The banana (Musa sapienta) is a sweet fruit with a firm and creamy flesh prepackaged in its own yellow jacket and though many of us eat it, few of us know what nutrients are found in a banana. Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Interestingly the average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, meaning a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. The potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. It may do this by counteracting the increased urinary calcium loss caused by high-salt diets, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a compound which nourishes friendly (probiotic) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve our ability to absorb nutrients, together with compounds that protect us against harmful microbes. When fructooligosaccharides are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only do numbers of friendly bacteria increase, but so does the body's ability to absorb calcium.

Bananas also have long been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. They protect in 2 ways: First, substances in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Second, other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help get rid of bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Due to the high dietary fiber content of bananas, they are good snacks for individuals wanting to lose weight and can replace sugar sweetened drinks and snacks. Iron a mineral is also present in banana’s though it should not be a primary source of iron for anybody. Bananas together with other fruits and vegetables promotes healthy bowels and prevents constipation due to the dietary fiber content of the fruit. Some research has also come out that regular, moderated consumption of whole fruits and vegetables including bananas, can be protective against kidney cancer. Overall, the banana fruit is packed with a lot of beneficial things and by God’s grace, it is affordable and available as compared to some other fruits which have to be imported.


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