It’s no surprise to long-time readers I like t write about science on occasion. Somehow I let it slip the last few months and the last one was March or April. Today is about food science, bananas specifically.
Let’s talk bananas. You know, Banane in German or platano in Spanish.
I think you have gone bananas! Remember that Woody Allen movie?
Yes, we never saw it, thank all the minor gods and their first and second cousins and their red-headed stepchildren, even.
Well, let me lay some banana lore on you.
First off, bananas have bunches of minerals and such stuff that is good for you, that’s common knowledge really and we won’t get in depth because what for, everyone already knows that.
(And we have studied bananas because they are a cheap and good source of vitamins and minerals, and we like them and also, because of our little, teeny blood sugar problem we’ve had since about age 10, actually.)
Right, when we use up our store of glucose (our bodies run on glucose, ya know!) our liver releases ketones because it is an alternative fuel.
Are you sayings it’s like gasahol made from corn?
Uh, yes, sort of like that, a secondary, not as mainstream source of fuel.
So, when we exercise we use up all our available glucose and every organ in our body will switch to using ketones except our liver which is where ketones come from to begin with.
So our liver doles them out but can’t use them. Got it!
Right, so unripe bananas are resistant starches which means the intestines have to break them down. That is known to promote colon health and bananas are chock full of antioxidants, btw. Also, 3 large or 4 medium bananas a day will give us about 1.3 or 1.4 grams of potassium which is known to lower the risk of heart disease by 25+%.
But, but! A fully ripe banana is 16% sugar and can spike sugar levels in our bodies, especially bad for diabetics and such ilk.
Yes, that’s true. Look, let me summarize this.
Bananas have essential fats; omega 3 and omega 6. However, they are low in protein which should be 2.5% of our diet minimum (WHO).
They contain vitamins and minerals, notably potassium for heart health and vitamin C.
Their glycemic index is low, 42-58 but diabetics have to pay attention.
Unripe bananas are mostly fiber so promote colon health as they are broken down in the intestines.
Bananas can be refrigerated. The skin will turn black but the banana is fine, ripens more slowly and can be kept longer.
They are picked at night, typically, as exposure to direct sunlight jump-starts the ripening process so they can’t be shipped to distant markets.
And on a different note.
The song Dayo by Harry Belafonte tells the story of a man working all night picking bananas.
A banana republic is characterized by a country that has a rich minority and poor majority, essentially no middle class. It is usually a politically unstable country dependent on tourism or exporting a product, often controlled by foreign investment.
Honduras was the first country to be called a banana republic because a forebear of Chiquita and United Fruit Company destabilized the government and propped up one that was favorable to their business of growing bananas and exporting them. Honduras has been a mess ever since.
We’re not even going to talk about Freelee the Banana Girl (YouTube) or the newest thing there, ASMR. Just know that Bob Ross was the master of ASMR and everyone else is second-rate and being kind of dumb on how they go about it (in my opinion).
I wrote about bananas before, here: