What's in a banana?
“GOIN’ BANANAS” OR “BANANA REPUBLIC” are amusing expressions. But these don’t come close to what banana can do to anyone’s health. To begin with, it is a unique fruit that comes out of large plants considered to be giant herbs related to lily and orchid families.
Banana is one of the most popular fruits in the Philippines. The “Daily Nutritional Guide Pyramid for Filipino Adults” developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology recommends 2-3 servings of fruits (1 serving = 1 medium size or 1 slice of big fruit) to meet the daily requirement. This means 2-3 pieces of banana a day provide 20-30 grams of carbohydrate and 80-120 kilocalories.
Generally, banana (e.g. saba, gloria, and latundan) contains 400mg of potassium. Most individuals receive approximately 2,000 to 3,000mg of potassium from a variety of foods everyday.
Available all year round, banana is a source of instant energy, whether one watches diet or just trying to eat healthy. Like most fresh fruits, banana contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol. A low fat balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Banana is also rich in vitamins A, C, K, and B6, fiber, and magnesium. Lack of vitamin B6 in the diet can cause weakness, irritability, and insomnia.
Vitamin K helps regulate blood pressure and may reduce the risks of high blood pressure and stroke. Vitamin K is also essential in helping muscles contract properly during exercise and it reduces cramps. Banana contains plenty of carbohydrates, the body’s main source of energy.
Banana also contains natural mood enhancer called tryptophan, a protein type that the body converts to serotonin. Serotonin is known to make the body feel relaxed and it improves good mood, preventing seasonal depression.
Banana is succulent and can substitute for sweets to satisfy sugar cravings. The convenience and superb nutritional value of banana makes it a wonderful post-exercise snack to recharge the body.
Banana is also good for a baby even as a first solid food because it has no fat, which makes it easy to digest. Few infants are allergic to bananas. It also meets the energy needs of growing children. STP