June 20, 2011

b-a-n-a-n-a-s for bananas

Bananas have many benefits for both the body and the soul.

The sweet fruit is good for your heart and nerves because of the high potassium content, a vitamin essential to keeping your heart and nervous system functioning effectively. Potassium is also needed for proper muscle contraction and plays an important role in muscle-influenced activities including the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion and muscular movements. A quick dose of bananas can help each muscle spasms and cramps.

With their high potassium content, bananas also support your body's kidneys and bones. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the body and minimises the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. Low potassium intake has been linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke.

Interestingly, bananas can act as mood enhancers or mild sedatives because they can contain tryptophan, which is one of the 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain and acts as a mild sedative.

The bright yellow fruit is also high in vitamin B6, which plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin, a main contributor to a human's happiness and wellbeing. This type of vitamin also helps the body to make hemoglobin, a crucial ingredient of your blood. Antibody production and a healthy immune response is also supported by vitamin B6, helping to convert carbohydrates to glucose and maintaining proper blood sugar levels.

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