I came across a picture the other day that has me totally intrigued and here it is.
It has me so hooked because it is such a simple and ‘healthful’ idea and I will never find out for myself whether it is true or not. This is because bananas are one of those foods that I simply can’t bear. I have seen them called ‘everyone’s favourite food’, but unfortunately not in my house! Only one person and the dog can abide bananas, and if that one person should ever peel one in the car then immediately three windows are thrown open and three heads lean out looking for fresh ‘banana-free’ air, while anyone else who might be in the car complains loudly.
This is pretty unfortunate because bananas offer so much inside that humble jacket. Firstly their convenience makes them very appealing as a snack-on-the-go. In addition they are nutrient-rich, containing Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese and potassium as well as being high in fibre. On top of this they are low in kilojoules. Their texture and sweetness makes them the ideal ingredient in many foods. There is a wonderful ‘ice-cream’ that is often sold at weekend markets made entirely of fruit, delicious and healthy, but unfortunately for me, one of the ingredients is always banana, and I can taste that flavour overwhelming all the others. They are so simple to throw into a smoothie for a nutrient boost or into a cake if you love baking. Most kids love them and with the sweet taste and easy eating they are a pretty reliable way to have your children eat the fruit in their lunchbox.
For my family this aversion offers a huge health loss as bananas have heaps of health benefits. They are high in fibre. They can help protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, blindness and diabetes, they combat depression, help digestion, they can reduce PMS, build your immune system, even polish your shoes! And this is just the start. Here are some of the benefits that make bananas such a great health package:
Potassium rich, they are well recognized as playing a role in preventing high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and reducing the risk of stroke
- They are high in fibre which keeps you regular, helps to maintain low blood sugar and stop you overeating – great if you are trying to lose weight
- They also help if you suffer from diarrhoea as they help with fluid balance and replace lost electrolytes also. In addition, the fibre in bananas helps keep you regular if you are constipated.
- They build strong bones by reducing the amount of calcium that is lost to your bones because it is excreted in your urine due to the western diet
- Help stop muscle cramps – eating one or two before you exercise as it will also boost your energy or before bed if you suffer night cramps
- Aid digestion by stimulating production of the mucous that coats and protects the stomach lining and they are a natural antacid. They are the only fruit you can eat raw if you have stomach ulcers already.
- Help to prevent stomach ulcers as they contain protease inhibitors to break down the stomach bacteria that cause ulcers
- Contain Tryptophan which converts into serotonin and helps fight depression. Eating a banana might be just what you need to lift your mood if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
- Potassium also keeps you more alert, so eating bananas helps when you are studying
- Your immune system loves bananas because they are high in antioxidants to fight free radicals
- They contain iron to help prevent anaemia
- They help combat PMS by regulating blood sugars and raising your mood
- They help balance fluid in your body to reduce swelling from fluid retention
- They are a prebiotic and help your digestive tract by increasing the numbers of friendly bacteria so that you can absorb nutrients better
- Contain Vitamin B6 which helps fight off Type II Diabetes
- Vitamin B6 also helps ensure white blood cell production to protect you against infection
- Bananas seem to play a significant role in preventing kidney cancer when you eat them four to six times a week
- It turns out that while carrots are great for good eyes in children, fruit is a better way to protect against Macular Degeneration in adults and bananas are an easy way to keep up your fruit intake
So, unless like me you also have a strong aversion to bananas, how can you possibly not be eating lots of bananas.
But it matters quite a lot just how ripe they are. The more dark, brown patches there are on the skin the higher the health benefit. Yellow bananas with brown spots are eight times more effective at enhancing your white blood cells than green skin varieties, and with higher TNF (Tumour Necrosing Factor) have a better anti-cancer quality.
For many years I have been putting banana skins (yes we do have bananas in the house) in the top of my Staghorn and Elkhorn Ferns as they absolutely love the potassium in the banana skin. But apparently the inside of banana skins is also an excellent way to relieve itchy insect bites or hives. And it seems the enzymes in the peel will dislodge splinters if you tape a small piece of peel over the splinter. The inside of the peel will also give your leather bags and shoes a great shine if you polish them with it and then buff with a soft cloth. You could try it on your leather furniture too.
Which brings me back to where I started, whitening your teeth by polishing them with a banana peel. There are dangers associated with Cosmetic Teeth Whitening procedures so this seems like a perfect alternative. Here are the instructions about how to do it. So please, go ahead and give it a try and then come back here and post your results in the comments space below. I am dying to hear how well it works.
And if you know of any more bizarre uses for the humble banana skin add those below too.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.