1. Bananas are good for your heart and nerves: Bananas contain a high dose of potassium – an essential ingredient to keep your heart and nervous system in good shape. Potassium is essential for proper muscle contraction and hence plays an important role in muscle-influenced activities including: the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion, muscular movements, etc.
2. Bananas are good for your kidneys and bones: Benefits to the kidneys and the bones are again due to the high potassium content of bananas. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and minimizes the risk of kidney stones. Also, for the same reason (suppressing of calcium excretion), it minimizes the loss of calcium from the body and thereby reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
3. Bananas can act as mood enhancers or mild sedatives: Bananas contain tryptophan (although it’s not one of the major sources, a medium still contains about 10.6 mg of tryptophan). Tryptophan is one of the 20 amino acids which are building blocks of proteins (btw, an incredible number of articles on the internet call tryptophan as a “mood-enhancing protein” and that is technically not correct). Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin – which has a calming effect on the brain (creates a stable mood) and acts as a mild sedative.
4. Bananas are good for your blood: Bananas are one of the highest sources of naturally available vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin (read #3 above), and also helps the body to make hemoglobin – a crucial ingredient of your blood. Vitamin B6 is also essential for antibody production and to maintain a healthy immune response. It also helps to convert carbohydrates to glucose and thereby maintains proper blood sugar levels.
5. Bananas are good for kids: Bananas are part of the BRAT diet, a diet many physicians and nurses recommend for children recovering from gastrointestinal problems, particularly diarrhea. BRAT stands for the different components that make up the diet: Bananas, Rice cereal, Applesauce, Toast. These are binding foods that make the stools harder.
6. Bananas are good source of dietary fiber: A single serving (one medium-sized banana) contains 16% of the daily recommended dietary fiber intake for a normal adult – that’s substantial for a single serving of any food. Fiber improves laxation (smooth bowel movements). Fiber-rich diets have also been linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease and of type 2 diabetes.
Despite being erroneously called “fattening” and too high in sugar, a small banana only contains about 100 calories, which is not much more than a medium apple. Nor should it raise your blood glucose level too high.