Bananas: Nature’s Perfect Fast Food

Eating bananas ain’t monkey business. We’ve known for some time that bananas may also help cure ulcers, lower cholesterol and possibly more.

Potential Healing Power:

  • Prevent high blood pressure
  • Heal ulcers
  • Relieve recurrent heartburn
  • Control cholesterol
  • Prevent strokes

The magic ingredient, at least as far as your circulatory system is concerned, appears to be potassium. Researchers discovered that those who ate a single daily serving of potassium-rich foods such as bananas had a 40 percent lower risk of stroke.

Other researchers have found that those who add potassium to their diets can not only help prevent stroke but reduce their blood pressures as well. The effect is so powerful, scientists say, that practically every time they add potassium to someone’s diet, their blood pressure goes down. When they take the potassium out of someone’s diet, blood pressure goes up.

How many daily servings of potassium-rich foods does it take to lower blood pressure? Scientists aren’t sure. But a study at the University of Naples in Italy found that 81 percent of those with high blood pressure who ate three to six servings a day of potassium-rich foods such as bananas could cut their medication in half. Some could even eliminate it entirely.

The All-Natural Ulcer Remedy

Research into the effects of bananas on ulcers indicates that bananas-rather than an expensive drug-may one day be just what the doctor ordered.

Researchers concluded that a naturally occurring chemical found in bananas-protease inhibitor-actually may zap the bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers.

While researchers continue to look at ulcers, they are also checking out other therapeutic effects of bananas. They have found that unripe dried bananas may lower cholesterol-the “bad” kind of cholesterol that clogs your arteries-and prevent chemical changes within the heart that can cause cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, bananas are the overwhelming favorite fruit snack of Americans. We’ve increased our consumption of the fruit by about 30 percent over the past couple of decades.

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