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Health Benefits of Bananas

Many people know that bananas are a good source of potassium, but they also provide good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper function of the human body.  Bananas also have several important health benefits that can improve quality of life and ease the symptoms of some medical conditions.  Since bananas are one of the cheapest fruits available, it's easy to add them to your diet and experience all of these benefits. 

Nutritional Information 

Bananas contain several important nutrients, which can enhance your health and provide protective benefits.  One medium banana contains nearly 35 percent of the RDA for vitamin B6, which is important for speeding up chemical reactions in the body.  Like other B vitamins, vitamin B6 helps convert carbohydrates into energy.  This vitamin also helps enhance mood and improve the body's immune response.  Bananas also contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, calcium, iron, thiamin, niacin, vitamin A, riboflavin and manganese and only have 108 calories in one serving. 

Health Benefits 

The vitamins and minerals in bananas give this fruit an advantage over many other foods.  The potassium content of bananas can help improve muscle and nerve disorders and prevent muscle spasms and cramps.  Potassium also reduces the risk of kidney stones by limiting how much calcium is excreted in the urine.  This also helps to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.  Bananas have tryptophan, which is an amino acid that can enhance mood or relieve stress.  With 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber in one serving, bananas can also contribute to good digestive health and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.   

The banana can also be an important part of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is a special diet that is used to control blood pressure in people with hypertension.  Because bananas have a high potassium content and a very low sodium content, they can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.  Bananas can restore blood sugar levels after drinking alcohol and they can also help to minimize the effects of nicotine withdrawal. 

Warnings 

Like most fruits, the banana a healthful food that can usually be eaten without any problems.  However, diabetics should consult with a physician or dietitian to determine if bananas should be included in a diet that aims to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates.  Anyone with an allergy to bananas should also avoid the fruits to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.