Incredible Bananas

Facts about Banana you might not know:

      *Bananas are wrapped inside a thick inedible peel.

      *The banana plant, is a herb and not a tree.

      *The trunk is not wood but tightly overlapping leaves.

      *It grows 10 to 26 feet in height and belongs to the family Musaceae.

     *The banana fruit grows in hanging bunches of 50 to 150, with individual fruits grouped in          bunches, known as “hands,” of 10 to 25 bananas, an individual banana is called a finger.

     *When rip they are usually long and curved with a soft inside covered by a yellow or red skin    (peel).

      *Bananas have hundreds of edible varieties in two distinct species: the sweet banana and the plantain banana. Sweet bananas vary in size from a few inches to twenty inches and color.     Plantain bananas are usually cooked and considered more like a vegetable due to their starchier qualities; they have a higher beta-carotene concentration than most sweet bananas.

      *Bananas are about 75% water.

     * The fiber from the banana plant can be woven into mats and clothing.

 

Nutrients of  Bananas

Vitamin B6

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B-6. One banana supplies 35 percent of your daily B-6 requirement. Your body uses vitamin B-6 to grow new red cells, and is used by the nervous system, the immune system, and many other bodily functions.

Manganese

Bananas are a good source of manganese. Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

Vitamin C

Bananas contain a good amount of vitamin C. One banana provides about 10 mg of vitamin C, or about 15 percent of your daily recommended amount. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and cell health and improves the absorption of other nutrients such as iron.

Fiber 

According to the USDA, one banana has about 3 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber can help you feel fuller longer and also keep your digestive processes running smoothly.

Potassium

Bananas are famous for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana. Potassium is necessary for good nerve and muscle function as well as for maintaining a healthy balance of fluids in the body. The potassium in bananas can help prevent muscle cramps after exercise. Potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension (increased blood pressure).

Nutrients

Bananas also deliver small amounts of other vitamins and minerals. A banana provides some iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus as well as vitamins A and E, folate, carotene, biotin, copper and choline. Bananas also contain trace amounts of many amino acids.

Calories

By eating a banana you can indulge your sweet tooth without ruining your diet. A banana averages about only 110 calories.

Fat and Cholesterol

Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. Use mashed bananas to substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies, for example, for a healthier treat. Check out our chocolate chip cookies!

Carbohydrates

Your body uses carbohydrates as a primary source of energy.

  

 

 BANANA HISTORY

Bananas originated around Malaysia around 4,000 years ago. From there, they spread throughout the Philippines and India, where in 327 B.C. Alexander the Great’s army recorded them being grown.

Bananas were introduced to Africa by Arabian traders and discovered there in 1482 A.D. by Portuguese explorers who took them to the Americas, the place where the majority of bananas are now grown today.

Bananas were not brought to the United States for sale in markets until the latter part of the 19th century and were initially only enjoyed by people in the seacoast towns where the banana schooners docked; because of the fruit’s fragility, they were unable to be transported far.

With the development of refrigeration and rapid transport in the 20th century, bananas have become widely available. Today, bananas grow in most tropical and subtropical regions with the main commercial producers including Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Brazil. Bananas are picked green and shipped around the world or hung where they are protected from the birds and other critters.

 

 

  What can a BANANA do for me??? 

1. Bananas are perfect for refueling, during or after play and exercise.  Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar. Control blood sugar and by eating a banana.

2. Bananas protect cells against damage from free radicals that can cause heart disease and cancer, help lower blood pressure, and promote healthy skin and hair.

3. Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, the happy mood brain neurotransmitter.

4. Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.

5. Protect against muscle cramps during workout and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana. In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health.

6. Build strong bones by eating a banana. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

7. Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana which regulates blood sugar and produces stress relieving relaxation.

8. Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, and strengthen the nervous system and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B6.

9. Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.

10. High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are known to reduce blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke. Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 400-plus mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

11. Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body.

12. Bananas act as a probiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel.  They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients. Bananas have long been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. In one study, a simple mixture of banana and milk significantly suppressed acid secretion. In an animal study, researchers found that fresh bananas protected the animals’ stomachs from wounds. Bananas work their protective magic in two ways: First, substances in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Second, other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.

13. Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility. In addition, bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation.

14. Diarrhea? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea. Bananas are a natural antacid providing relief from acid reflux, and heartburn Bananas are a smart move if you suffer from elimination problems. A bout of diarrhea can quickly deplete your body of important electrolytes. Bananas can replenish your stores of potassium, one of the most important electrolytes, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance.

15. Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease.  Eating Bananas with help prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.

16. Rub a bug bite or hive with the inside of a banana peel to relieve itching and irritation.

17. Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or a hot day.

 

EVERYONE LOVES BANANAS!

 

 

 

 

Recipes with Incredible Bananas

Banana Nut Bread or Muffins

Grilled Banana Boats

Chocolate Banana Popsicle