Fit Food: Surprising Banana Nutrition Facts and Health BenefitsBy Rob Poulos...
Whether in cereal, bread, or as a quick snack on-the-go, most people can’t turn down a ripe, sweet banana–and its health benefits are even sweeter. Packed full of nutritious vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, bananas can do a body good, helping you reach your calorie and micronutrient goals without any of the “bad” stuff (saturated fat and cholesterol anyone?). If you need a quick way to sweeten up your diet, here’s why adding bananas are a good idea.
Banana’s Nutrition Facts: A Nutrition Powerhouse
Though it’s not the most low-calorie snack around, it may be the healthiest–a medium-sized banana contains just over 100 calories, with none of the calories coming from fat. Most of its calories come from its fiber and naturally-occurring sugars, which give it a subtle, sweet bite that goes well with any meal.
Better yet, it’s a great way to get your day’s worth of potassium, an essential mineral. It may seem like an unimportant mineral, but it’s powerful–without it, you couldn’t build muscle, have a healthy heart, or break down carbohydrates properly. If you truly want to get lean and build muscle, eating potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, is the key to a leaner bod alongside a healthy nutrition plan.
Of course, there are also other important nutrients bananas provide–such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber. These vitamins help you maintain a healthy immune system, as well as making sure your body is physiologically healthy.
These vitamins also have an additional benefit–they’re antioxidants. To learn why they’re important, read on.
Banana’s Health Benefits: Could it Fight Cancer?
In order to have a healthy body, we need vitamins. Some help us with our vision; others help with our immune system. But they also serve another purpose–they’re antioxidants, molecules that prevent other molecules from oxidating. Oxidation can create something called free radicals, which can damage cells. While some types of free radical damage are necessary to survive, too much free radical damage can increase a person’s risk for many health problems–such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and even a heart attack. Research even suggests that people who eat a healthy diet that include fruits, such as bananas, are less likely to develop certain types of cancers.
Fiber, another important component of bananas, can also decrease your risk of a certain type of cancer, called colon cancer. It also helps regulate your digestive system, reducing your risk for constipation and colitis–it’ll make your digestive tract healthy! Fiber is also a key component for dieters because it can help people feel fuller faster, acting as a temporary appetite suppressant. Pair this with the cancer-fighting abilities of bananas and it’s hard to deny it: This fruit could do a lot of good if you want to lose weight!
How to Enjoy Bananas
Most people enjoy bananas in their purest state: Raw, fresh, and eaten as a morning meal or snack. Don’t fancy it raw? Here are other ways to enjoy bananas:
- Put it in a fruit smoothie. Bananas blend easily and add creaminess to any smoothie or beverage.
- Add it over cereal or toast. Bananas are naturally sweet, so they’ll safely add a touch of sugar to any meal.
- Make banana bread. Bananas are a healthy addition to any homemade loaf of bread.