Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Going Bananas – should you eat the rotten ones!

The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store and I overheard a conversation between the clerk and a customer. The customer had several brown spotted bananas in her basket. She said she was always happy to find the brown ones because they are the sweetest. The clerk smiled and said that they always left brown bananas for customers just like her.  She said that most people think they are rotten and won’t buy them. The brown spots are actually the starch in the bananas turning into sugar. The clerk went on to say that the green/yellow bananas contained more potassium so they are actually better for you than the brown ones. She was right about the sugar. He was wrong about the potassium.

Whether ripe or not bananas contain the same amount of potassium. The difference is that the ripe bananas are easier to digest and a good choice for anyone with a digestive issues such as IBS. However, the ripe bananas do contain more antioxidants than the green/yellow bananas. So the store clerk was really off on his bananas. The brown spots actually contain something called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) which scientists have identified as having anti-cancer properties. The caveat though with over ripe bananas is that the high sugar content can be a problem for diabetics.

If the brown bananas are squishy, too soft and smell they are over ripe. These are the rotten ones. These are the ones you should not eat. But just remember soft and a little brown might be just what the doctor ordered for your daily dose of potassium and TNF.

Why do you need potassium? It is the mineral that is involved in nerve transmission and muscle strength as well as proper heart functioning. Minerals support our bones and the functioning of most all the vital organs in our body. Too much or too little and we experience muscle weakness, palpitations, fatigue and intestinal problems.

Each day we need about 4700 milligrams of potassium. Potassium can be found in foods such as bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, meats, fish and leafy green vegetables, as well as rice bran. Chances are if you eat a healthy diet you will get the right mix and balance of vitamins and minerals. Too little or too much and you’ve lost your balance. It is the right balance of these nutrients that creates perfect health. So go bananas and don’t scoff at the ones with some brown spots. With a combination of potassium, antioxidants and TNF they might just be the best choice after all!

Doctor Lynn

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