Adding a banana to your daily diet has an array of benefits in your body. Bananas help you reach your weight-loss goals, keep your bowels healthy, provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have vitamin compounds for eye health. Keep a bunch of bananas on your desk at work and replenish your stock each week. You’ll be more likely to reach for a healthy banana — instead of heading to the vending machine — if you have a bunch sitting in front of you.
Finding foods to fit into your weight-loss diet can be challenging, but bananas make a perfect fit. Bananas are naturally sweet and can help curb your sweet tooth if you get that afternoon sugar craving. A 6-inch banana has a minimal 90 calories, about one-fourth of the calories you would get from a chocolate candy bar. Additionally, about half of the fiber content in bananas is soluble. When soluble fiber reaches your digestive tract, it absorbs water and slows digestion. Food is forced to sit in your stomach for a while, making you feel full. If you have a banana before lunch, you’ll be less likely to overeat when your food comes to the table.
Enjoying a banana each day aids in keeping you regular. One 6-inch banana has more than 2.5 grams of total fiber, about half of which are insoluble. As insoluble fiber travels through your digestive tract, it sweeps up waste and helps push it out. You’ll have more regular bowel movements that are soft and easy to pass. Keep your bowels healthy by getting 14 grams of fiber in your diet for every 1,000 calories you consume, reports Colorado State University Extension. For example, if you tend to stick to an 1,800-calorie diet, you need about 25 grams of total fiber. You get nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber needs — for this number of calories — from one 6-inch banana.
Normal Heart Function
Having a banana at breakfast every day adds a nutrient to your body to support normal heart function. Bananas are rich in a mineral electrolyte called potassium. When potassium enters your body, it absorbs directly into your bloodstream through intestinal walls. Potassium travels around to cells all over your body and dissolves in fluid inside of cells. It travels across cell membranes if needed to keep fluid balanced in and around cells. This process keeps electricity flowing throughout your system, which is required to make your heart beat. In cases of severe potassium deficiency, your heart rhythm may become irregular, which can be deadly. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, you need 4,700 milligrams of potassium on a daily basis. Bananas provide more than 360 milligrams per 6-inch piece of fruit.
Adding a banana to your diet also helps keep your eyes healthy. Bananas have a small amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for protecting your eyes and normal vision. The term “vitamin A” refers to a series of compounds, including beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. These compounds preserve the membranes that surround your eyes and are a component of one of the proteins that brings light into your cornea. Adequate daily vitamin A intake also lessens your risk of night blindness and is essential for everyday vision. Women require 700 micrograms of daily vitamin A, and men need 900 micrograms, explains the Office of Dietary Supplements. One 6-inch banana has nearly 10 micrograms of vitamin A. Bananas also contain alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A to further keep your eyes healthy.