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Are Bananas Good Brain Food?

Bananas are well-known as a good source of vitamins, minerals and sugars, providing a significant amount of nutrients your body needs each day. These are contained in a single low-calorie fruit. Along with being devoid of sodium, fat or cholesterol, and rich in highly-digestible carbohydrates, bananas are a beneficial food for the entire body. However, your brain is particularly demanding of the nutrients a banana provides.

Brain Energy

Your brain has high energy demands because brain nerve cells, or neurons, are constantly working to produce electrical signals that enable them to communicate with other cells. This metabolically demanding process requires an abundance of oxygen and glucose. If your brain is deprived of oxygen or glucose for even a few minutes, it will stop functioning, and you can lose consciousness. Bananas contain large quantities of glucose and other natural sugars that provide quick energy to your brain.

Vitamin B-6

Brain cells, like all cells of the body, require vitamins to function properly. According to the National Institutes of Health, all vitamins are important, and many of their functions remain unknown. However, certain vitamins, such as vitamin B-6, have very well-defined roles in cells. In neurons, vitamin B-6 is required for energy metabolism and for making important chemicals called neurotransmitters. Vitamin B-6 deficiency can cause problems including chronic pain, headache and seizures. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B-6, each large banana, weighing about 225-grams, contains approximately 40 percent of the B-6 you need daily.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for every cell in your body. Your brain needs Vitamin C to make the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which allows communication between neurons. Vitamin C is also crucial for maintaining the integrity of your brain’s blood vessels. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, this nutrient can protect blood vessels in the brain from oxidative damage. Bananas are rich in vitamin C, and a large banana contains 33 percent of your recommended daily intake.

Minerals

Bananas are a rich source of essential minerals. When minerals enter your body, they are mixed with water and become electrolytes. Your brain needs certain electrolytes to maintain its electrical activity. Potassium and magnesium are two important electrolytes for your brain. A large banana provides 23 percent and 15 percent of your daily value of potassium and magnesium, respectively.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.