Men need two to four servings of fruit each day, depending on their ages and activity levels, to meet the guidelines suggested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While most fruits provide health benefits, bananas can offer men some specific benefits. In addition to being low in calories – 121 calories per large banana – bananas provide nutrients that can influence male fertility and promote joint and heart health.
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One large banana – 8 to 8-7/8-inches in length – has 0.5 milligrams of vitamin B-6, a vitamin that provides several benefits for men. Men need 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams of this vitamin each day, depending on age. The vitamin B-6 in bananas helps you convert the food in your diet to fuel that powers your body, but taking in adequate amounts of this vitamin may also help lower your risk of heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website.
The 0.4 milligrams of manganese in a large banana may not seem like much, but men do not require much for good health – only 2.3 milligrams each day. Manganese helps in the development of connective tissues, such as those found in tendons and cartilage, making this mineral especially important for men who play sports or lead an active lifestyle. Manganese also plays a role in male fertility. An article in the July-August 2009 issue of the “Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity” journal correlates adequate manganese intake with improved sperm quality and motility. While you should consult your physician if you experience fertility problems, adding bananas to your diet may also help.
Vitamin C is another vitamin that plays a role in protecting the joints from damage due to the fact that it promotes the production of collagen, which helps keep connective tissues strong and the joints moving smoothly. In addition, a study in the May 2011 “European Journal of Applied Physiology” points to vitamin C as a nutrient that may improve heart function and prevent some coronary problems. One large banana provides 11.8 milligrams of vitamin C; men require 90 milligrams of this nutrient every day.
While women often experience constipation more frequently than men, according to 2013 information from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website, men still make up a significant portion of the over 42 million Americans who commonly suffer from this condition. A large banana has 3.5 grams of fiber, which can regulate bowel function, preventing both constipation and diarrhea. Men younger than 50 years of age require 38 grams of fiber each day, while men older than age 50, you should consume 30 grams daily. However, if you are prone to constipation, you should avoid eating unripe bananas as they can block an enzyme that contributes to the metabolism of certain carbohydrates. Further, as bananas can have a binding effect on your digestive system -- which is why your doctor may recommend eating them as part of your diet if you have diarrhea -- consuming too many can lead to constipation.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- USDA: Fruits &Veggies More Matters: MyPlate
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bananas, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine); June 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Manganese; June 2009
- "Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity"; Manganese Provides Antioxidant Protection for Sperm Cryopreservation That May Offer New Consideration for Clinical Fertility; R.S. Cheema, et al.; July-August 2009
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C -- Quick Facts
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid); June 2009
- "European Journal of Applied Physiology"; Vitamin C Prevents Hyperoxia...; Z. Gao, et al.; May 2011
- National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse; Constipation; July 2007
- National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse; Diarrhea; January 2011