Myth Blaster: Health Benefits of Bananas

The following information came from chain email sent in by HM, Illinois …

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas.  He said the expression “going bananas” is from the effects of bananas on the brain. … Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. …
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’ s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school (
England) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
ConstipationHigh in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
HangoversOne of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning SicknessSnacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bitesBefore reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
NervesBananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system. …
UlcersThe banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature controlMany other cultures see bananas as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. InThailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking and Tobacco UseBananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance.. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack
StrokesAccording to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
WartsThose keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, “A banana a day keeps the doctor away

Myth Blaster Verdict:

TRUE – with minor exceptions (questionable) – mosquito bites and wart removal, the nutrional breakdown is as follows:

nutritional chart is at a linked site discussing health benefits of bananas.
Bananas contain tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to serotonin that helps relieve depression and improve mood. Bananas are helpful for those with anemia problems. Bananas have fiber (Pectin) content so help keep bowel function normal, as well as provide potassium to renew lost electrolytes when diarrhea occurs. [Go Ask Alice]
Researched published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has proven that adults who eat at least 3 servings of fruit per day have a reduced risk (36%) of developing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). [Bananas Web] Bananas, as with other fruit, help in maintaining good eyesight or reduced degeneration.
Because bananas contain a source of fructooligosaccharide that helps in providing friendly bacteria in the colon and it is also beneficial for producing enzymes that increase digestion and prevent unhealthy bacteria infections. Green bananas absorb calcium more efficiently.

Research published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown that daily consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, is highly protective to kidney health.

Like root vegetables, bananas have high amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Bananas have a low sodium content so it helps maintain proper blood pressure.

The US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

People who suffer from heartburn should eat bananas, and bananas help avoid morning sickness by snacking on them between meals.
Bananas contain vitamins B6 and B12, so they help people quit smoking, as well as contain potassium and magnesium that help recover from nicotine withdrawal. Because of the vitamin B content bananas also help to reduce stress.
Supposedly bananas are the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress for those with ulcers.

According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can reduce the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%.

Sources and Further Reading:

The World’s Healthiest Foods
14 Banana Health Benefits You Might Want to Know … Lifescript