Potassium: Bananas are a rich source of potassium, an essential compound that is good for the body in many ways. First, it helps with muscle contraction and therefore helps all the bodily functions that require muscular action, like pumping the heart, digestion, walking, eye movement, to name but a few.
- Calcium Retention: The potassium also prevents calcium from leaching out of your body through urine, which means it minimizes the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis.
- Mood-Booster: Do you know why many people feel happy after Thanksgiving dinner? It’s not just the alcohol consumed, it’s the tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body release seratonin, which has a calming effect on the brain. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan naturally, so bananas are a great source.
- Vitamin Booster: Citrus fruits usually get all the glory for vitamin C, but the bright yellow banana also provides 15 percent of our daily requirement! Vitamin C is a great anti-oxidant that fights free radicals, helps produce collagen (think supple skin) and reduces inflammation. And a banana contains 20 percent of our daily requirement of vitamin B6, which helps the body create non-essential amino acids that produce healthy cells, fight infections and produce insulin.
- Fat- and Cholesterol-Free: But not sugar free, so while you may be avoiding fat and cholesterol while snacking on a banana, don’t forget there’s up to 14 grams of sugar in a regular ripe banana. To avoid that much sugar, try eating ones that aren’t overly ripe—the longer it ripens, the more sugar a banana has.
- Fiber: Who doesn’t need more fiber? Even if you’re not eating a banana for the obvious reasons people eat fiber (improved digestion, shall we say), it can be a great snack if you need to stay full for longer, like before a long meeting.
- Portability: Who doesn’t like wonderfully fresh food that comes in its own biodegradable packaging? Oranges and other fruits with rinds don’t compare to the ease of peeling a banana. And, if you want to peel a banana properly, take a hint from the gorilla we discussed earlier, and peel it from the bottom. Try it!