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FutureStarrHow many calories in a bananaor
If you’re looking for a one-word answer: 906,272 calories in a very ripe banana. The nutritional information provided by the US Department of Agriculture says a lot of things, such as that they’re rich in potassium. But what’s missing is the number of calories that come with the caloric figure, which is also important to know, especially if you’re counting your weight.It has other perks, too. “Bananas are one of the most versatile and important world foods,” says professor James Dale from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology. It’s some of the hardiest, producing fruit year-round in good conditions and resilient for long periods when rains don’t come. To help combat vitamin A deficiencies in poor children around the world, Dale is part of a team, backed by millions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that’s genetically engineered a banana to deliver alpha- and beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body. There’s a bit of confusion surrounding bananas. Some people consider this iconic golden fruit a healthy choice while others avoid it, after seeing it on Internet lists of “5 Worst Foods.” Unfavorable claims suggest that bananas cause weight gain and constipation. An article from 1917 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association defended the nutritional value of bananas, citing rumored beliefs during that time: “The banana is a cause of indigestion and a treacherous dietary component…” 
The coolest thing a banana can do, if you ask David Nieman, is to refuel your body as effectively as Gatorade for far less money (and food dye). In 2012, Nieman, professor of health science and director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus, published a study in PLOS One testing bananas against Gatorade in athletes. (The study was sponsored by Dole Foods; Nieman says he receives no compensation from the company. “All I care about is the scientific truth,” he says.)In the study, 14 male athletes cycled a 75-km road race, during which they refueled with either half a banana plus water, or a cup of Gatorade, about every 15 minutes. Three weeks later, the athletes repeated the experiment but switched what they ate during the race. Their performance times and body physiology were the same. But the researchers also discovered that the bananas contained serotonin and dopamine, which seemed to improve the body’s antioxidant capacity and help with oxidative stress.
Bananas are known for their high potassium content. A medium fruit has 422 mg potassium, 12% of the daily total recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Most Americans do not get enough dietary potassium,” says Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, distinguished university professor emerita at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York who researches such things. “Those who consume more potassium have a lower risk of stroke,” she says. The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant. The mild-tasting and disease-resistant Cavendish type is the main variety sold in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some negative attention, bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first “superfood,” endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, a vital mineral and electrolyte in the body that carries a small electrical charge. These charges cause nerve cells to send out signals for the heart to beat regularly and muscles to contract. Potassium is also needed to maintain a healthy balance of water in cells, and offsets the effects of excess dietary sodium. An imbalance in the diet of too little potassium and too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Excessive sodium can lead to a buildup of fluid in the blood, placing pressure on the walls of blood vessels and eventually causing damage. Potassium helps the body to flush out extra sodium in the urine, and eases tension in blood vessel walls. Bananas, rich in potassium and fiber and low in sodium, are an important component of heart-healthy diets like DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that aims for about 4,700 mg dietary potassium daily. (Source: www.hsph.harvard.edu)