24 Jun 2014

The Banana

*THE BANANA*


Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. The curved yellow fruit packs a big nutritional punch, wrapped in its own convenient 
packaging. Some scientists believe that the banana may have even been the world's first fruit. Today, bananas are grown in at least 107 countries and are ranked fourth 
among the world's food crops in monetary value. Americans consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined. The possible health benefits of consuming bananas 
include lowering the risks of cancer and asthma, lowering blood pressure, improving heart health and promoting regularity. This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a 
collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of the fruit and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to 
incorporate more bananas into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming bananas. One medium banana (about 126 grams) is considered to be one serving. One 
serving of banana contains 110 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.




-Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin -- the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
-Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar.
-Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana.
-Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana.
Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation.
-Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high 
levels of vitamin B-6.
-Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.
-High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke. 
-Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body.
-Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
-Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
-Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhoea.
-Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
-Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids. 
-Eating bananas will help prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.
-Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
-Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease.
-Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
-Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and irritation.
-Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a banana.
-Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day.
-The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
-Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium to speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal.
-Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place.
-Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine.



*Benefits of bananas

-Blood pressure: Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its 
vasodilation effects. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.3
Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.3
Asthma: A study conducted by the Imperial College of London found that children who ate just one banana per day had a 34% less chance of developing asthma.


-Cancer: Consuming bananas, oranges and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. As a good source of vitamin C, 
bananas can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like bananas are associated with a lowered risk 
of colorectal cancer.


-Heart health: The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content in bananas all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is 
the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical 
professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.3 In one study, those who consumed 4069 
mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).3
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the 
formation of kidney stones.3


-Diabetes: Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, 
lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for 
men.


-Treating diarrhea: Bland foods such as apple sauce and bananas are recommended for diarrhea treatment. Electrolytes like potassium are lost in large quantities during 
bouts of diarrhea and may make those affected feel weak. Bananas can help to promote regularity and replenish potassium stores.


-Preserving memory and boosting mood: Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that studies suggest plays a role in preserving memory and boosting your mood.
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