Bananas: The Potassium Power Fruit!

Bananas are one of America’s favorite fruits. In fact, on average, we eat more than 20 pounds of bananas per person, per year! That’s good news because bananas are nutrient-rich, diet-friendly and offer a variety of surprising health benefits.

Healthy Banana Facts

For example, did you know that the smell of bananas can act as an appetite supresant? Here are three facts about bananas that might have been flying under the radar.

They’re Diet-Friendly
A medium banana is 110 calories and provides 30 grams of carbs and 3 grams fiber. In addition to filling fiber, bananas contain resistant starch, a type of carbohdyrate, called resistant starch, you can’t digest, but helps you feel fuller longer.

They May Supress Your Appetite

According to a study performed at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, smelling certain foods when you are hungry can trick you brain into thinking that you’ve actually eaten them. One of those foods is bananas. If that’s not enough to convince you that you can enjoy bananas while losing weight, smell one next time you are hungry.

They’re an Excellent Source of Potassium

A medium banana has 422 mg potassium while being sodium-free. The high potassium:sodium ratio helps to neutralize the blood-pressure raising effects of sodium in your diet. Various studies show that those who have diets rich in potassium are less likely to have high blood pressure and have reduced risk for stroke. Adults need 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, so a medium banana provides nearly 10 percent of the daily requirement.

They Provide B6 and Vitamin C

Bananas contain 20 percent of the daily requirements of vitamin B6, which is essential for producing insulin and keeping your immune system healthy.  They’re also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C.

They May Improve Your Mood

A small banana provides 27 mg magnesium, which may help boost our mood. Low levels of this mineral are linked to depression, anxiety, irritability and other mood disorders.  Since many of us don’t get enough magnesium in our diets, consider a banana as your chill pill.

 

References:

USDA Agricultureal Research Center. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Release 25 Accessed on May 20, 2013. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2178?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=banana

 

Go bananas,

Suja Juice

 

Julie Upton

Julie Upton

Julie is a San Francisco-based registered dietitian and nutrition communications specialist. Ms. Upton received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University and is co-author of The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits and Slim Solutions (Penguin 2013). Upton is co-founder of Appetite for Health (www.AppforHealth.com), where she writes daily about nutrition, fitness and health.