Nutrients in bananas

Bananas are a year round fruit that you can find in a supermarket any day of the week, in just about any part of the country. They are cultivated throughout the tropics and exported to other places in the world. In the culinary world and world of consumption, bananas are classified as dessert bananas, which are yellow, or green cooking bananas, respectively. Bananas are considered a starchy fruit and are staples in many parts of the country. The fruit is sheathed in its own personal jacket that gives away secrets of the produce inside: bruises on the outside means there are bruises on the fruit itself; a green skin typically means an under-ripe fruit; and a brown skin indicates a very soft and mushy banana. The taste and texture of a banana is sweet, firm, and creamy. Not only can bananas be cooked, baked, fried, and eaten raw, but they have an abundance of nutrients to boot!

Bananas are a nutritious and healthy food choice for any time of day because they are low in calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol and high in the nutrients that count; bananas do contain a significant amount of carbohydrates (hence, a starchy fruit), but regardless, they are considered to be a part of a healthy diet. The nutrient that you’ve probably heard the most about is potassium; bananas are a great source of potassium. Bananas are also a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, folate, and provide trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, vitamin E, and selenium. Also, bananas are known as a prebiotic food, which promotes the growth of bacteria in the digestive system that are good for the health of the body. But what does all of this mean?

Calories: One medium sized banana has about 105 calories.

Fat: Bananas have 1 gram or less of fat.

Fiber: Out of the 25 or so grams of fiber that your body needs daily, bananas provide about 2.8 of those grams. Fiber helps keep the digestive tract healthy and the bowels regular!

Potassium: Bananas provide 422 to 467 milligrams of potassium. That’s a lot! This mineral is important for healthy functioning of all cells, tissues, and organs in the body; it acts as an electrolyte and is critical for heart function and skeletal and smooth muscle contraction.

Vitamin B6: Bananas provide about 0.68 milligrams of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

Vitamin C: Bananas provide about 10.8 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with the growth and repair of all cells and tissues in the body; it also helps boost the immune system.

Vitamin A: Bananas contain 52 IU of vitamin A, which is necessary in regulating the immune system, and promoting clear vision and bone growth.

Vitamin E: There’s about 0.8 mcg of vitamin E in a single banana. Among other things, vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights off damaging free radicals.

Manganese: The fruit provides 0.18 milligrams of manganese. Manganese plays a role in activating certain enzymes in the body.

Folate: There are about 16 micrograms of folate in a banana. Folate helps the body synthesize and maintain new cells, and is particularly important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in infants.

Calcium: Bananas have a small amount of calcium, which is great for bone growth.

Magnesium: Magnesium works with potassium, as an electrolyte, in nerve transmission, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, muscle contraction, and maintaining cellular integrity.

Zinc: Zinc is needed by the immune system, for cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and for the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Copper: Copper plays a role in metabolism; it helps maintain hair color; help the body utilize iron and deliver oxygen to the cells; and it assists in hormone production.

Iron: Iron helps in oxygen transport to the body’s cells.

Selenium: Selenium is only needed in small amounts by the body. It has antioxidant properties, helping to prevent cell damage.

Last updated on Jan 13th, 2012 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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