Bananas And Your Health

Health Benifits

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Bananas

Whenever bananas and health are used in the same sentence the term potassium comes to almost every one’s mind.  However the health benefits of bananas are much broader in scope than just potassium. Considered by many to be one of the world’s most perfect whole foods, the common banana is certainly one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.

Fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free, bananas do have potassium, protein, fiber, vitamins A, B-6, B-12, vitamin C, as well as pectin, and the amino acid tryptophan.  Made up of 75% water bananas are the fourth most consumed food plant on earth after rice, wheat, and corn.

Bananas as a Whole Food

Bananas is one of those must-have foods people get when they go to market much like bread milk, and eggs.  No matter what else is on the shopping list, bananas usually make it into the cart as well.  This hasn’t necessarily been because they are healthy, but because they taste great. Kids love them, which is a big blessing, because bananas, or any other whole food are best when they are started at an early age.

The actual health influences from eating bananas are vast, some being benefits developed and maintained over years and some that are quite immediate.

Eating Bananas

Long Range Health Benefits

Heart health

Bananas

One of the benefits is in the fact that potassium levels in a banana are an effective method to balance the electrolyte and body fluids within our bodies cells which helps to regulate blood pressure.  Reducing this risk factor for heart attack also minimizes the risk for strokes.  Potassium is also a critical element for the regulation of proper rhythmic muscle contraction including the most important muscle of all, the heart.

Kidney trouble

The toxic condition called uremia comes about when the kidney becomes congested, inflamed, and dysfunctional from the constant combined load of uric acid that is formed from our meat heavy western diet and chemicals that we ingest with those animal products.

The body’s systems of cleaning and filtering can handle a certain amount of meat but not in the amounts that we are used to eating in our culture.

Being low in protein and salt but relatively high in carbohydrates, another of the benefits of bananas is they help the bodyhealth benefits of bananas by feeding it and at the same time allowing the kidneys to flush and clear some of the congestion.  A banana diet consisting of eight or nine bananas per day for 3 or 4 days is effective in dealing with the problem.

Nephritis, a bacterial caused kidney infection, responds well to this regimen also.  (Consult your doctor before starting a program such as this and do some research on your own as well.)

Ulcers/Waste management system

Present with most ulcers is the bacteria helicobacter pylori, that, left untreated causes ulcerations, (holes), in the soft lining of the stomach. This naturally causes inflammation, pain, and can lead to much more complicated problems.

The flesh of a banana is smooth, soothing to the stomach, and quickly digested.  The acid neutralizing properties in  bananas helps cool down the stomach, stop the irritation, and coat the stomach lining.  As the banana is digested it enters the gut to normalize the ph and flora in the upper intestine and acts as a mild laxative.

Stroke and other things that go wrong

The health benefits are evident in levels of potassium that we keep mentioning, when combined with no salt, helps reduce stroke risks by about 40% with regular use of this remarkable fruit.

Containing one of the greatest naturally available vitamin B-6 sources makes the banana a major player in making serotonin from tryptophan as well as producing hemoglobin, a critical part of our blood.

The hefty amount of fiber in bananas is the aid to the body to again lower risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

B-6 also is important for producing antibodies, maintaining immune responses, and helps convert carbs to glucose which helps level blood sugars in our systems.

Immediate Health Benefits

Bananas

Energy Levels

At any athletic event you will often notice that the athletes eat bananas for a quick boost of sustainable energy. Anyone needing a fast pick-me-up can be assisted by eating a banana!

Bananas provide this energy boost by the combined levels of B-vitamins and carbohydrates.  The glucose, fructose, and sucrose in this tasty fruit put some people off due to concerns about weight, but at only 100 calories per banana the natural sugars in this fruit are extremely bio-available.  With the help of the fiber that bananas contain they quickly metabolize and don’t end up as fat.

Bananas

One good sized banana provides almost a quarter of the recommended daily amount of B-6 vitamins, 15% of RDA fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and the right kinds of amino acids.

The mood elevating chemical triptophan, aside from being instrumental in producing blood cells, also helps to reduce stress.

The quick energy that we mentioned before also serves to keep you alert and improves the functioning of our brain.  As long as you don’t eat them before bedtime, who couldn’t use a mental pick-me-up during the day, (starting with breakfast).  With no harsh chemicals or strong stimulants, and certainly being less expensive than those little mini bottles that are so popular right now, the banana health benefits are a stronger case.

History of Bananas

Originally from Malaysia, bananas traveled via trade routes to India sometime around the 6th century BC.  There were vast banana plantations in China by 200 AD and in 327 A.D. Alexander the Great found them on a visit to India, took a shine to them and so carried some to the western civilization.  They were thought of as a luxury so that they didn’t reach the level of popularity that we have today until the 20th century.

Today the greatest producer of commercial bananas is India which grows about one quarter of the world’s crop, but consumes most of it domestically.  There are 130 countries world wide that grow bananas and 10% to 15% of that production is exported to other countries. Here in North America most of our bananas come from Hawaii (the only state that grows them).

 Banana Varieties

Bananas

The cavendish strain of bananas are the most common to the U.S., and are the most widely grown variety in Hawaii with 80% of growers preferring this one.  Bright yellow when ripe, the cavendish banana is sweet, smooth in texture and can grow to nearly 12 inches long.

The second most popular banana grown in Hawaii is the Brazilian. Brazilian bananas are the second most commonplace group of banana varieties in Hawaii. Brazilian bananas are commonly referred to in Hawaii as “apple bananas.”  The Brazilian group includes the dwarf Brazilian variety. Dwarf Brazilian banana trees reach a mature height of 5 to 10 feet. They produce sweet, slightly tangy bananas with a firm texture.

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A Hawaiian Candy Apple Banana is a nutritious, tasty and sweet banana grown right on the lovely Big Island of Hawaii. It is low in calories, high in potassium, a good source of Vitamin B6 and fiber. Candy Apple Bananas are naturally sweet with sucrose, fructose and glucose and have 3 times more Vitamin C and 1-1/2 times more Vitamin A than your regular banana.

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