Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The Banana – Pre-Wrapped nutrient boost on the go


As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to  prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor.  If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

The banana is not only a superfood packed with nutrients but it is also a definite winner in the therapeutic arena. The fruit has been around for at least a couple of thousand years and many cultures have used the banana in their fight against illness.

I cannot tell you have many times as a therapist I have been told by a new client that they were told to give up bananas because they were fattening. On inspection of their food diaries however, it was amazing how many little bars of chocolate, low fat chocolate puddings and other treats had been allowed so that there was no sense of deprivation at the end of the day.

Stuff and nonsense. The banana is not only nutritionally packed it is also useful for minor ailments. It is beautifully packed and can travel anywhere with you including in a child’s lunchbox instead of little chocolate treats.

Health benefits.

The banana has many talents including keeping your bowels healthy, reducing your risk of heart disease and strokes, protecting you from ulcers, improving blood pressure, boosting your energy and your mood and help you reduce water retention.

More specifically the banana is a medicine cabinet in its own right. If we look at the diverse diseases and conditions that it is connected to you will realise how important it is in your diet.

Anaemia is the result of a lack of haemoglobin the oxygen-carrying agent in red blood cells. Iron is essential in the manufacture of this haemoglobin in the bone marrow and bananas are high in this mineral.

High blood pressure and stress related conditions effect many people and not just as they age. More and more children and young adults are showing signs of following a poor diet, high in junk food and low in natural fresh produce. Junk food is high in salt, which in the form of sodium and in excess causes elevated blood pressure.

The potassium in bananas helps lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, enhancing he excretion of water and sodium from the body and suppressing the hormones that cause elevations in blood pressure.

Potassium helps normalise the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates water balance. When we are stressed our metabolic rate increases, reducing our potassium levels and by eating a banana we can help re-balance all these symptoms in one snack.

Depression and nervous conditions can be helped by eating bananas as they contain tryptophan, a protein that converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that makes you relax and improves your mood. The B vitamins in the fruit are also essential for a healthy central nervous system.

Heartburn is eased by eating a banana due to its antacid effect, and it has the added benefit of not causing stomach problems when used long term.

Ulcers in the stomach are very delicate and the banana is one of the few foods that can be eaten raw without causing any further distress or inflammation to the ulcer site. It also reduces over acidity and the irritation this causes to the lining of the stomach.

PMS is dreadful, not just for the woman concerned, but usually for the family around her. Eating a banana with its B6 not only helps alleviate the stress symptoms but also works to regulate the hormones causing the problem.

Weight loss – Contrary to popular belief that the banana is fattening, it actually provides one of the most complete meals in history for only 120/150 calories for a large banana.. As weight can be related to stressful environments, a banana is also very good as a work place snack to help you get through the day; without resorting to more unhealthy comfort foods.

Morning sickness and hangovers whilst hopefully not connected, tend to afflict us in the morning when blood sugar levels are likely to be low. Eating a banana is said to help stabilise this, and if you blend your banana with some milk and honey, you will also soothe and hydrate your body whilst calming the stomach.

Smoking – Cigarettes are tough to give up. I know having gone through the withdrawal symptoms myself 25 years ago. If you can manage without a nicotine patch, you might think about including a banana in your diet every day or when you have a craving. Not only will all the nutrients give you an energy boost but also the potassium and magnesium in the banana will help with your withdrawal symptoms including stress.

Warts and mosquito bites can be unsightly and the bites very itchy and whilst there are some products available in the pharmacies there are some old fashioned remedies that are worth mentioning. It is said that if you wrap the inside of the banana skin around a wart that it will disappear and it is reported that rubbing the inside of the skin over mosquito bites will take down the swelling and irritation. I cannot personally attest to that one but it won’t hurt to try.

As you can see the banana is a very useful ally in efforts to prevent illness and to help our bodies fight conditions when they occur. It is not the complete answer, as it needs to be included in a diet that contains all the essential elements. It is also not intended to take the place of necessary medication for serious illnesses. It is part of the wonderful pharmacy that we have available at our fingertips and should be enjoyed in as many ways as possible.

And if you are stuck for ideas then you will find some amazing recipes for bananas in this post as part of the cook from scratch series with Carol Taylor: Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – The Banana

 ©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2020/

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Sunday #Recipes #Baking up Memories Banana Bread by Jacquie Biggar


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Time for the final post from the archives of USA Today bestselling author Jacquie Biggar and this week another recipe from Jacquie that brings back memories..also a link to a festive cookbook that looks great.

person flattening dough with rolling pin

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Are you a baker?

For me, baking is like pulling teeth, something to be avoided as long as possible. But I do like the heavenly scent of baking in the oven and my family appreciates when I take the time to try, so I’m going to start a Sunday post with #Family #recipes that are as close to fail-safe as possible!

