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Author Topic: Health Benefits of Bananas
snopes
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After reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!


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 recent survey undertaken by MIND 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 the perfect way 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 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:
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%!


So, 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 carbohydrates, 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!"

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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My friend has a Vitamin K (Potassium) deficiency and was told to have a banana if she was feeling "abnormal" for lack of a better word.

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Molasses Cellany
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
After reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!

Oh great, it's the condom demonstration again. [Razz]

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Chimera
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Either this is a miracle food or it has beter advertisers than the "got milk" people.

I got leg cramps (cold hardwood floors in winter will do that to a person) and all the advise I got was 'eat bannanas'. To be honest it may work but I didn't really try since they made me gag. On my grave stone someone will probably put that I died because I refused to eat bannanas (which would've of course cured me of all sickness, disease, and death).

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What is the use of women?"
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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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

They are high in iron compared to some other fruits and thus are good as part of a balanced diet, but they're hardly unique when it comes to iron content. How much they help if you are already anemic is probably pretty negligible. The iron content of something and the iron absorbed by the body are two very different numbers - of a 300mg iron supplement, the body retains no more than 60mg of iron. Once you're already suffering from anemia, you probably need iron supplements or even transfusions in extreme cases. It's also important to note that the body processes plant-based and meat-based iron differently, and retains more from meat-based iron. If you're going to rely on plant-based iron, it's important to increase your vitamin C intake as well, which increases the body's abililty to absorb iron.

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

Interestingly, the only time I ever get heartburn is when I eat a banana. Bad heartburn, too...feels like I'm having a heart attack.

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00-Saleen
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Count me in on the "dying for lack of bananas"! It's their "mouth-feel" that puts me off.

Smithsonian magazine had a good article on bananas a few months back. It seems that the commercial banana in the US is the Cavendish, which grows on a rhizome; thus all the banana plants are clones of each other and therefore highly vulnerable to disease. They're working to develop shippable bananas for the US market; although the Cavendish survives shipping the best, it's considered rather bland by taste standards.

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queen of the bah-caramels
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Another dying through lack of bananas.

The smell puts me off never mind the "mouth feel".

When I had DD1 I was on iron tablets and the quack was surprised that I was taking them with grapefruit juice. Citrus juice helping in the absorbtion of the iron.

I never told her it was because I hated the hospital supplied apple juice.

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Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by DoubleNaughtSaleen:
Smithsonian magazine had a good article on bananas a few months back. It seems that the commercial banana in the US is the Cavendish, which grows on a rhizome; thus all the banana plants are clones of each other and therefore highly vulnerable to disease.

Barbara wrote a page on that, in fact.

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queen of the bah-caramels
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Sod that. Bananas are vile.

Work of the devil and all that..

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Kathy B
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Depression MIND is "the leading mental health charity in England and Wales" Among other things, they ferquently do mental health surveys. The banana thing appears to have been part of one in 2000, but I cannot find the survey itself. It may also have been a survey of participants in a project toevaluate the Mind Meal. MInd beleives firmly in the reationship between food and mood and is cooperating in a project to encourage a mood enhhancing diet. I am not sure of some of their conclusions--for instance the link beween dairy and depression.

In any case, they say
quote:
For example, eating foods naturally high in tryptophan can improve mood as the tryptophan is converted by the body to serotonin, an important brain chemical that regulates impulse control and appetite, elevates mood, self-esteem, feelings of optimism and induces calm feelings and sleep. (The banana and avocado also provide some ready-made serotonin.)
This is a good overview of Banana, serotonin and depression. the author concludes that bananas are a good food, but don't assume that they can relieve depression. The deal that bananas contain serotonin has been transmogrified into "bananas contain tryptophan, a serotonon precursor."

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Nick Theodorakis
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Squishy0405:
My friend has a Vitamin K (Potassium) deficiency and was told to have a banana if she was feeling "abnormal" for lack of a better word.

Altough the atomic symbol for potassium is "K", Vitamin K is a different animal.

