananas are good for your blood: Bananas are one of the highest sources of naturally available vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin and also helps make a crucial ingredient of your blood, hemoglobin. It is also essential for producing antibodies and maintaining a healthy immune response. In addition to helping convert carbohydrates to gluclose allowing us to maintain proper blood sugar levels, a medium banana can take care of 1/5th of your daily recommended intake of vitamin B6 and is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to increase your daily intake of this vitamin (references: NIH Office of Dietary Supplements).

 5. Bananas are good for kids:  Let me quote this from NIH’s Medical Encyclopedia -
Bananas are part of the BRAT diet, a diet many physicians and nurses recommend for children recovering from gastrointestinal problems, particularly diarrhea. BRAT stands for the different components that make up the diet: Bananas, Rice cereal, Applesauce, Toast. These are binding foods that make the stools harder.

 6. Bananas are a good source of dietary fiber: A single serving or one medium sized banana contains 16% of the daily recommended dietary fiber intake for a normal adult. Fiber improves laxation and smooths bowel movements. Diets rich in fiber have also been linked to lower the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (references: Health.gov, NIH PubMed)

 Here in the U.S. bananas are highly affordable and very accessible in just about any grocery store. Though there are many various recipes and ways to enjoy a banana, there's no need to cook or wash them and easy to take along for a quick and healthy snack. They make a great addition to breakfast, and an ideal lunch substitute when running low on time. We can definitely look at bananas as an awesome and affordable dietary supplement.

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    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks for reading lex123!

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 

      6 years ago

      I didn't know there are so many health benefits for banana.Thanks for a researched hub.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks freelanceauthor, glad you stopped by to read it. I appreciate your comment. :)

    • freelanceauthor profile image

      freelanceauthor 

      6 years ago

      Very informative. Thanks for sharing this information

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      7 years ago from California

      Totally agree downpourofwords, I appreciate you reading as well as the vote up! ;)

    • downpourofwords profile image

      downpourofwords 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas, USA

      I always believed that banana's are a good supplement to a person's diet and have great nutritional value. Thank you for bringing all the info at one place. Great hub. Voted up

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      7 years ago from California

      Thanks MAGICFIVE, happy to hear it interested you. :)

    • MAGICFIVE profile image

      MAGICFIVE 

      7 years ago from New York

      I guess monkeys have the right idea! Good thing I love bananas! This was very interesting to read!

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      They're so great aren't they? My favorite are fried bananas....mmmm, the best!

    • sherrylou57 profile image

      sherrylou57 

      8 years ago from Riverside

      Love the bananas!

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Hi Hendrika, yeah I went through a phase of being tired of bananas but after researching on them have sparked a new interest in them again! The benifits of bananas are truly amazing, and I had taken for granted how beneficial they are to our health. And you're right, they are affordable so there's no reason not to have any on hand. =)

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I live in South Africa and banana are also very readily available here. I love them and now I will feel even better about it when I eat my next banana! Often bananas are the only affordable fruit on a tight budget so I'll keep on buying them.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Wow Medkh9, that's a first for me. I've never heard of anyone who's never eaten a banana! You've got to try them, they taste great and definitely have great benefits as well.

    • profile image

      Medkh9 

      8 years ago

      honestly i never knew banana can do all of that , i never have ever eaten one in my whole life me and my twin sister .

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      I love them too! Your welcome sherrylou57, and thank you for your comment. =)

    • sherrylou57 profile image

      sherrylou57 

      8 years ago from Riverside

      Hi cheryl, I love bananas and now I know why. Thank you for the info!!

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Ahh yes...especially paired with strawberries in that smoothie! Happy to have been able to provide some new facts for you loveofnight. Thanks for checking it out. =)

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      being a banana fan i am quite pleased to have been educated on a few factors that i did not know. for me bananas are a smoothy's best friend, although they are just as good by themselves.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Thanks drej2522! Yeah, I think banana's have become such a common fruit, that we tend to overlook it's huge benefits. I know I did, till I researched it. Thanks for reading!

    • drej2522 profile image

      Chris 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Well, I love bananas and I try to eat at least one a day! I didn't know that it had so many nutritional benefits! I mean, I've always known about the potassium, for sure...but good for the kidneys and blood?! Heck, I might eat 2 a day. Great hub!

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Great to hear you enjoyed it dohn121! Yeah, TG has been very helpful to me. There's much to learn here, I'm always up for advice...You seem to be doing very well yourself. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate your reading my info! =)

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 

      8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I see that my pal TG is giving you a hand with SEO. He certainly is a veteran in the business. You're definitely in good hands ;)

      I really enjoyed reading this hub, Cheryl. I read about bananas before and several people claim that it's the "perfect fruit" if ever there was one. No other fruit comes close to supplying our bodies with so many rich nutrients. Great hub and great job pointing out all of the key aspects of bananas. You certainly sold me!

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      Glad to hear you enjoyed reading, thanks for your comment! That was new info for me too as I researched on it. =)

    • belleburke profile image

      belleburke 

      8 years ago

      This is so interesting, I never knew that bananas were an herb and had all these great benefits.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      It's funny how presentation makes such a difference with kids and food huh? Prior to writing this I always thought bananas grew on trees also, I love that in writing there is so much to learn. I did so with this hub, and learned that there are truly amazing health benefits of bananas that I was glad to discover! Thanks jim10 for reading. =)

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 

      8 years ago from ma

      Bananas are great. I like making banana bread but, for some reason my kids won't eat it. So now I put some in muffin tins and well for whatever reason they are happy to eat them that way. I always thought they grew on trees. But, recently learned they grow on giant plants.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR

      _cheryl_ 

      8 years ago from California

      I'm on it. I'm so glad that you shared this info, I'll be doing some tweeking around with all my other hubs as well. Thanks again!!

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 

      8 years ago

      This hub is a prime example, it has a great title and if you had say 5 pics in it all named Amazing-Health-Benefits- of-Bananas, and put in about 15 tags by using the Google Keyword Tool on my hub you will start getting more traffic and clicks, good luck not that you need it as yer writing skills are great, just get the tags in plus the pics and you my friend will make muchness money !

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