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NUTRITION CORNER: Eating a banana a day is a healthy choice

According to the American Heart Association, bananas  are rich in potassium which is an essential ingredient for a healthy heart and good nerves.  However, many Filipinos are lacking in potassium intake because they prefer to eat in fast food establishments and eateries that offer salty, spicy and fatty foods. Little do they know that high amounts of potassium in bananas lowers blood pressure which lessens the possibility of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

Due to its high potassium content, bananas are good for the kidneys and bones, the University of Kansas Medical Center said. Even a normal intake of potassium neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one’s diet and suppresses the loss of excessive amount of calcium in the urine which minimizes the risk of kidney stones and positively affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function.

A study by the Internal Journal of Cancer illustrated that the probability of developing kidney cancer is greatly lessened by frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas. For instance, the probability of developing kidney cancer in female subjects decreased by 50% when eating bananas four to six times a week.

A new research reported that bananas can help in ulcer treatment as they act as a natural antacid. It was found out that bananas stimulate the stomach’s production of protective mucus which greatly help in preventing harsh acids from touching the tender stomach lining, thereby preventing ulcer. On the other hand, the protease inhibitor found in bananas appears to kill the harmful bacteria that help to cause ulcers.

Bananas are also good for the blood as they are rich sources of Vitamin B6 which is essential in the making of hemoglobin, an important ingredient of the blood. One banana can provide  30% of the DV of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6 is not only vital for antibody production but also helps convert carbs to glucose, thereby maintaining blood sugar levels. Vitamin B6 also helps in the maintenance of the lymphoid glands that ensure the production of healthy white blood cells that protect the body from infection and in cell formation and keeps the nervous system in top working condition and boosting immunity.

Bananas also contain electrolytes, which control the fluid balance of the body and preventing dehydration. Electrolytes are important in muscle contraction, energy generation, and almost every major biochemical reaction in the body. Bananas also contain folate which is needed for proper tissue growth, and can protect against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer.

Bananas are the easiest ways to get our dietary fiber requirement.  Fiber improves bowel movements. Not only that, it is found to lower the risk of coronary heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Indeed, health authorities are right when they said that banana is a healthy choice for a healthy heart and good nerves.#

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