The nutritional value of bananas

Learn the secrets of the favorite fruit for runners

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It is one of the most delicious snacks and is consumed daily by adults and children around the world, while is offering its nutrients generuslly.
In addition, the banana has been informally declared the “honorary member” in the daily diet of every runner, providing, or replenishing, energy in the most delicious way.

High nutritional value

Banana is a very healthy snack that provides energy and is the best and healthy alternative to sweet snacks for children and adults.
Bananas have many health benefits. They can cause satiety making them ideal for weight loss. Also they are providing energy and this is the best and healthier alternative to sweet snacks for children and adults.
Although a banana has more calories than an orange or an apple, 90 calories per 100 grams, it has greater nutritional benefits and it is also a good source of carbohydrates.

Specifically, the consumption of bananas offers:

a) Potassium

Banana is an excellent source of potassium, containing 602 mg (small banana). This is very important because the modern way of diet – usually with too many sodium – can increase potassium requirements.
Potassium is an important mineral for the proper functioning of tissues, cells and much more organs of the body and especially for proper digestion and muscle function.
Potassium from bananas, also, can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure and protect against the risk of kidney stones.

b) Vitamins and minerals
Bananas are a valuable source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, hair and eyes.
They are also a good source of many vitamins of B complex, including vitamin B6, which is essential for nerve and muscle function, while regulating mood, fighting depression and gives more healthy skin and hair.
It is important also the amount of Vitamin C (15% of the recommended quantity per day) which “acts” as a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body.
It also contains traces of vitamins E and K, as well as folic acid, while it has enough magnesium and calcium and traces of iron, selenium and phosphorus. Αll these are necessary in small quantities to maintain strong bones and teeth, to regulate mood, combating depression and converting food into energy.

c) Fiber
A medium-sized banana contains 3 grams of fiber, which contribute to the better functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, while making us feel full. For sure this is a very useful feeling for weight loss.

d) Carbohydrates
Bananas are a good source of carbohydrates with 17.5 g. (in a medium-sized banana).
In general they are having a higher sugar content than other fruits although the abundance of nutrients, as mentioned, makes it a healthy choice for snacks.

Modification of the momposition during curing and heat treatment
According to the African Journal of Biotechnology, as a banana ripens, magnesium levels fall. In addition, its humidity increases until it matures a lot and then it becomes dry and discolored. Also overriped bananas run the risk of developing mold or other types of bacteria.
If you notice any discoloration of the banana or its skin that is not the natural dark color, do not consume it. The natural colour of the peel of a riped banana is black or brown, while the mold or bacteria will appear white or green.
On the other hand, green and unriped bananas contain proteins that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb complex carbohydrates during the digestive process, as they inhibit the enzyme amylase.
Always remember to leave the bananas in the fruit bowl to ripen normally.
The roasting of bananas although it does not directly affect the nutritional value of them, causes a premature ripe, which changes, as we mentioned, the magnesium and moisture content.

Banana is the best choice for:

1. Antioxidant power
Many publications of scientific researches confirm that bananas have significant antioxidant activity.

2. Vitamin power
Banana is the best fruit with vitamin B6 (a small banana provides about 1/4 of your daily needs, a large banana provides almost half of your daily needs).
Vitamin B6 helps at producing neurotransmitters including serotonin and aminobutyric acid (GABA).
It is also a great source of vitamin C, along with moderate amounts of B-complex vitamins folic acid, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

3. Low glycemic index
The average glycemic index of bananas is 52, which is characterized as low.
This means that it does not cause high blood sugar levels and makes banana a good fruit choice for people with diabetes.

4. Cancer fighter
Bananas contain lectins, which are closely linked to reducing the risk of cancer and are potentially useful in its treatment.

5. Fights fatigue
Carbohydrate snacks are very useful because they restore low blood glucose levels to normal and help prevent the afternoon breakdown that we often experience at the end of a working day.

6. Good blood pressure
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium and without sodium, a fact that making it ideal against high blood pressure.

7. Proper functioning of the body
We all know that foods rich in fiber help prevent constipation.

8. Weight control
Certainly no one will getting fat from a banana. Considering the high level of vitamins and mineras than they contain they are probably ideal snack in periods of weight control.

An article of Irene Mpamparoutsi, Sports Nutritionist – Clinical Dietitian, www.thermida.com

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