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Banana nutrition fact
Did You Know?
A banana is the most highly consumed fruit in the United States of America. An average American is said to consume more than 28 pounds of bananas every year.

Bananas were first found in the region of Malaysia. With the help of curious visitors, bananas found their way to India. Buddhist Pali writings dating back to the 6th century BC support this fact. It was Alexander the Great who brought the banana back with him to the western world in 327 BC from India. This fruit entered America only in 1876, on the day of celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia. At the time, bananas were sold wrapped in tin foils, and were priced for 10 cents each. Instructions on how to eat a banana also appeared in the Domestic Cyclopaedia of Practical Information.

Bananas have been given various names depending upon the region they were cultivated. In India, it was called the "Fruit of the Wise Men", in reference to the fact that wise men in India, often meditated under the shade of the banana plants. The Arabs called this fruit "Banan", which meant "finger" in Arabic. This is because back then, the size of this fruit was similar to that of a man's finger. Nonetheless, their permanent name 'banana' is said to have been given by the Africans.

Nutritional Facts about Banana

Bananas are power-packed with some of the most essential nutrients that our body needs for its healthy functioning. It is the number one option for athletes and body builders to replenish their body with instant energy. It is also mashed and given to infants to ensure healthy growth. In short, bananas are extremely efficient in providing your body with all the vitamins and minerals that it seeks.

Vitamins in a Banana

The following section highlights the nutrient data of a medium-sized (7" to 7-7/8" long), raw banana.

Vitamins Quantity
Folate, DFE 24 µg
Vitamin B-6 0.433 mg
Riboflavin 0.086 mg
Niacin 0.785 mg
Thiamin 0.037 mg
Vitamin A, IU 76 IU
Vitamin A, RAE 4 µg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 0.6 µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.12 mg
Vitamin C (total ascorbic acid) 10.3 mg
Source:usda.gov

☞ Folate: A banana contains vitamins like folate (a form of vitamin B), which works together with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C and helps our body create new proteins and to use these efficiently.

☞ Vitamin C: They also contain vitamin C which is imperative for our body's growth and development. Research states that the intake of vitamin C helps prevent infections and heal wounds. It is also thought that vitamin C helps in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

☞ Vitamin A, E, and K: Vitamin A is excellent for your eyesight and immunity. Bananas also have traces of vitamin E and K. The former works as an antioxidant and is also believed to play a significant role in preventing certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. On the other hand, vitamin K is known to be helpful in treating problems related to blood clotting and weak bones.

☞ Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B-6 are all a form of vitamin B, that help the body in the formation of red blood cells, and enables the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B1 is known to be helpful in handling stress, and is therefore known as the "anti-stress" vitamin. Vitamin B2 is an antioxidant which also helps vitamin B6 and folate, convert into usable forms in the body. Vitamin B3 helps the body improve circulation, as well as produce stress and sex-related hormones.

Minerals in Bananas

The following section highlights the nutrient data of a medium-sized (7" to 7-7/8" long), raw banana.

Minerals Quantity
Calcium 6 mg
Iron 0.31 mg
Magnesium 32 mg
Phosphorus 26 mg
Potassium 422 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Zinc 0.18 mg
Source:usda.gov

☞ High in Potassium, Low in Sodium: Potassium helps the body maintain a fluid balance, and ensures healthy muscle contraction and functioning of the kidneys and heart. Studies indicate that the consumption of bananas significantly helps in reducing hypertension. This is because this fruit is high in potassium and has a negligible amount of sodium. Studies also reveal that for people who consume a high amount of sodium, the potassium content in a banana would decrease the excessive amount of sodium in the body, and therefore keep problems like high blood pressure and stroke at bay.

☞ Magnesium and Phosphorus: Magnesium is needed by the body to perform more than 300 functions, most of which are related to your energy levels. It is said that a lack of magnesium makes you feel more tired and exhausted. Magnesium is also useful for the proper growth and functioning of the bones, muscles, and nerves.

Like magnesium, phosphorus is also necessary for the body to ensure proper growth and maintenance of bones, tissues, and cells present in the body. It also plays an essential role in maintaining energy levels of the body, and producing the body's genetic building blocks.

☞ Calcium, Iron, and Zinc: Calcium is the most important mineral responsible for ensuring that our teeth and bones remain healthy and strong. Iron, on the other hand, is found in the red blood cells of the body and the muscle cells. It helps in the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. People with an iron deficiency often feel tired. Zinc is another mineral found in bananas, which is helpful in boosting the immune system and thereby healing wounds. It is also helpful in treating ear infections, common cold, and diarrhea, among many other health conditions.

Other Nutrients in Bananas

The following section highlights the nutrient data of a medium-sized (7" to 7-7/8" long), raw banana.

Nutrient Quantity
Energy 105 kcal
Carbohydrate 26.95 g
Protein 1.29 g
Total Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 14.43 g
Total Fats 0.39 g
Water 88.39 g
Source:usda.gov

☞ High Levels of Energy: Apart from the fact that bananas contain a high amount of potassium, which helps athletes get rid of the leg cramps due to exertion, another reason why a banana is the top choice for consumption after a heavy workout, is the fact that it is a powerhouse in itself, containing a high amount of energy which is effective in replenishing your body almost instantly.

☞ Sugar Content: Another fact that makes our dear banana an effective energy booster, is the three kinds of sugar content it has. Yes, banana contains sucrose, fructose, and glucose. These sugars are digested by our body at different speeds, and therefore, our body stays energized for a longer duration of time.

☞ Digestible Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are digested by the body and converted into glucose (sugar). No other fruit contains more digestible carbohydrates than bananas. This is advantageous, because the body burns off calories from carbohydrates more easily and quickly than calories from fat or protein.

☞ Proteins and Fats: Bananas contain the protein called triptophane. This protein helps in the production of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals naturally produced by the body that generate happy feelings within us. This is the reason why bananas elevate our mood to a certain extent.

☞ Water and Dietary Fiber: The content of water and dietary fiber in a banana, contributes to the smooth functioning of the body. While water keeps our body hydrated, fiber is essential for proper digestion. Health professionals always suggest eating fresh fruits and vegetables to increase the intake of dietary fiber, for which bananas can be a good option.

Apart from the nutritional facts, there are many other unique facts about bananas. Did you know that bananas are among those fruits that are grown on plants and not trees? They are also harvested while they are green because they continue to ripen even after being harvested. Bananas are God's gift to us, and we've understood this better after learning about their nutritional facts. Make sure you follow a healthy inclusion of bananas in your diet, while reaping its numerous benefits.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute of expert advice. Follow the recommended intake of the fruit and its components, as excessive intake may prove to be harmful.