Friday, September 5, 2008

Bananarama

No, this is not a post about an all-girl, British rock band from the '80s. But it would be a cruel summer if I didn't mention that my lovely wife is a huge '80s music aficionado and becomes exceptionally elated whenever Bananarama plays on the radio.


But enough about decades-old girl groups. Today, I honor not the music group but the amazing health (and taste) benefits of the most popular fruit in the world.

THE BANANA!

Bananas have been around a long time, having been mentioned in Buddhist Pali workings dating back to 6th century BC. Alexander the Great is credited with bringing the banana from India (via slave routes) to the Western World, and then eventually the banana migrated into Africa. It wasn't until 1876 that bananas found their way into North America as part of our country's Centennial celebration in Pennsylvania.

And, just think, after all that arduous travel and storied history, I get to eat one just about everyday. Guess what? You should too!

Bananas are loaded with all sorts of healthy good stuff, mostly: potassium. One large banana has around 600 mg, while only carrying 140 calories. One of the misconceptions about the banana is that it is fattening. This is far from the case. 140 calories, 4.0 grams of fiber, with virtually zero sodium or fat. Bananas are good for you, not fattening! Why not toss your little monkey (I mean child) a banana next time the cute chimp...er, I mean, little darling, asks for a snack. Hey, they taste good too!


Considered one of the healthiest fruits around, bananas are loaded with vitamins A and B, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, and a decent source of calcium and magnesium.

I eat a banana as part of my daily fiber ritual. I like to peel, use a knife and slice (while searching for and cutting out bruises), and consume. But bananas also go great with cereal, oatmeal, in yogurt and desserts (from banana breads and cakes to ice cream and Bananas Foster). Also, in many countries, bananas are eaten daily in savory dishes.

POP QUIZ!

Bananas grow...?

(a) in a tree
(b) under ground
(c) in a herb
(d) in water
(e) none of the above
(f) stop goofing off, Mike, and get back to work!

Did you know that daily consumption of bananas can:

* stimulate production of hemoglobin in the blood to help with anemia
* cure hangovers and morning sickness
* sooth heartburn
* calm the nervous system
* help lower blood pressure
* boost brain activity
* combat constipation, reduce stress, strokes, ulcers!
* lower gas prices!! (just seeing if you were paying attention)

Wow, no wonder I eat one everyday, and why you should too.

The old adage--"Never put bananas in the refrigerator"--is said for a reason. Don't do it. If you do, they will not ripen because the cold interferes with the ripening process. Conversely, during the warm summer days they seem to ripen overnight. You CAN refrigerate them AFTER they ripen, but don't keep them in there for more than a week or two. Me? I buy them as green as I can find during the summer and leave them out, never refrigerating them. In the winter, I try to find the brightest yellowest ones and leave them on the counter. I've found that this method works the best for me.

Okay, for all of you who made it to the end of this post, I have a treat for you. A Banana...rama treat! No, it's not as healthy for you as eating a banana is, but it's got a catchy tune and you can dance to it. And, besides, my wife made me do it.



Oh, and the answer to the pop quiz is: (c). That thing that looks like a tree that bananas grow on is actually a herb. Go figure.

Until next time...

peace,

Mike

25 comments:

Lanceman said...

Hey, I love bananas too (more than Bananarama!). But I didn't realize all the health benefits - especially the hangover curer! I'll have to remember that one! We have five people in our house, so bananas go fast. Rarely do we have them get too ripe.

Keep enjoying your bananas Mike!

Daisy said...

My sister Pixie loves bananers! I do not even like the smell of them.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Mike,

I was smiling as I was looking at your pictures..Yes, banana is a herb...and yes, banana is a rich fruit, rich with the much needed elements and vitamins and anti-toxins. Very informative post,
Thanks for sharing.

Wayne said...

Ha, never knew it was a darn herb. Learn something everyday I tell ya...

Nanners are my favorite!

Eric S. said...

Wow, never knew a tree was an herb, sure looks like a tree. I love bananas, they really help fight off the heat cramps.

Cassy said...

Love bananas... esp. when they're green going in to yellow. Sliced and drizzled with lemon juice. In between meals. If you're doing low-carb, are they still "OK" to have?

Love your blog!

