You’ve likely heard the old adage that eating a banana can help prevent leg cramps, which is true, due to banana’s high potassium content. But did you know that they offer many other health benefits? Here are five reasons to choose America’s favorite fruit.
Better Digestion. Banana’s contain fructooligosaccharides. Now that’s a mouthful. For short, let’s go with FOS. FOS is a non-digestible carbohydrate which acts as a prebiotic, meaning it helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. The fermentation of FOS in the large intestine lowers the pH, making it difficult for pathogenic bacteria to survive, while good bacteria continue to live. A healthy gut micro biome is essential for good digestion.
Reduce Blood Pressure. Potassium is not just good for cramps, it’s also been shown to help reduce blood pressure. A food like bananas, with high potassium and zero sodium is the perfect food to help fight high blood pressure.
Fight PMS. Bananas are a great source of B-6. One banana contains 30% of your daily value of B-6. B-6 is important for immune function, a healthy metabolism, and it may even help fight symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. One study found that taking supplemental B-6 decreased PMS symptoms such as moodiness, irritability and bloating.
Perfect Pre-Workout Snack. With 105 calories, 25 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates, and electrolytes, bananas are the perfect pre-workout snack. Forgot the energy bar, and grab a banana instead.
Mood Booster. Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan which gets converted to serotonin. Serotonin is an important feel good neurotransmitter, low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.
Above all, bananas are tasty, portable and inexpensive!
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.