With an average of 100 calories in a banana, many people wonder if this fruit is one to include in the diet. Most fruits provide minerals, vitamins and fiber needed as a part of a healthy eating plan. If one’s diet does not include a few fruit servings daily, it should be reviewed carefully. Fruits can help to protect the body from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
There are several food pyramids that have been developed around the world. Differences in cultures may affect the pyramid. However, nearly all include fruits as a part of the bottom, largest portion of what one should eat daily.
One of the greatest benefits of bananas and other fruits is the vitamins they provide. Fruits are filled with vitamins, necessary for proper function of the brain, bones, muscles and organs and many biochemical processes necessary for life. Supplemental vitamins cannot adequately replace those provided by the food one eats.
Bananas contain vitamins provide vitamins A, C, E and K. In addition, they are an important source of several of the B vitamins, especially Vitamin B6. These vitamins help to boost the human immune system while keeping organs such as the liver and eyes working correctly. They are a great addition to either hot or cold cereal for breakfast. Many of these nutrients are not available from other foods in the concentrations found in fruits.
Bananas are also high in magnesium and potassium, needed for a healthy body. Diets that are primarily processed carbohydrates or meats do not provide the needed essential minerals. When added to other fruits, they can help to provide the minerals for a healthy body.
One cup of sliced bananas provides one fourth of the dietary fiber needed each day. Fiber helps to improve digestion and offers any other healthy benefits. Soluble fiber helps to lower the cholesterol and moves through the digestive system. The fibers in fruit help to keep one’s cholesterol down and the digestive system working correctly.
It is important to plan to eat a wide variety of fruits. The body needs minerals and vitamins that are found in a large variety of fruits. It is easy to get tired of eating only bananas. One approach is to choose fruits seasonally. Melons are in season during the summer and apples in the fall. Oranges are an excellent choice in the winter. Bananas are a good choice all year long. If a person has special health concerns, his or her doctor can provide information on the fruits that are best to meet one’s health needs.
The calories in a banana are far from the empty nutrition found in many junk foods. In addition to providing a low fat source of carbohydrates for energy, they also are a great source of nutrients needed for health. They should be stored at room temperature for best quality. If the fruit becomes over ripe, they can be used in cooking. In many recipes, it is possible to replace half the oil used in the recipe with an equivalent amount of mashed bananas to reduce the fat.