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I really thought they grew on a tree. I need to eat more bananas and am now going to get some tomorrow at the store. For some reason I have not been on a banana kick lately but after reading this I am changing that!

Lux said...

My mom loves bananas. I used to be really scared of them - that flapping peel - but I got over it.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

I love bananas!

I cut them up and put them in my bran cereal. I eat them when I need a quick snack in the afternoon. And I take them with me in the car when I'm in a hurry.

We let them get a bit ripe. The green ones are considered acidic.

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Wow. Great info about bananas! We eat a lot of bananas at our house. They are my family's favorite fruit.

allforblue said...

banana strip icream is cool, but at I live , popular topmost , be baked bananas

A. said...

I eat a lot of bananas but they just don't taste the same as they did in Africa.

Jim Purdy said...

I just watched your video of your daily fiber ritual. It's pretty good, and I agree that a salad can be delicious. I used to hate salads, but I've developed a real fondness for them, especially now that I'm trying to get more fiber in my daily diet. Your daily fiber total was impressive! Thanks for sharing.

Mike Foster said...

Lanceman--glad to help you with your next hangover...sounds like the family is eating right...a good thing

Daisy--sorry to hear that, at least Pixie likes 'em

Jena isle--happy to put a smile on your face

Wayne--great fruit, and I was as surprised as anyone about the herb thing

Eric--heat cramps and lots of other maladies...I see Tiger Woods eating them while golfing all the time

Cassy--thanks for the nice words and interesting tip...hmm, lemon juice, huh? One banana has around 30 grams of carbs, will let you decide

Heidi--happy to get you back on the banana kick

Lux--flapping peels are kind of scary...

Paul--don't like them green either, just buy them green so they ripen slower, last longer

Laura--sounds like lots of good, healthy eating going on in the Eilers household

allforblue--baked bananas sound great

a.--would love to try one from Africa

jim purdy--I am a fiber freak; helped me lose 40 pounds in 6 months and keep it off. Good luck!

Kathy said...

I'm with Daisy. I don't like bananas. I wish I did because they're so packed with good stuff. But it's something about the texture I don't like. Too soft and mushy. I do loves me banana bread or muffins, though!

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

I like bananas for my choice of fruit because they are easy to eat and not messy like most other fruit. Did you ever try peanut butter on them? It's really good, but then, I like peanut butter! It doesn't taste so bland then.

Shannon@Vogue Mum said...

i wish i liked bananas! i know they are so good for me, but i cannot consume them unless they are in bread:(

shannon
Rock Star Materntiy
The Domestic Engineer's Union

Molly said...

In high school someone told me smoking banana peels gets you high.

Shiko-Msa said...

And off I go to find me a banana.

I'm writing from Kenya and we have lots of bananas all year round. People here as a result tend to take them for granted opting instead for more exotic fruits. But personally I love them.

The peanut butter on bananas that's a new one I'll try when I get home. If I have too many and they get overripe in the house, I puree them and use the puree and wholemeal flour to make pancakes. Nice.

Mike Foster said...

Kathy--bananas do have a "different" texture than most fruits, or things, for that matter.

Karen and Amp--that is a big one, the peanut butter. While I love peanuts and peanut butter, never added a dollop on my banana...may give it a try

Shannon--to each his (or her) own...

Molly--why not?

Shiko-msa--cool, sounds like a great place for all types of fresh fruits. And those pancakes sound amazing!

peace,

Mike

neferiti said...

Love bananas! However, I never knew that you should not put them in the frig :0! Going to remove them now....LOL.

Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Respectfully,

Helen

betchai said...

i love banana, love the smell and the taste, and of course, the health benefits. i prefer it simply banana, no peanut butter nor anything, but of course, to each his own. but sometimes, especially during the hot days of summer, when i want to have ice cream, so that i won't be eating a lot of ice cream, i eat ice cream with banana. i know, ice cream may not be that too healthy, but then, hihihi, sometimes, i feel like treating myself too, and banana with ice cream is sooooo good.

Faisal Admar said...

This is such a good post Mike! We can easily get banana here in Malaysia. Thank God! I used to eat a lot of banana when I joined gym last time. But then with the hectic schedule I tend to forget about my banana (I mean the real banana okay!). I will buy some later!

Faisal Admar said...

Oh by the way, I didn't know the trunk is herb. We used to put them into curry as well :)

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