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Sunday, May 4, 2014

What’s all the buzz about bananas?

Wow!  Who is responsible for the latest rumor that bananas are toxic?  A relative was at work eating a banana and her boss told her “bananas are toxic, why are you eating it?”  Then  a co-worker came in and said the same thing, and he had stopped eating bananas.  A woman was in a health food store and overheard a customer saying they had stopped eating bananas because they have toxins in them. 
Yes, the banana peel may have some pesticide residue, but since you peel bananas they are noted as a very low pesticide food.  A group called the Environmental Working Group lists the foods most likely to be covered with pesticides (EWG's 2014 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce).   Bananas aren’t on the list because when you peel a banana you peel away the pesticides. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls bananas one of “the world’s healthiest foods”.  (The World's Healthiest Foods).   Why?  

  • Potassium – bananas are full of potassium.  Many of us have diets low in potassium, a nutrient that helps lower our blood pressure (counteracting the effects of our high sodium diets).  Potassium also helps our heart function.
  • Vitamin B-6 – one banana supplies 25% of our daily needs
  • Manganese – an important mineral, a banana supplies 16% of our daily needs.  This mineral helps metabolize the foods we eat and helps our bones.
  • Copper – a mineral that helps our bodies fight free radicals which can damage our cells, helps us make hemoglobin, important in energy metabolism and helps us make collagen so important for our skin.   One banana gives us 10% of our daily copper needs.
  • Fiber – One banana gives us 12% of our daily fiber.

The World Health Organization notes that since bananas are such a good source of potassium, just one banana a day can help prevent high blood pressure and ward off cardiovascular disease.  The fiber in bananas also helps prevent heart disease.  The potassium in bananas may also help promote healthy bones. 
Other health benefits of bananas according to WHO:

  • Protects against ulcers and ulcer damage as bananas act as an antacid.
  • Bones – not only the potassium but also a prebiotic called, fructooligosaccharide.  These help our bodies absorb calcium which in turn helps our bones.

So the relative who was eating the banana?  She kept eating it, knowing how healthy bananas are.  I eat a banana every day as I enjoy them and they are a super healthy food.  I won’t be scared off from eating bananas because of some unfounded rumors spread over the internet. 
Image Source:  Banana

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