Bananas have multiple health benefits.  This sunny yellow fruit also has a happy superpower: it can serve as a substantial mood-booster.

Here’s the science, from a researcher who specialises in the links between nutrition and mood. Shawn Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist, offers the following insight on bananas.

One banana contains 20% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B6. This vitamin is scientifically shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, dial down premenstrual syndrome in women, ameliorate the effects of stress, and improve mood overall, according to a 2019 meta-analysis of how B vitamins affect mood, published in Nature.

The trick is Vitamin B6’s power to produce serotonin, a powerful brain neurotransmitter that’s nicknamed the “happy hormone”. Bananas itself are a good source of tryptophan (a medium-sized banana contains approximately 11 mg of it) which produces serotonin in the body. Bananas are also high in prebiotic fibre and potassium, which are other nutrients linked to a good mood.

In fact, people who ate a diet higher in potassium showed less symptoms of depression and a better mood overall, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“Vitamins, including B6, are one way to help support your body and mind in dealing with all of it,” Dr Talbott says.  The best way to get more B6 in your diet?  He advises eating whole foods like bananas.

~ edited excerpts from The Healthy (28 July 2022)