Going Bananas, in a good way

It’s National Banana Day! Who knew that was even a thing? Bananas are a rich source of potassium and dietary fiber; they have zero fat and cholesterol, as well as negligible sodium. Bananas are good for your gut as they have 3 grams of fiber and contain prebiotics, a type of fermentable fiber that helps the good bacteria (probiotics) thrive.

 

Bananas also have an impressive nutritional content, which includes vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid and niacin, as well as trace amounts of other vitamins. Their mineral content is impressive too.

 

When you think about the powerhouse nutrients your body needs, do you immediately think about potassium? You should, as nutritionists will tell you that the potassium benefits alone are reason enough to eat a banana a day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), your body needs plenty of potassium for optimal performance. A medium banana has 422 mg potassium, 12% of the daily total recommended by the FDA. Researchers report most Americans do not get enough dietary potassium. Consuming potassium may also lower the risk of stroke.

 

With athletes, a popular benefit is that bananas help keep you hydrated. How can a solid food aid in hydration? Potassium plays a part by regulating the balance of fluids in your body. There have been studies showing how a banana’s electrolytes could refuel your body as quickly as an energy drink. Electrolytes help muscles contract, move nutrients into cells (and waste out of them), regulate your heartbeat as well as sodium in your body. You lose electrolytes (like sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium) during and especially after a workout. Whether you are a professional athlete or low to moderate exerciser, the International Society of Sports Nutrition encourages everyone to eat potassium rich foods to counteract imbalances lost.

 

Stop by The Pharmacy@The Medical Center to speak with our pharmacy team about how vitamins and supplements can help you balance the nutrients you are taking in with your fresh foods.

Remember, a banana a day…it’s a healthy choice!