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4 Essential Minerals and Vitamins in Bananas

What can bananas do for you?

Key points

  1. Bananas contain many essential nutrients, can stave off hunger pangs, and can shorten your recovery time after exercise.
  2. Eating one banana a day can reduce your rates of certain kinds of cancer and improve cognitive function.
  3. Bananas are delicious on their own, and they’re also great sliced up on cereal or unsweetened yogurt, or dipped in chocolate or peanut butter.

Creamy and sweet, it’s easy to forget that bananas are a vitamin-dense food full of nutrients you need to stay healthy and strong. Some people reserve bananas as a rare treat rather than a daily indulgence. So, perhaps it’s time to partake in these yellow superfoods more often — just keep the banana splits with hot fudge and ice cream for special occasions!

Bananas contain a slew of healthy essentials. They can shorten recovery time after exercise and stave off hunger pangs. And a medium or 7-inch banana only has about a hundred calories. One banana also has:

  • vitamin B-6
  • manganese
  • vitamin C
  • copper
  • fiber
  • potassium
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Manganese

Manganese

Manganese is one of the less glamorous minerals on the nutrition label of mineral supplements. Usually listed way down at the bottom and often mistaken for magnesium, it’s no wonder we tend to forget that we need it. It’s a trace mineral, which means we need a very small amount of it, but it is still essential.

Manganese helps encourage wound-healing and may be important in conjunction with other minerals for bone health. This makes bananas an ideal snack to prevent osteoporosis.

Manganese is also a component of one of the body’s important antioxidants. It helps to protect the body against free radicals that can damage the cells. It also activates a number of enzymes that play an important role in your metabolism.

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6

Bananas are rich in vitamin B-6, a crucial element of any healthy diet. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests adults get about 1 1/2 milligrams of B-6 each day. One banana can give you about one quarter of that.

The absorption rate of B-6 from dietary supplements doesn’t come close to the absorption rate of B-6 from food. Eating a banana once a day can reduce your rates of certain kinds of cancer and improve cognitive function.

For women, B-6 may help reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms. It can also reduce morning sickness during pregnancy, but before starting supplements you should talk to your doctor before you try it.

Getting B vitamins can be tough to get if you’re a vegetarian, so bananas can help fill that gap if you don’t eat animal products.

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Copper

Copper

You only need a little bit of dietary copper to get your recommended daily amount. Copper pairs with iron to help stimulate red blood cell development.

Bananas are one of several foods that are fairly good sources of copper, providing about 5 percent of the daily value needed.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Oranges and other citrus fruits get all the attention for being great sources of vitamin C, but bananas are full of it too. A medium-size banana has about 15 percent of your daily requirement. Just one at breakfast puts you well on your way to getting enough vitamin C for the day.

Vitamin C:

  • boosts your immunity to colds
  • reduces inflammation
  • slows the aging of skin

So don’t skimp on vitamin C. One study showed that vitamin C can even kill cancer cells.

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Set up a routine

Set up a routine

It’s easy to make a banana part of your everyday routine without getting bored. Bananas are delicious on their own and are also great sliced up on cereal or unsweetened yogurt, or dipped in chocolate or peanut butter.

You could also add them to smoothies or slice them up on top of breakfast favorites like French toast and pancakes. If you’re vegan or have an egg allergy or intolerance, you can also substitute a ripe medium-size banana for an egg in most sweet baked goods.

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Outlook

Outlook

Packed with nutrients and enjoyable in many easy ways, bananas are an easy sell for any diet. You won’t get a better deal for your wallet or your health, so pick up a ripe bunch at the grocery store on your next trip.

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