Do not toss: Overripe bananas may be effective against cancer cells, finds scientific study
While yellow bananas may be tastier, the darker brown ones may be better for you. According to TheHeartySoul.com, a 2009 article in the journal Food Science and Technology Research claimed that overripe bananas contained more Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), a cancer-fighting cytokine or small protein.
The TNF in Bananas
The study was conducted by Masatoshi Yamazaki and Haruyo Iwasawa. They made this discovery via in vitro tests on mice cells. Results showed that older bananas with brown spots were 25 percent more effective at producing TNF than the yellow variety. The TNF found in overripe bananas was said to prevent the growth and spread of tumor cells that would cause the death of cells in the body, reports TheSun.co.uk. Known as apoptosis, this a naturally occurring cellular process that is negatively affected by tumor cells.
Bananas are a fruit known to contain a wide variety of health benefits. They contain high levels of antioxidants that not only boost the immune system and increase the production of white blood cells, but can also reduce blood sugar spikes. Bananas have even been said to help against depression and improve mood. This is in addition to their cancer cell-inhibiting properties.
Unlike other substances that prevent cancer, TNF was shown targeting it, meaning you could be getting more cancer-fighting benefits from the TNF in bananas than the substances in other antioxidant-high foods.
If the soft texture of overripe bananas still make them unappetizing for you, then you can enjoy them in a variety of other ways.
- Banana bread and muffins: Perhaps the best way to make the most of your overripe bananas. The darker the bananas, the better and more flavorful your banana bread and muffins will come out. You can even toss in macadamia nuts or shredded coconut for added taste. For extra punch, you can throw in some sweet potatoes to make sweet potato banana bites.
- Banana pancakes: A great way to start your day. You can either mash up the bananas and stir them into the batter or directly add banana slices into the pancakes as they cook. Bananas add a touch of sweetness into the pancakes and keep them moist. If you’re in a rush or too lazy to prepare the batter then you can just combined mashed bananas with eggs to make 2-ingredient banana pancakes. If you want to make them even healthier, you can add ground flax seed.
- Banana smoothies and milkshakes: If your bananas are still too mushy and ripe for your liking, then you can simply turn them into smoothies or milkshakes. You can enjoy these as a morning pick-me-up or as an addition to an already delicious meal. The best part is that you can customize banana smoothies and milkshakes to fit your personal preferences, so you can make these as sweet or as thick as you like.
- Banana oatmeal: Mixing in some mashed bananas with your oats is a great way to enjoy both. To make this breakfast staple even tastier, you can toss in some chopped walnuts, a dash cinnamon or a splash of vanilla extract.
- Banana ice cream: Though this may sound unhealthy, you can actually make banana ice cream with just the banana. This single-ingredient ice cream just requires you to freeze banana pieces for at least 2 hours and then blend them in a food processor or blender.
Let your bananas ripen in your fruit bowl but don’t just leave them there. Make these cancer-fighting wonder fruits a part of your daily diet for your own benefit.