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Bananas are Better than You Think! By Barbara Ebel, M.D.

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Bananas are so cool that they deserve their own ‘health’ blog!

First of all, doesn’t Mother Nature provide bananas with a super wrapping? They are the sportiest fruits which can be thrown in lunch boxes, backpacks, and kayaks and taken along for summer outings. They hold up better than grapes and raspberries and the peach that will bruise every time!

Let’s tackle the medical part first: For the reader who has high blood pressure or heart disease, you may be on a thiazide such as hydrochlorothiazide or a loop diuretic such as furosemide. As you probably know, these drugs can cause your potassium levels to drop. Your doctor may have you on a potassium supplement and he or she may periodically check your potassium level. Regardless, your doctor may have recommended that you eat a daily banana! That’s because one medium banana packs about 422 milligrams of potassium. That’s about 11 percent of the 4,700 milligrams adults should try and get daily!

bananas

If you are a big traveler, you already realize bananas come in quite a variety. That’s because they’re produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. There is a big difference in size and taste so do sample them when you’re in exotic places.

Have you ever noticed that bananas make you feel full and reduce your cravings for sweets? They are naturally sweet and their calorie count is way lower than chocolate and other desserts. Try this – a banana as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack – it may prevent you from ripping open that candy bar, scooping into an ice cream container, or eating too many cookies. Unlike most sweets, bananas are rich in dietary fiber, which slows sugar absorption and improves digestion!

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Especially if you’re on a fitness regime, bananas are touted to help you maintain or lose weight, help build muscle, supply energy for workouts and can help to regulate fluid balance. Some say they are mood enhancers because they can increase serotonin levels. Some sources say bananas support eye health, improve heart function, and protect against atherosclerosis. They may help in the treatment of stomach ulcers, constipation, high blood sugar, acne, and psoriasis.

It may be speculative, but some suggest that bananas reduce the risk of developing cancer, osteoporosis, poor eyesight and diabetes. They may even improve brain function! Another pearl about bananas is that they can help protect against muscle cramps during workouts and nighttime leg cramps. This natural fruit with its golden wrapping can do all of that!

I’ll leave you with the absolute nutrition facts for bananas. I’ve used the USDA’s information for a medium banana. Their site has other values, like for a cup of bananas.

Nutrition Facts Bananas
Amount Per 1 medium (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) (118 g)  –  Calories 105
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.4 g 0%;   Saturated fat 0.1 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g;   Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%;   Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 422 mg 12%;   Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
Dietary fiber 3.1 g 12%;   Sugar 14 g
Protein 1.3 g 2%;   Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 0% Iron 1%;   Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 20%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 8%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Here is the USDA’s link: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2237

Below, please find two awesome recipes for your next bunch of bananas!

And be sure to check out my website: http://bit.ly/rGV4kl
My three medical fiction novels are in the top 1% bestselling ebooks on Amazon (of over 2.5 million books). And for other health pearls, check out Younger Next Decade.

Chiquita Banana Pineapple Smoothie Recipe

easy-Banana-Pineapple-Smoothie-recipe-smThis is so easy and it will let you take a little trip to the tropics!
Ingredients:
1/2 Chiquita Banana
1/3 cup Milk
3 oz. Chopped Pineapple
Pour all ingredients in blender on high for 40 seconds or until the smoothie thickens.
Optional additions: 2 tsp. cappuccino powder, 1 Tbsp. almonds or 1 scoop protein mix.

Banana Bread from the Food Network

bbread

Ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

 

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