Ever wondered what goodness is in a banana?
Bananas can aid digestion and resolve gastrointestinal issues such as constipation. It is not only rich in vitamins and fibre, but are also fat-free and cholesterol-free. Other than being rich in vitamin B6, this fruit is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, potassium and manganese.
Bananas are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 from bananas is easily absorbed by your body and a medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of your daily vitamin B6 needs. It is also good for pregnant women as it helps meet their baby’s development needs. Vitamin B6 helps your body:
- Produce red blood cells
- Metabolise carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy
- Metabolise amino acids
- Remove unwanted chemicals from your liver and kidneys, and
- Maintain a healthy nervous system
Bananas are respectable sources of vitamin C
You may not associate bananas with vitamin C but a medium-sized banana will provide about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C helps:
- Protect your body against cell and tissue damage
- Iron absorption
- Produce collagen
- The protein which holds your skin, bones and body together, and support brain health by producing serotonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle, moods, and experiences of stress and pain.
Manganese in bananas is good for your skin
One medium-sized banana provides approximately 13% of your daily manganese needs. Manganese helps your body make collagen and protects your skin and other cells against free radical damage.
A medium-sized banana will also provide around 320-400 mg of potassium, which meets about 10% of your daily potassium needs. Potassium helps your body maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination helps to control high blood pressure.
Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues
A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of your daily fibre needs. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends a daily dietary fibre intake of 20g for women and 26g for men.
Soluble and insoluble fibres play an important role in your health. While soluble fibre helps your body control your blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol. Insoluble fibre adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier for you to have regular bowel movements. This helps to keep your gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria.
Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in your small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help you manage your weight better as you stay full for longer.
That said, bananas can help you beat gastrointestinal issues such as:
- Stomach ulcers, and
Bananas give you energy minus the fats and cholesterol
Bananas contain three natural sugars sucrose, fructose and glucose giving you a fat and cholesterol-free source of energy. As such, bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, as a midday snack or before and after sports.
When is the best time to eat bananas?
The best time to eat bananas depends on your nutritional needs and preference. Generally, the taste and nutritional value of bananas change as they ripen. Newly-ripened bananas tend to be less sweet than well ripened bananas because the starch hasn’t fully broken down into simple sugars. The upside to eating newly-ripened bananas is that you stay full for longer and enjoy the benefits of the resistant starch therein.
On the other hand, a well-ripened banana with some dark patches on the skin is easier to digest and may give you the energy boost you require before playing sports.
Can everyone eat bananas? Some medical conditions can result in people having a high level of potassium in the blood. In that case, it will be wise to refrain from taking bananas. And contrary to popular belief, a person with diabetes can eat bananas as long as the carbohydrate contents are accounted for.