Bananas are a great food source to consider when you are looking to maintain a healthy intake of calories while engaged in a fitness routine, training for a sport or getting ready for competition. On average, bananas are packed with about 110 calories and a bunch of other vitamins & minerals that work in our favor. Bananas are also convenient because you can carry them with you whenever you are in a hurry. Knowing the banana health benefits and the other positive things that bananas can be used for will likely give you a new appreciation for this popular fruit. In fact, bananas have several positive benefits that many other fruits do not have. Let’s take a look!
HIgh in Potassium
Most of us know that bananas are known for their high potassium content. The average banana is packed with over 400 mg of potassium. According to Colorado State University Extension, potassium is necessary for good nerve and muscle function as well as for maintaining a healthy balance of fluids in the body. The potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps after exercise. If you have endured a cramp during exercise of a competition, you know that it is game over
Vitamin C & B-6
Just like many other fruits, bananas contain a good amount of vitamin C. One banana provides about 10 mg of vitamin C, or about 15 percent of your daily recommended amount. Vitamin C helps boost your immune system and cell health while improving the absorption of other nutrients such as iron. B vitamins are most commonly found in animal products, so it may come as a surprise that bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B-6! One banana supplies 35 percent of your daily B-6 requirement. Your body uses vitamin B-6 to grow new cells.
No Fat and No Cholesterol
Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. You can also use mashed bananas to substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies, for example, for a healthier treat. Another tip here for cooking is using apple sauce in lieu of eggs when baking, you will love how moist your little treat turns out!
Fiber & Manganese
According to the USDA, one banana has about 3 g of fiber. Dietary fiber can help you feel fuller longer and also keep your digestive processes running smoothly. Bananas are also a good source of manganese, with one medium banana providing about .3 mg. Adults need between 1.8 and 2.3 mg of manganese daily. Manganese is necessary for bone health and metabolism.
Your body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of energy. Eat a banana after a workout to refuel. A banana with breakfast will start your day off right and will give you the energy to make it through to lunch without snacking.
Other Vitamins & Minerals
Bananas also deliver small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. A banana provides iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus as well as vitamins A and E, folate, carotene and choline. Bananas also contain trace amounts of many amino acids. Talk about one action packet fruit!
Easy on the Digestive Tract
Bananas are easy to digest. When you’re sick with a virus or indigestion, bananas can be an appealing way to get some important nutrients into your system without upsetting your stomach. Mashed bananas are also often used as an introduction to solid foods for babies.