Children and adults alike love sweet, nutritious bananas. Since bananas come neatly packed in their own wrapper, they are very portable. They may be eaten in their whole form, sliced into fruit salad or mashed and added to muffin and bread recipes. Frozen bananas can be added to smoothies in place of yogurt or ice cream. A serving size is one peeled medium-sized banana, about 7 inches long.
By eating a banana you can Indulge your sweet tooth without ruining your diet. A banana averages about only 110 calories.
Fat and Cholesterol
Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. Use mashed bananas to substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies, for example, for a healthier treat.
Bananas are known for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana. 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.
As with many 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 boosts your immune system and cell health and improves the absorption of other nutrients such as iron.
Since B vitamins are more commonly found in animal products, it may come as a surprise that bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B-6, also called pyridoxine. One banana supplies 35 percent of your daily B-6 requirement. Your body uses vitamin B-6 to grow new cells.
Bananas are 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.
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 also deliver small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. A banana provides some 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.
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.
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.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: 1 Medium Banana, Raw
- Women Fitness: Top 10 Healthiest Snacks
- Chiquita Bananas: Banana Nutrition Facts
- HealthCastle; "Nutrition 101: Manganese"; Jessica Hookham; May 2007
- NutriStrategy: Nutrition Information for Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals
- Colorado State Extension; "Potassium and Health"; J. Anderson, L. Young, and E. Long; August 2008