Monday, August 16, 2010

Fruit of the Week: Banana!

Sources: http://healthmad.com, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, Fruit http://healthycooking.suite101.com

Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit around the world. They have a peel that comes off easily, they ripen after they've been picked, there is a generous supply all year, and they are inexpensive. Bananas have both a high amount of carbohydrates as well as potassium, which also makes them the fruit of choice for many athletes.

Selection
Avoid bananas with brown spots that seem very soft. Select those bananas with a nice color, specific for the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and free of bruises. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow skin color is speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.

Storage
To further ripen bananas leave at room temperature for a couple of days. Once ripe you can store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The peel may turn brown in the refrigerator, but the fruit will not change.

Vitamins in Bananas
Bananas are loaded with the vitamins and nutrients that the human body needs daily to function. The most important banana nutrients include:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Potassium
- Dietary Fiber
- Manganese
In addition to these main nutrients, bananas contain iron, vitamin A, phosphorus and natural sugars making them a super-healthy, energy-boosting snack. Eating just two bananas can help the body produce enough energy for an hour and a half long workout.

10 Health Benefits of Bananas
1. Ulcers: Bananas are a great food for ulcer patients, one of the few foods many ulcer patients can eat without suffering setbacks and pain. Why is this? Bananas lower the levels of acid in gastric juices in the stomach, and build a protective coating inside the stomach.
2. Minor burns: Yes, bananas can provide pain relief from minor burns and other wounds. The best way to accomplish this is to mash up the inside of a banana, then wrap it in a cloth or paper towel and place it on the burnt area. Pain relief should begin quite soon.
3. Energy: Sugar provides he body energy, and bananas have three types of natural, healthy sugars: fructose, glucose and sucrose. So get a little pep in your step by starting your day of with a banana.
4. Anemia: Anemia is the most common of blood disorders, usually being a decrease in the normal number of red blood cells. Guess what helps with anemia? Iron. Guess what fruit has lots of iron? Bananas. The iron in bananas helps stimulate the growth of hemoglobin in the body, which can help with anemia.
5. Blood pressure: Bananas are also quite high in potassium, which can help to reduce blood pressure (and possibly help against all heart disease). The potassium in bananas helps to combat sodium, which is a big no-no for those with heart conditions and high blood pressure.
6. PMS: That’s right. Bananas are even good for the pains of PMS. It’s the high levels of vitamin B6 in bananas which help to regulate blood glucose levels, which affects the moods and pains of women suffering PMS.
7. Cramping: All that potassium in bananas also is good for cramping, allowing the body’s muscle to more freely contract and expand. This is especially important for the athletic.
8. Constipation: Bananas are a natural, light laxative, allowing the body to deal with constipation without turning to diarrhea. It’s all that natural fiber found in bananas that helps with this trick. But if you have serious health concerns, always consult a doctor.
9. Depression: Believe it or not, bananas are great for lifting ones mood. Bananas contain tryptophan, a mood leveling protein also found in turkey. And like chocolate, bananas contain norepinephrine and serotonin, which can help one relax. Also, the vitamin B in bananas helps to calm the nervous system. Put all this together, and you’ve got a natural high.
10. Smoking: That’s right, bananas can even help those who are trying to stop smoking. The combination in bananas of vitamins A1, C, B6 and B12, along with all that potassium, helps those who are trying to quit smoking from nicotine withdrawal.

Wow!! Isn't it time to make this simple fruit a daily treat? Any interestin ideas/suggestions...please send in your recipes at contact@easemyhealth.com. The best recipe will be featured later this week with due credit to the sender :)

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