Saturday, January 17, 2009

Going Bananas

I like to watch tennis matches on TV especially the grand slam series. Running under the hot sun for hours at high speed require a lot of energy and stamina. So during the breaks players would replenish their bodies with fluids and sometimes bananas.
Why bananas and not other fruits? There are many reasons. Banana is easy to peel and eat and provide a quick boost of energy. Depending on the type and size of the banana, it typically contain 110 calories, 3 natural sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose), about 6 vitamins, and 11 minerals. It is a good source of potassium and fiber and has no fat and cholesterol. I love to eat banana and there are so many ways to prepare and consume it.
Banana can be made into cake, bread, pie, sauce, ketchup, pudding, chips, yogurt, and beer, among many others. You can freeze it, deep-fry it, steam it, squeeze it into juice, split it and serve with ice-cream, slice and put it in a sandwich, or cut it up and mix it in a salad bowl. For me, eating it on its own at 90% ripeness is a super treat.
Banana has a long list of health benefits, some of which are:
1. Ease Constipation: its high fiber content helps digestive tract and bowel movement
2. Diarrhea: the potassium replaces the lost electrolytes
3. Anemia: the iron helps to replenish the red blood cells
4. Healthy bones: bananas contain a complex sugar compound that nourishes good bacteria in the colon. This good bacteria produce enzymes which help digestion and in the process increase the absorption of calcium
5. Prevent High blood pressure: its high potassium and low sodium ratio helps prevent high blood pressure and stroke
6. Help reduce Ulcers: bananas stimulate the cells on the internal stomach lining to produce a thick mucus protecting it against acid; it contain enzyme inhibitors that get rid of bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers.
7. Reduce Depression: bananas contain an amino acid that can be converted to serotonin and help reduce depression.
8. Relief Stress: when a person is highly stressed, his potassium level will deplete quickly. Eating bananas, which is high in potassium, will restore the level and provide a good balance in the body.
9. Reduce Heartburn: bananas help to prevent the build-up of acids in the stomach and provide relief for people suffering from heartburn.
10. Reduce Morning Sickness: bananas help keep the blood-sugar level up and reduce morning sickness.
11. Help to quit Smoking: bananas contain vitamins B6, B12, potassium and magnesium that can help a person trying to quit smoking to recover from nicotine withdrawal.
12. Anti-Cancer quality: a fully ripe banana produces a substance known as TNF that can fight abnormal cells.
Dark spots will appear on the skin of the banana as it ripens. The more dark spots it has the better its fighting ability and anti-cancer quality. In researches conducted in Japan using animals, the health benefits of various fruits were compared.
The fruits include banana, apple, pear, pineapple, persimmon, grape, and water melon. Banana came out top. Eating bananas produced the anti-cancer substance TNF, increased the white blood cells count, and improved the immunity of the body. So eat a banana a day and keep the doctors away.
by ChongYim Ng

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