Eating A Banana Can Cheer You Up

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Eating A Banana Can Cheer You Up
Graphic: © herbshealthhappiness.com. Image source – Steve Hopson (wikipedia) – lic. under CC 2.5

They’re shaped like a smile, taste like a smile – and it turns out their smile-inducing ability is built into their chemistry…

Bananas are as delicious as they are nutritious. Some studies show that this popular fruit may help with control blood sugar levels, improve digestion, weight loss, and improve heart health, to name a few. [1][2][3][4]

Although the list of potential health benefits is long, of particular interest is a banana’s ability to influence serotonin levels in your brain.

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that occurs naturally in the brain. Its main function is to balance mood and facilitate a feeling of well-being. As such, the chemical plays a significant role in the prevention or onset of mental health issues such as stress and depression.

However, certain factors may hinder the optimal production of serotonin in the brain – necessitating supplementation through diet or medication. Bananas are among the natural foods that promote the production of serotonin and influence our feeling of well-being.

The Role of Bananas in Cheering you Up

Bananas contain high levels of L-tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that converted to 5-HTP – a precursor to serotonin. [5] The fruit is also a rich source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – a nutrient that has been shown to play an important role in brain health and mood regulation. [6]

With this in mind, it’s important to supplement your diet with bananas for a happier and healthier life. A medium-sized banana (118 grams) is packed with vitamin B6 (33% RDI), vitamin C (11% RDI), fiber (1.3 grams), manganese (14% RDI), potassium (9% RDI), and as little as 105 calories.

Please note that this content should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Schwartz SE. et al. 1988. Sustained pectin ingestion: effect on gastric emptying and glucose tolerance in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2849298.

[2] Topping DL. et al. 2001. Short-chain fatty acids and human colonic function: roles of resistant starch and nonstarch polysaccharides. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11427691.

[3] Conceição de Oliveira M et al. 2003. Weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12620529.

[4] Seth A. et al. 2014. Potassium intake and risk of stroke in women with hypertension and nonhypertension in the Women’s Health Initiative. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25190445.

[5] Trisha A. Jenkins. et al. 2016. Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728667/.

[6] WEISSBACH H. et al. 1957. Studies on the effect of vitamin B6 on 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) formation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13462983.

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