Should We Eat More Bananas?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

ananas are available in every little way-side tea boutique or street eating outlet in Sri Lanka on the main trunk roads. Bananas are kept hanging in most of these places. The secret is that hanging unripe green skin bananas change as they ripen and become sweeter. There are enzymes in bananas that begin to break down starches into sugars. What this means is that it is already digested into sugar for easy absorption, unlike most other fruits. Hanging seems to accelerate this enzyme activity.

You can stop your vehicle and order a bunch and feed your hunger pans, quite fresh and filling, too. The question is asked how healthy are they, and are they low calorie? They are extremely healthy full of nutrients and most average size banana (6-7 inches-101grams) have approximately 90 calories.
Japanese researchers recently discovered something fascinating about bananas, as they ripen, produces more antioxidants in them.

The black spots on the ripen banana skin produces a substance called Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF). This substance seems to combat cancer and abnormal cells. So, darker the spots on the skin seem to be more powerful in killing cancer cells.Bananas are full of water, carbs and very little proteins, and as mentioned earlier when they are ripen you are eating sugar. If you suffer type 2 diabetes you may want to eat a ripe banana with nut butter or plain yoghurt. The fats in the nut butter and yoghurt will slow down sugar absorption preventing spikes. Diabetics should restrict eating bananas unless the sugar is well controlled, as each average banana has on an average 25 grams of carbs. The glycaemic index (GI) of unripe banana is about 30 whilst the ripe ones about 60. Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar carefully after eating a few bananas.

Green unripe bananas have more resistant starch. Resistant starch is less digestible, more like fibre, whilst ripe bananas have less than one percent of resistant starch.

Our grandmothers were right, used to slice unripe bananas and cook into a curry and that would be more suitable for diabetics to enjoy as a treat with so much of resistant starch in them. Further, eating unripe bananas in a curry form the resistant starch seems to feed friendly gut bacteria giving out molecules to keep our large gut free of disease, by producing short chain fatty acids important for digestive health.

Bananas are high fibre 31 grams especially when unripe. They have vitamins like B6, C, B2 and minerals like manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copperBananas have high potassium like the tomatoes (12 percent of the RDI) and are beneficial for heart health and blood pressure control. Furthermore the high amounts of magnesium is also important for heart health

Bananas have become the most popular fruit on earth. In Sri Lanka there are more varieties than most other countries.

Weight watchers: One could eat two bananas and drink some water as a meal which is only 200 cals. Bananas are filling and may delay hunger pangs. Eating unripe bananas in a curry form is more sensible for diabetics as the resistant starch reduces absorption of sugar and may reduce your appetite.
Antioxidants

Bananas have powerful antioxidants including dopamine and catechins. Though bananas have high serotonin -the chemical supposed to be responsible for mood balance (deficit causes depression), unfortunately is not able to cross the blood-brain barrier and will not increase serotonin levels in your brain.
Conclusions: Bananas are good for you as health food except that the diabetics need to be careful. Keep over-ripe bananas with skin removed in the deeper freezer for about two hours.

Mash it like mashing boiled potatoes and you'll be eating the tastiest ice cream on earth- take my word!

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