Thursday, April 22, 2010

BANANAS - Are they magical?

I've mentioned my friend Rob - Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant, retired police officer, shadetree philosopher, scholar, hunter, shooter - all around interesting individual. He moved out of state a few years back and I really miss visiting with him. He passes along interesting tidbits of information from time to time.

This showed up in my e-mail recently. It is fascinating enough that I felt it appropriate to pass along. I hasten to admit/disclaim that I have not done any personal research, nor sought any documentation on any of trhe claims below. I do NOT subscribe to all the latest and greatest health fads. There's no way I'll buy into the idea that one can thrive abundantly simply by gobbling a handful of vitamins, food supplements, herbs and such. I've found that when someone tries to sell me on that sort of thing, there's usully a least a partial, underlying, profit motive. Maybe the passer-along doesn't stand to make money from the idea, but most of the time, someone does. Well, first, Rob wouldn't buy into that sort of thing, and second, I don't see how any individual or company would have any profit motive for hypling this particular idea. (Chiquita? Dole? I love you guys, but I seriously doubt that ALL of my readers could alter their revenues by a tiny fraction . . .) Judge for yourself.

I've edited the text a little, but most of it's here - -
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a one recent survey [??] . . . amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia : High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

Looks like a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!' Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!

I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit !!!


Christina LMT said...

I never, ever liked bananas until I started craving them while pregnant with my first I can't get enough of them!

Good to know they're so good for me, in addition to tasting good. :)

Old NFO said...

And bananas will also reduce leg cramps :-) High pottasium levels help that! Good post JPG, thanks!

Peter said...

And they have entertainment value as well . . . just drop the peel on a busy sidewalk and watch!


charlotte g said...

I read a fascinating book called "Banana" or "Bananas" about a year ago. Fascinating. Goes into the rise and fall--the one we eat today is not the one available in the 1950s. Gives history on "the banana republics" a phrase coined by O.Henry in the early 1900s. Brazilians like a banana that is crunchy, like an apple. Well, lots of info, but didn't include the benefits you list. Book is in the public library.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember reading fairly recently that the banana we all know and love is a mutant seedless form of the fruit, and that all of the commercial bananas grown were clones of the same mutant plant... the article also stated that there is a parasitic infection spreading among the banana crops, and that the commercial strain of bananas will be all but extinct in 10 years...