How Can Bananas Help Fight Depression?

depressed

There is a persistent myth on the internet that eating bananas will make a depressed person revived again and no longer depressed.

The reason, it is alleged, is that bananas are a great source of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the levels of which are said to be low in the brains of depressed people. Eating bananas therefore makes great sense because people can literally feed their brains the serotonin that it needs to beat their depression.

This is largely false.

How Bananas Can Fight Depression

Bananas do contain serotonin. Serotonin likely does help with one's mood as a neurotransmitter. But the serotonin in a banana can't reach the brain simply by eating the banana. In order for anything to reach the brain, it must cross the blood-brain barrier, and not everything can cross this barrier. Furthermore, that is not how our body provides our brains with serotonin.

Our bodies synthesize serotonin through a process that involves the use of vitamin B6. Bananas happen to be a very good source of vitamin B6. In fact, just one banana can provide the average adult with about one-fifth of the recommended daily allowance of that vitamin.

Therefore, eating bananas can fight depression, just not in the way it is sometimes alleged. Rather, by eating a banana a person is giving their body the tools to make the chemical that is needed to help maintain their mood and possibly avoid depression.

Additionally, eating fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, and doing so should make a person feel good about the dietary choices he or she is making, which itself might contribute to a better mood.

 
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