Can a banana a day keep the doctor away? Let’s find out

Published: January 21, 2019
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Did you know bananas are grown in 107 countries? According to Health and Human Research, they are also the fourth most valuable crops globally. Needless to say, this particular food is super popular worldwide and a surefire way to make money. Indeed, bananas are big business. But are they good business?

It’s no breaking news that bananas are full of potassium, fibre, vitamin C and B6. But bear in mind, they aren’t recommended for everyone. How many bananas are too many? Let’s find out.

Potassium in a tasty package

Bananas are rich in this nutrient, used to generate the electrical charge that keeps our cells functioning correctly. Potassium also helps maintain your heart rate, triggers the release of insulin to control blood sugar and supports an optimal blood pressure.

Healthy adults are encouraged to consume between 3,500-4,700mg of potassium per day, depending on lifestyle and other factors. An average banana contains about 450mg of potassium.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

No pressure

A delicate balance of sodium and potassium supports a healthy blood pressure.

Better safe than sorry

Fresh fruits and veggies lower cancer risk overall. These are rich without the addition of salt, refined sugar, preservatives and dyes. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, which helps to strike down the formation of cancer-causing free radicals. Their high fiber content is also thought to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

A happy heart

Boosting potassium while reducing sodium is probably the best thing you can do to prevent cardiovascular diseases. A study has indicated that people who take in at least 4,069mg of potassium daily have a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease than those who consume less than 1,000mg! Also, the fibre, vitamin C and B6 in bananas are all critical for a strong heart.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Sooth tummy troubles

Doctors still recommend bananas for people with digestive distress. The fruit is relatively bland and easy to digest. But most importantly, they replace vital electrolytes like potassium that are lost in large quantities during diarrhea. The fiber content also helps to sooth an upset stomach.

But those taking medication for heart diseases should eat bananas in moderation. Beta blockers, in particular, cause potassium levels to increase. Too much potassium can, however, be detrimental to those with kidneys issues. Also, many experts claim bananas can trigger migraines. So it may be best to avoid having them too often if you’re susceptible to headaches.

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