At just 110 calories each, bananas provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese and, of course, potassium. Those who consume diets rich in potassium are 50% less likely to have a stroke compared to their non-potassium consuming peers, according to a study recently published in Neurology. This mineral also fights high blood pressure and UCSF researchers found it may prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
The “b” in bananas reminds us they are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which according to Dr. Terry Shultz, a professor at Washington State University, has been shown to lower the risk of colon, prostate, lung, gastric and pancreatic cancers. These researchers speculate that the B6 may be b-hind banana’s anti-cancer benefits, by helping to inhibit DNA strand breaks.
Banana consumption has been linked to lower risk of leukemia, colorectal and kidney cancers. In fact, a study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that those who consumed bananas three or more times per week had a lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to those who consumed them less than one time per week.
Bananas are also bursting with phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol (lowers cholesterol) and dopamine.
No wonder bananas are the leading fresh fruit sold in the United States and the second leading fruit crop in the world. So yes, put a banana in your pocket — in your smoothie, on your cereal, in your lunchbox, even on your face (see this issue’s Dole Spa Recipe).
Published March 21, 2005