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Bananas Are Better Than You Think

There are over 400 different types of bananas grown in tropical regions throughout the world, but you are likely most familiar with the yellow banana y in grocery and health food stores. Bananas contain a wide variety of nutrients that your body needs as well as calories your body uses as fuel for everyday living.

Calories and Serving Size of Bananas

The calories in a banana depend on the size of the fruit. Some banana varieties, such as mini bananas, are less than a standard serving while some larger bananas contain more calories than a standard serving. A standard serving of fresh fruit is about 1/2 cup, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA classifies a medium size banana, or one that is about 7- to 7 7/8 inches long, as a serving. A medium banana has about 105 calories, which is slightly more than an apple that has 70 calories and about the same as the calories in a serving of grapes.

Nutrients in Bananas

When you think of the nutrients in bananas, you may first think of potassium. Bananas are rich in potassium with one serving containing 422 mg of potassium, which is about 12 percent of an adult's dairy requirement. Bananas also provide you with about 1 g of protein, 3 g of dietary fiber, a small amount of iron, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, and vitamin A.

Health Benefits

Bananas contain natural sugars that give you a quick boost of energy, while the slow digestion rate helps you stay full. The potassium in a banana plays an important role in your body's nerve and cardiovascular functions. A study in the "Journal of Human Hypertension" found that adequate potassium intake and reduced sodium intake may improve blood pressure in adults who have hypertension. Additionally, fully ripe bananas contain valuable antioxidants.

Using Bananas in Fitness and Weight Loss

Bananas make a satisfying post workout snack because of their ability to help restore your body's glycogen stores which you naturally deplete after a tough workout. If you are trying to drop a few pounds, bananas can satisfy your desire for sweets and count as part of your daily fruit requirement. Because bananas are not a calorie-free food, be sure to count the calories you consume as part of your overall daily allotment.

Use bananas to sweeten plain Greek yogurt, as an energy boosting snack in the middle of the afternoon, or as an ingredient in a fruit smoothie. Bananas keep best at room temperature and you can freeze overripe bananas for use in low-fat banana ice cream, healthy banana muffins, or other banana based recipes you enjoy.

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Are calories nutrients?

  Calories are a form of energy. Yes they are considered nutrients depending on what kind of nutrient you are refering to.
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