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Bananas - favorite uses besides keeping monkeys happy and shining shoes

I have a dear, dear ... dear ... friend ... who just doesn't get my repeated pleas to not foward those god-awful cute emails about interesting topics ... but the one on bananas was interesting and makes me think I should eat more bananas.

So what are some different ideas for using bananas besides the tried and true ... pie, bread, peanut butter & banana sandwiches, over oatmeal, au natural, smoothies ... daiquiris.

Do you have a different banana combo or even a unique spin on one of the above?

The email says to share this with everyone in the world so I'll put it in a separate post. If it is inappropriate or possibly violates copyright stuff, it can easily be deleted.

To sum up bananas are good for a pre-workout energy boost, depresion, pms, anemia, improved blood pressure, hangovers (going to have to test that out on the banana daiquiris), constipation, diarrea, heartburn, obesity, nervousness, ulcers, body temperature control, SAD, aiding smoking withdrawal and stress.

Put the skin on a wart to remove it or rub it on a mosquito bite to reduce itching and swelling. The peel supposedly does a great job cleaning shoes.

So what different uses do you have for this miracle fruit?

I like it sliced in the miracle elixer produced by Da Iry (California milk commercial).

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  1. Well, here's the detail from the email.

    Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

    Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

    But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

    Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

    PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

    Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

    Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

    Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

    Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

    Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

    Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

    Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

    Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

    Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

    Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at wor k leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

    Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

    Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

    Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

    Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

    Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

    Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

    So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

    PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit !

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Bananas have very little iron and zero B12 (unless they are hosting insects). B12 is only found in animal products and yeast. They are high in potassium, though, but so are oranges. Apparently, smoking the peels wont get you high, either:


      Freeze 'em, dip 'em in chocolate and roll 'em in chopped nuts. It's not original, but it's sooo good.

    2. A diet comprised mostly of the the three basic food groups -- grains (mostly in the form of bread and pasta), cheese and chocolate -- can work even greater miracles.

      1. its interesting that bananas can be helpful for both constipation and diarrhea. i was always under the assumption that bananas bind you, as in the 'brat' [bananas, rice, applesauce, toast] diet to deal with the runs.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ericalloyd

          Ok not so interested in the claims, but interesting uses for bananas.

          I get bored with them after a while. Anyone do something wild like in a green salad or baked with some meat or combined with an exotic spice? Baked chipotle bananas with pilocino? Mashed banana on cinnamon bread?

          The claims, true or not, are from a chain email ... one step lower in reliability than most web stuff.

          1. re: rworange

            Dunno if you've tried this, but I once had a banana pie.

            Not a banana-creme pie, but more akin to a sweet potato pie but made instead with mashed bananas.

            Quite good. Different, but good.

          2. re: ericalloyd

            I believe they are just easy to digest. Which is one reason why, for six months of my life, when I had a never-accurately-diagnosed lower GI problem, bananas were literally all I could eat. I was too young to have conscious memory of this, but still the experience was implanted on me, and now I won't eat them. So, to answer your original question: if it makes the monkeys happy they can have all of my share!

            1. re: susancinsf

              I had the same problem and ate the same bananas as Susan, and I share her opinion. I am more than willing to change my eating habits to promote health if it means eating something I like. Hence my recent post on keeping oxygen out of the wine, and after the nutrition lecture I attended recently I am religiously eating spinach and blueberries on an almost daily basis. Which is fine, because I like those foods, and they are not all I eat (plus they can be combined with other foods in delicious ways). But if a doctor told me I had to eat bananas every day to prolong my life, I would start making my peace with the world. Ain't gonna happen!

          3. Well... not everybody seems to be so happy re. bananas' health benefits:


            1 Reply
            1. re: RicRios

              Please note that the article states that it was the pesticides used on Nicaragua's banana plantations in the 1970s that caused health problems, not that the bananas were bad for them.

            2. Add bananas or planains to black beans, mash up, add some spices and use this to stuff empanadas.

              1. Okay, I'm sitting here with a piece of banana skin taped to my leg, having rest of the banana for lunch. Pretty soon I have to go out and I'm going to get funny looks. Plus, the only tape I have is orange.

                Seriously, though, I use bananas in salsa served on fish. Much better with a mango added, too. I'm not crazy about bananas but this is pretty good.

                1 Reply
                1. I've posted about this before but a girl scout camping treat is to open it, leaving it in the skin, split the top 1/3 of the banana lengthwise, fill w/ pb, marshmallows, caramel candy, chocolate chips, whatever, put the top 1/3 back on, close skin, wrap in foil, and pop on camp fire until mushy and melted. Nothing like that sugar high after s'mores.

                  1. Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate
                    Bananas foster, so good, so easy
                    Banana facial, yes you look goofy as all get out but great for dry skin...which leads to:

                    Story: I once went camping with friends for a month. Close to week four we ran out of everything we could possibly shave with...it was the trusty banana that saved the shave...crazy...the hairy monkey stories went on for years..but it worked!

                    Maybe I shouldn't include the story after all the edible examples but the OP set the tone :)

                    1. How about fried in butter until they caramelize and drizzled with more caramel.

                      I usually eat bananas for the potassium when I'm getting leg cramps. There's a reason Maria Sharapova's coach held one up at crucial points during the US Open.

                      A Miette banana tart (with a layer of ganache) does the trick too.

                      1. Feed the skin to your rabbit: he'll dance circles around your feet in gratitude!

                        I had a friend who ate bananas whole, skin and all. Sounded disgusting to me, but I guess my rabbit would beg to differ.

                        1. I used to cut up and freeze bananas and then put them in the blender. It was like soft ice cream. I wish I'd remembered that when it was summer instead of now when it's almost November.

                          1. Trader Vics used to make steak terriyaki w/ fried bananas which I adored when I was a kid. I still make it every now and then.

                            And then there was my parents banana, walnut and mayonaisse salad.... I think it was their way to get some fruit into us.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bryan

                              anything else in that salad...sounds weird but good

                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                Nope, that was it. But it wasn't mixed. Just slices of banana, a plop of mayo and sprinkled w/ chopped walnuts. It wasn't that bad if you like the salty-sweet combos.

                            2. I vote for just frying them like plantains, when a little green.

                              1. Sometimes I just slice and nuke, when I want something warm in the morning. Almost tastes like foster.

                                I also think they taste better cold from fridge(must be ripened+ before placement in fridge, otherwise you tweak the bannana somehow-- never ripens)

                                1. Bananas, toast with peanut butter. Honey on occasion.

                                  1. Oh, I had a friend from Puerto Rico who would mix white rice, ketchup and bananas. She said it was really common there.

                                    1. roast banana in oven cut down the middle leaving ends un cut with a little butter until skin turns dark brown. add scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with melted chocolate, it's beautiful and yummy

                                      1. I used to make a banana curry that was pretty good, can post on HC if anybody's interested.

                                        Savory banana raitas are good too; toasted cumin, garlic, green chili, cilantro, coconut are all possible additions.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Aromatherapy

                                          oooh, i'm definitely interested in the banana curry recipe. please post on HC! thanks!

                                        2. Chez Jay, a long-standing resto in Santa Monica CA makes mashed potatoes w/ ripe mashed bananas. Sounds odd but tastes good, soft and almost nutty simultaneously. At home, I tried to replicate this dish but only produced a gluey mess using mashed potatoes and ripe bananas. Bleeech. (I was unable to get their recipe despite repeated trys. Hope someone else is more successful.)