“The world’s most perfect fruit?”
Maybe not, but close!
Bananas are the fruit of choice for millions of people. Here in the states, they take the lead in fruit sales annually and up to 96% of American households purchase bananas every month. On average, Americans who consume bananas regularly eat up to twenty-eight pounds of them a year.
Once upon a time, it’s said that Alexander the Great took credit for discovering bananas way back in n 327 B.C.
His records describe how wonderful he thought they were, and were likely the first written description of them. But, archaeological records indicate bananas were being cultivated long before Alexander came into contact with them.
Great for most, but definitely not everyone
Most folks can benefit from the long list of health benefits we can glean from incorporating bananas into our diets. However, right from the start, I want to share with you a few reasons they may not be good for you, depending on your health.
Bananas are the Snickers Bar of the fruit kingdom--packing LOTS of sugar. For diabetics, they're not the ideal fruit to eat, unless it's in tiny portions.
Also, because they're so rich in potassium, they're not great for folks with renal challenges, or who're on a renal diet plan. If that's you, bananas should be avoided entirely, or in very small portions.
The good for you list...
A specialty diet alternative
For folks who don't do dairy, bananas are an inexpensive and healthy alternative ingredient for several popular recipes, such as freezing and blending them into a "nice cream" and puddings.
Muscle spasms and cramps
Bananas often provide effective and fast relief to both. No fancy prep needed--just eat them and let them get to work. They’re good at this because they’re rich in potassium and magnesium.
Bright, white teeth!
Their magnesium content is also why the inside of their peeling/skin makes an awesome organic option to whiten and brighten your teeth. You just rub the inside of the peeling on your teeth, kinda like you’d use your toothbrush.
I have a close friend and colleague in Texas, a nurse, who retired a while back. Two things she had a passion for was smoking cigarettes and drinking diet cola.
We got together for dinner once, after not seeing each other for a few weeks. In just a few moments of chatting, I noticed her teeth were remarkably whiter. I told her so and she explained that she’d been doing the banana peel rubs to whiten them. I was sincerely amazed at the difference and asked her how long it’d taken for them to get as white as they were.
She said she’d been doing the banana peel rubs only three days.
I have used bananas in this fashion myself, and had the same results.
Although it's not as common in the US, in other areas of the globe, both the fruit's flesh and peel are eaten.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate it into tasty recipes, such as adding them to smoothies, making chutney, and even cooking them into banana beer (I'm referring to the non-alcoholic version).
In researching benefits of bananas, I found that many people report using the peels to reduce skin lines and wrinkles, inflammation and acne symptoms. Some say they can also provide relief to skin irritated due to bug bites and psoriasis.
As an organic polish
The outside of the peel also works well to polish shoes, purses, briefcases, etcetera. Maybe even your auto’s dash area.
For those of you who tend to suffer with occasional depression, bananas may be just the fruit to get the pep back in your step, switching out the dark moods for brighter ones. They have high levels of tryptophan, which converts to serotonin, your body’s natural mood enhancer.
They’re a great source of B6 vitamin, which helps with things like weight loss, strengthening the nervous system and helping to maintain sugars for folks with type II diabetes (although, as mentioned above, if you tend to have high sugar, bananas aren't likely a healthy choice of fruit for you.)
Blood and bones
They’re good for strengthening bones and boosting blood cell production. That’s a good one to note for people who are troubled with anemia and osteoporosis.
Good gut health
As an organic digestive aid, bananas are high in pectin, so they chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body. They’re natural antacids and probiotics aid in the natural development of good bacteria in the gut.
For those who suffer from constipation or even spastic colon, bananas provide powerful medication to help bring balance to sensitive digestive systems and stop the symptoms of heartburn, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Where to get the best bananas
My advice is to grow your own. Believe it or not, they’re pretty easy to grow and care for, even indoors. There are several dwarf varieties to choose from and the plants are total eye candy! Kinda like having a real, live, and usable aspect of the tropics in your house, if you live in a non-tropical area.
In Texas, we had a beautiful banana tree on the property at one of the funeral homes I worked with for several years. During warmer seasons, it produced small and delicious bananas, if it wasn’t cut back in winter, all the way to the ground. If just a few inches of the plant were left, it would produce fruit the following summer.
I pray you've found this helpful and interesting! If you have related information to share, or a question, I encourage you to leave a comment and I'll respond soon as I can!
'Til next time,
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