Today’s recipe comes from my husband’s side of the family. My S-I-L makes the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted, moist, flavorful, and decadent!

two green and yellow bananas plastic figures

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

Here’s her recipe:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (3 med) very ripe, mushy bananas
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups choc chips

Method

  • Cream butter and sugar in medium sized bowl. Beat in 2 eggs until smooth. Add bananas and blend. (If doing by hand, I recommend a potato masher. It dissolves the banana lumps like magic!)
  • In a second bowl (I don’t like dishes so I add to my first bowl. Just don’t stir yet :)) stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Add to banana mixture and stir just to moisten (Now you can mix the ingredients!)
  • Grease a loaf pan approx: 9x5x3 size. (I recommend the dark pans. I have an old, beaten up one that came from my grandma. It works like a charm)
  • Add the mixture to the pan and bake for about one hour. You can use a toothpick to test for doneness. Stick it in the top of the loaf, if it comes out clean you’re set.
  • Let the pan sit on a rack for ten minutes before removing. Use a table knife to score the edge away from the pan, turn it over on a plate, tap the bottom and it should (fingers crossed) release cleanly from the cookware.
  • Let cool completely before wrapping.

Here’s a picture of the recipe I’ve been using. You can see why I needed to set up these posts. I can barely read it anymore! lol

UVUURlYpRra9Mc1Qp+D3vQ

Yay, the timer went off just as I was finishing this post, so I can show you the finished product.

uw4qrkc5riokbnqmeyhpw.jpg

Do you know what I see when I look at this beaten up old pan filled with homemade deliciousness?

I see my grandma baking bread and using this very pan to cook it with. I see my mom using this pan to make lemon poppyseed loaves (future recipe to share!) for Farmer’s Market. I see my S-I-L joking about my lack of baking skills and writing out this recipe from her grandmother so I could have that feeling of accomplishment.

I see… Love

The Authors of Love, Christmas 2 put together a holiday recipe cookbook, and the best part- it’s only 99c..

Favorite Holiday Recipes: From the Authors of Love, Christmas 2

favorite-christmas-recipes_m

Favorite Holiday Recipes is a collection of recipes from the New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning, International, Bestselling authors of LOVE, CHRISTMAS – MOVIES YOU LOVE (THE HOLIDAY SERIES BOOK 2)

Read the small excerpts that preface each recipe as each author tells you why her recipe is important to her story.

Full of pictures, these mouth-watering recipes are sure to inspire your culinary (or eating) desires. Included are appetizers (mulled wine, pineapple punch, millionaire’s bacon), main dishes (lasagne, lobster mac and cheese, crock pot venison stew, traditional smoked salmon) and baked goods and desserts (fry bread, almond apricot coffee cake, double chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, cinnamon rolls) – in all, twenty-six recipes by the authors from all around the world.

These yummies are some of the authors’ favorites and a gift to our readers from us. We hope you enjoy these treats as much as we do.

Read the reviews and buy the book for 99c :https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HNQ3KY4

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Favorite-Holiday-Recipes-Authors-Christmas-ebook/dp/B07HNQ3KY4

©Jacquie Biggar 2018

That Banana

A selection of  books by Jacquie Biggar

One of the recent reviews for Skating on Thin Ice

This book is the perfect mixture of romance with an action packed story line to keep you turning the pages. The author does a great job of drawing the reader into the world of ice hockey and the murky world of match fixing and deals with the mob. Mac Wanowski is a champion ice hockey player and, with him on board, his team looks set to win the season. This does not suit everyone and Mac is seriously injured while playing in a match two weeks before the final. He is sent away to a remote cabin in the mountains to heal. The team’s doctor delivers his niece, Sam, a physical therapist who desperately needs a break, to assist Mac with a speedy recovery. Little does he know that she has been offered the opportunity to obtain a contract as the physical therapist to Mac’s team but, in return, she must slow down his recovery.

When Sam meets Mac her soft heart quickly goes out to him, especially when she learns of the loss of his wife and unborn baby in a terrible accident a few years previously. Sam is also attracted to the taciturn hockey star and she can sense it is reciprocated. Sam makes a decision to try to help Mac and ensure that he is able to play in the final match of the season but she is unaware that there are other, much more dangerous people lurking, who are determined to keep Mac off the ice.

I enjoyed the character of smolderingly sexy Mac, with his heartbreaking past, and the sweet and big hearted, Sam, with her history of financial anxiety and determination to succeed in a male dominated profession.

An entertaining and easy read with a great twist at the end and lots of romantic ups and downs to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA TODAY bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has also contributed to several successful anthologies.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site: http://jacqbiggar.com

Connect to Jacquie Biggar

http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar
http://Facebook.com/jacquiebiggar
Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1051448161572521/
http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar
http://Pinterest.com/jacqbiggar
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jacquie-biggar
Newsletter- https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h6c2n8

My thanks to Jacquie for granting me access to her archives… I hope you will head over to her blog and have a browse yourselves..