- Bananas are funny, but here’s why you should have one today
- Better protection against heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke
- The importance of ‘the good salt’
New York City, 1922.
A song writing team named Frank Silver and Irving Cohn are walking to a rehearsal when they fancy a snack.
They go into a greengrocer owned by a Greek immigrant.
“Can we have a banana?” they ask.
“Yes!” cries the owner, “We have no bananas today”.
So… did he have bananas or not?
Well no, as it turned out, as there was a USA-wide shortage thanks to a blight that had ruined crops.
But the songwriters took the greengrocer’ phrase as a title for a song, which then became a massive number on the US hit parade and endured for decades.
It was later covered by artists from Louis Prima to the Muppets.
What is it about bananas?
In the UK, we had the famous old music hall song “Let’s All Go Down The Strand And Have A Banana.”
“Let’s all go down the Strand — Have a banana!
Let’s all go down the Strand!
I’ll be the leader, you can march behind.
Come with me and see what we can find!
Let’s all go down the Strand — Have a banana!”
That song was even covered by Britpop band Blur!
And I can see the point of shouting “have a banana” in a song.
Bananas are funny.
Bananas are often used as a synonym for crazy or silly. Clowns slip on them.
Bananas are even – heaven forbid – portrayed as rude objects.
But you really SHOULD ‘ave a banana.
And here’s why…
Better protection against heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke
Bananas are so wonderfully rich in potassium they protect against ‘pathogenic vascular calcification’ – which you’d know better as ‘hardening of the arteries’.
This is according to recent research (2017) at the University of Alabama.
Paul Sanders, M.D., professor of nephrology, who co-authored the study, said that it demonstrated “the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation” as well as the “adverse effect of low potassium intake.”
In other words, it’s not just that you should get some more potassium in your system to help protect against stiffening arteries… it’s that you should be aware of the dangers of a potassium deficiency.
Signs of a deficiency include fatigue, weak muscles, abdominal pain and cramps.
And even before this new research, more than 25 other studies have shown that increasing your potassium intake is an effective way to lower blood pressure.
Health writer Dr Mercola has said: “There is so much research showing a link between low levels of potassium and high blood pressure that researchers now believe increasing your levels should receive just as much attention as a low-salt diet in blood pressure management.”
One study has even showed that with a daily service of a potassium rich rood, such as a banana, can cut your stroke risk by as much as half.
This is why potassium, a natural mineral salt, is often called referred to as ‘the good salt’.
Your good health depends on having the right balance of sodium and potassium levels in your body, but many of us have the balance wrong – too much sodium and not enough potassium.
This is why, in 2013, the British Medical Journal collected a whole bunch of studies together to show that decreasing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake could save millions of lives every year from heart disease and stroke across the globe.
Partly the problem is dietary. Too much processed food and not enough whole fruit and vegetables.
But you can also lose a lot of potassium when you have other health problems. For instance, excessive vomiting, diarrhoea or sweating.
Also certain medications like laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, and anti-inflammatories can have a negative impact on your levels.
So this could be worth looking into…
But what if you hate bananas?
Well, bananas are not the only food packed with potassium.
You could try apricots, cantaloupe melon and citrus fruits. Vegetables with good amounts of potassium include spinach, asparagus, green beans, avocados, peas, lentils, broccoli, celery and romaine lettuce.
Other options include grains, red meat, poultry, and seafood.
Though for an intense, self-wrapped, tasty burst of powerful potassium salt you cannot go wrong with a banana, in this author’s opinion. You can keep one in your draw so there’s no need to cook or prepare food.
Think of it like a big, bendy tablet!
There’s an added benefit too…
Bananas for better bone health
Foods rich in potassium salts are helpful if you are worried about osteoporosis.
In 2015, research published in the journal Osteoporosis International showed that these salts are responsible for better bone health.
This is because they reduce something known as ‘bone resorption’, the process by which bone mass gets broken down over time.
The study also showed that they significantly reduce the excretion of calcium through your urine.
“Our study shows that these salts could prevent osteoporosis,” said Dr Helen Lambert from the University of Surrey.
So there you have it – plenty of reasons to boost your potassium levels.
If you have fatigue, weak muscles, abdominal pain and cramps, a potassium deficiency could be a factor.
While on this topic. you should also check out your magnesium levels too, as low levels can also cause muscle cramps, joint pain and stiffness and high blood pressure among many other symptoms.
For more details on the impact of a magnesium deficiency, check out this website: Benefits of a Magnesium Boost
Until next time, stay healthy,