The medical benefits of bananas
Audrey D, 50, from Harbour View, was told to eat more bananas to supplement potassium tablets she takes with water pills for high blood pressure. She asks Check Up about the medical uses of banana.
Bananas are high in anti-oxidants, which protect the individual from the effects of free radicals on the body. Bananas are also known to reduce swelling and protect against type 2 diabetes.
An average banana contains 110 carbohydrate calories. They are fat and cholesterol free and can, at times, be substituted for butter or oil when baking cookies.
n Potassium: Bananas contain more than 400mg potassium in a single fruit. This is used for nerve and muscle function, for maintaining fluid balance and to prevent muscle cramps after exercise. Potassium also helps reduce strokes and regulate blood pressure as it promotes circulatory health.
• Constipation: Bananas contain fibre, which promotes healthy bowel function and helps stop constipation.
• Mood: Bananas contain the mood-relaxing chemical, tryptophan.
• Menstrual cramps: Bananas help reduce menstrual pains.
• Vitamin B6: Helps regulate blood sugar and lifts mood.
• Smoking: Bananas contain B vitamins which help reduce psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal.
n Wart remover: Anecdotal evidence exists that wrapping banana peel around foot warts with the external skin against the wart can help with wart removal.
• Morning sickness: Bananas have been found to help settle morning sickness in pregnant women.
n Mosquito bites: Rubbing the inside of the banana peel over mosquito bites helps reduce associated itching and swelling.
• Vitamin C: Boosts immune system and helps with absorption of iron.
• Iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin A and E, folate, carotene, all necessary for normal cell function, vision and healthy bones.
• Cancer: Evidence suggests bananas help protect against kidney cancer and can reduce this risk by 40 per cent due to antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Eaten in moderation, there are no health risks but excessive intake can trigger headaches and sleepiness.