Nick

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snapdragonfly
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Here's the complete nutritional data of a banana.
http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-B00001-01c20Tm.html

Has about 6 grams of fiber - that's pretty good. The only vitamins and minerals it has in signficant amounts (I don't consider 4% of the RDA significant) are C and B6, potassium, manganese. It has some folate, magnesium, and calcium.(10 to 15 % of RDA on those last three.) A banana only has one gram of Vitamin K - not really a signficant source - though it *is* good for potassium. My grandfather, who had heart problems, ate them daily to help with blood pressure.

3% of the RDA for iron. Not signficant IMO. If I was anemic I think a good juicy burger would be more effective, or some greens if I were vegan. (greens are true nutritional powerhouses.)

Also, "twice the carbohydrates" is actually NOT a selling point if you are trying to fit into your shorts again - apples or pears are better if you are trying to lose weight, all that sugar can sabotage my diet. I do like bananas but they tend to make me want sugar. A banana is better for the waistline than a Little Debbie, to be sure, but still.

I am not of the mindset that you can live on processed, cellophane wrapped garbage, fast food, and a Centrum and be healthy - I think you need good wholesome real food as well as some supplements depending on your body, lifestyle, etc - but it seems to me that if the trace amounts of these nutrients found in a banana would do you THAT much good, a multi oughta damn well cure everything, being as they have at least ten times the levels of some of these nutrients as a banana.

That being said, I think if we all ate lots more produce we'd all be better off.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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LeaflessMapleTree
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I LOVE bananas, but...
quote:
Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect way to beat blood pressure.

I LIKE having blood pressure. It keeps me alive, 'n...you know...

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Lainie
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A friend's description of eating a banana to relieve leg cramps included the words, "Is it going down or coming up?" [lol]

Now she eats mashed bananas, yes, baby food bananas. I don't get how that's any less sickening. [shudder]

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00-Saleen
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Link to the Smithsonian article:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/issues/2005/october/banana.php
I remember the mag article; didn't remember the online one. I think the point of the article was to emphasize that in countries where bananas are a staple food, it's dangerous to rely on just one variety, as a blight could easily lead to starvation. Therefore, there's a push to develop disease resistant banana varieties that grow and keep as well as the Cavendish.

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XhiXhi
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As Nick said, K(potassium) and vitamin K aren't the same thing at all. Vitamin K deficiency (which I have) is quite unusual in the developed world, and is linked to coagulation problems and moderate bleeding disorders, whereas potassium deficiency causes fatigue, slow reflexes, muscle weakness and dry skin, and at the extreme, heart problems, which can be fatal. I hope your friend knows that they're not the same!!!

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Richard W
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I can vouch for the banana milkshake hangover cure. I prefer a scoop of vanilla icecream to the suggested honey, though.
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medtchva
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quote:
Originally posted by Jenn:

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

Interestingly, the only time I ever get heartburn is when I eat a banana. Bad heartburn, too...feels like I'm having a heart attack. [/QB]
I'm with you... give me horrible indigestion.
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Brad from Georgia
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If you throw a few bananas into a blender with a little rum, sugar, and a few ice cubes, you also have a sure cure for sobriety.

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Ruin
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Bananas, Vanilla Ice Cream and chocolate Sauce, now there's a good cure for the world's ills.

Especially if you get rid of the ice cream and bananas...

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Senior
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After reading the posts from people who actively dislike bananas, I'll just take my enjoyment of bananas and slink away.

Of course there's bananananana daquiris. (2 points for an easy one.)  -

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queen of the bah-caramels
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The culinaary witch, Nanny Ogg. She knows how to spell banana but not how to stop.

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Focus On The Family- An opinion group who think more about Gay Sex than gay people do- Rick Mercer

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Squishy0405
Wii Wiish You A Merry Chriistmas


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Well Senior I don't know the reference but I do know that

ITS PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME....hah love it.

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"Fate is like a strange, unpopular resturant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never ask for and don't always like."-Lemony Snicket

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Mythophobia
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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

Odd. My pharmacist told me the exact opposite; that if you have problems with constipation, you should stop eating bananas, because they're the ones making you constipated.

Now I'm all confused.

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Horse Chestnut
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After reading this "I wan' a ba-na-na-na...wow!"

And add me to the lucky Snopesters who love bananas - sight, feel, taste and smell. A perfect food.

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