Nutritional Tips: Why Bananas Should be part of your Diet
Fruits are widely known as a great source of vitamins and minerals. It has been clinically proven that people who take fruits as part of their healthy diet run at a lesser risk of chronic diseases. Fruits are a great source of vitamins, potassium, fibre and folic acid, which are important for the healthy maintenance of the body. Some typical fruits are grape, orange, strawberry, mango, banana, etc., however, we will be focusing on banana and its health benefits.
Banana is an edible fruit that is a great source of fibre, manganese, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Potassium. It is botanically a berry that comes from a family of plants called ‘MUSA’. The Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia. Believed to be first domesticated in Papua New Guinea, Banana is largely grown in 135 countries in the world. India is the largest producers of banana with about 30 million tons of production in a year, followed by China.
Uganda is the largest producer of banana in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon. It is cultivated across all tropical regions in the world. Banana starch, flour, and chips are processed banana products whose market value are yet untapped.
Nutritional components of Banana
Carbs: 22.8 g
Sugar: 12.2 g
Vitamin B6 – 0.5 mg
Manganese – 0.3 mg
Vitamin C – 9 mg
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Potassium – 450 mg
Dietary Fiber – 3g
Protein – 1 g
Magnesium – 34 mg
Folate – 25.0 mcg
Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
Niacin – 0.8 mg
Vitamin A – 81 IU
Iron – 0.3 mg
Why You Should Include Banana in Your Diet
Carbs, one of the nutritional components of banana appears in unripe bananas as starch, and sugar in ripe bananas. This is because the carbs composition of bananas changes drastically during the ripening stage. Unripe bananas contain up to 80% starch in dry weight.
During ripening, carbs are converted into sugar. Ripe bananas weigh less than 1%. Ripe bananas contain sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Its total sugar content is over 16% in fresh weight. The carbs in banana enter the bloodstream and raise blood sugar. Banana is ideal for children, athletes, breakfast and mid-day snacks.
The fibre in bananas appears as resistant starch in unripe banana and pectin in a ripe banana. Resistant starch aids in maintaining gut health. In fact, both resistant starch and pectin help level the blood sugar after a meal. They generally prevent constipation, stomach ulcer, and heartburn.
The potassium component in banana aids in lowering blood pressure. It is also an aid in boosting heart health. The manganese in bananas aids the body in collagen production. It also helps protect the skin and other cells from damage.
Dopamine is another nutritional component in the banana. Dopamine is a major hormone and neurotransmitter in the brain and body. The one found in bananas acts as an antioxidant.
Catechin is an antioxidant flavonoid found in bananas. It also aids in reducing heart disease.
A medium-sized banana contains up to 33% of the daily value of vitamin B6 which helps the body produce red blood cells and to metabolize carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 turns fat into energy, metabolizes amino acids, removes unwanted chemicals from the liver and kidneys, maintains a healthy nervous system and provides nutrients for unborn babies. Vitamin C helps protect the body against cell and tissue damage, aids the body in absorbing iron, aids in collagen production, and aids in brain health support through the production of serotonin.
Add some nutrients to that meal of yours! Treat yourself to the rich taste of Bananas…