If you are like most Americans, you eat approximately 26 lb. of bananas each year, according to the USDA. Including bananas in your diet provides you with a compact, ready-to-eat source of natural sugars, fiber, potassium, lutein, carotene, choline, water-soluble vitamins and trace amounts of fat-soluble vitamins.
Eating one large banana provides your body with 0.5 mg of vitamin B-6, reports the USDA. If you are younger than age 50, one banana provides roughly 38 percent of the Institute of Medicine's Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin B-6.
Vitamin B-6 works with the enzymes in your body to promote metabolic reactions essential for healthy immune system function, protein production and blood sugar maintenance. Your bone marrow uses vitamin B-6 to aid in the production of hemoglobin, the protein within your red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Adding a large banana to your cereal in the morning provides you with approximately 12 mg of vitamin C, according to the USDA. This amount equates to 16 percent of the Institute of Medicine's RDA for vitamin C if you are a woman and 13 percent if you are a man. Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, found in your skin, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It also supports your immune system and aids in wound healing.
Including a large banana in your lunch adds approximately 0.1 mg of vitamin B-2, or riboflavin, to your diet. Based on the Institute of Medicine's RDA, one banana provides approximately 8 to 9 percent of your daily riboflavin requirement. Vitamin B-2 helps convert the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in your diet into energy. Riboflavin also aids your liver in detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing drugs, reports the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.
Bananas provide you with small amounts of vitamin B-9, or folate. One large banana includes approximately 27 micrograms of folate, according to the USDA. This amount equates to roughly 7 percent of the minimum daily requirement if you are an adult man or nonpregnant woman. Folate helps your bone marrow manufacture red blood cells, preventing anemia.
One large banana contains approximately 6 percent of the Institute of Medicine's RDA for vitamin B-3, or niacin. Niacin helps your body produce needed fats and acts as a cofactor in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Eating one large banana provides you with approximately 3 to 4 percent of the Institute of Medicine's RDA for thiamine, or vitamin B-1. Thiamine proves an essential cofactor in converting the foods you eat into energy. It also helps your body manufacture the genetic material needed to produce new cells, reports the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vitamins A, E and K
The fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K are present in trace amounts in bananas, reports the USDA. Although bananas are a healthy addition to your diet, this fruit provides less than 1 percent of the RDA for vitamins A, E and K. Other food choices in your nutrition plan can provide you with the recommended amounts of these fat-soluble vitamins.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fresh-Market Bananas: Background Statistics and Information
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: What's In The Foods You Eat Search Tool, 4.1, Banana, Raw
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies: Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamins
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Riboflavin