Stop throwing away bananas with brown spots – they are potent cancer fighters!

Many of us insist on throwing things out when they reach their “best before dates”. It’s easy to let food be left out a little too long and become overly ripe. Bananas are a big casualty of this habitual disposal of good food.   However, they might have even more benefits when they become unappetizingly soft. To some of us, they are relatively cheap and not worth the hassle, but what if this frequent member of your compost wasn’t garbage at all and could fight cancer? Now that would be kind of cool, and bananas might be effective at doing just that.

Bananas and TNF

Over-ripe Banana Recipes to get TNF

TNF is a protein known for the disintegration of cells, like tumor cells. These proteins can identify foreign or harmful cells to destroy them[iii]. Having more of these in the body is beneficial when trying to remove cancer from your body.

An article in the journal Food Science and Technology Research found that when bananas are over-ripe (where they have brown spots like a banana-cow hybrid), they are at their strongest by producing tumor necrosis factor (TNF) a cytokine which fights cancer. [i]

This study done by Haruyo Iwasawa and Masatoshi Yamazaki discovered through in vitro tests on mice cells that extract from older bananas stimulated more production of  TNF. Bananas do this by stimulating the production of cytokines. Older bananas with brown spots were about 25% more efficient at producing TNF. [ii]

However, the study has only been done in vitro on mice cells so a lot more work needs to be done before we can definitively say that bananas enhance our ability to produce TNF.

Antioxidants and Cancer

You might have heard a lot about antioxidants‘ ability to prevent cancer rather than targeting it like TNF does. Eating foods high in antioxidants means eating food high in Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Selenium.[iv]

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which damage your cells by taking electrons from atoms and molecules. Altering atoms and molecules in this way can damage the cells and its chromosomes, creating cancer. Therefore, antioxidants help us by giving free radicals an electron, so they don’t bother your cells for one.

However, the effectiveness of antioxidants is still up in the air as animal trials show that antioxidants can help, but controlled clinical trials on humans are still indecisive [v]. So when you eat a banana, you could be getting more benefits from TNF than antioxidants.

Get TNF from over-ripe Banana Recipes

Banana Recipes Good For Mushy Bananas

As it happens, over-ripe bananas are the best for you, and wasting food is just bad policy. That’s why you need these three delicious recipes to make you forget about the texture while getting all the benefits.

Flourless Bananacakes (That’s banana and pancakes combined.)

Ingredients:

  • One very ripe banana, mashed

  • Two eggs, beaten

  • Two tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

  • Two tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Mix banana and eggs together

  2. Add flax seed and Vanilla extract

  3. Line skillet with coconut oil on low-medium heat

  4. ¼ cup of pancake mix into the skillet

  5. Cook until the center bubbles

  6. Flip and cook for 1-2 minute

Sweet Potato Banana Bites

A superfood combination.

Ingredients:

  • One very ripe banana mashed

  • Medium sweet potato

  • ¼ nut butter

  • Two eggs,

  • Cinnamon

  • Coconut Oil

  • Fruit Mix-ins

Directions:

  1. Pierce the sweet potato skin 5-6 times and cook the medium sweet potato in the microwave for 5-8 minutes

  2. Mash the cooked sweet potato and banana

  3. Stir in ¼ nut butter, eggs, cinnamon and the fruit mix-ins

  4. Grease muffin tin with coconut oil

  5. Spoon batter into the muffin tin

  6. Bake at 375°F for 18 minutes

Banana Ginger Smoothie

This smoothie is perfect for burning stomach fat and fighting cancer.

Ingredients:

  • One overripe banana

  • Two tablespoons ground flaxseed

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

  • One tablespoon grated ginger

  • ½ cup of baby spinach

  • Ice

ADDITIONAL: for a hit of protein add a serving of your favorite protein powder

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender

  2. Blend until it’s at your preferred consistency.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t be throwing out food, to begin with. But now that you know the cancer-fighting benefits of over-ripe bananas and some delicious ways to use them, there’s no reason to throw them out. Instead, get your TNF every day with over-ripe bananas.

As mentioned earlier, some of these remedies are only supported so far by preliminary studies with either a non-human subject like rats or mice or only a small group of human subjects. While scientists continue to work to gather more data to support these remedies, you can talk with your health practitioner about using one or even several of these natural options as an alternative to riskier drug-based methods. Many of these tricks have been passed down from generation to generation, and continue to be based on people’s success with them.

[i] IWASAWA H, YAMAZAKI M. Differences in Biological Response Modifier-like Activities According to the Strain and Maturity of Bananas. Food Science and Technology Research. 2009;15(3):275-282. doi:10.3136/fstr.15.275.

[ii] IWASAWA H, YAMAZAKI M. Differences in Biological Response Modifier-like Activities According to the Strain and Maturity of Bananas. Food Science and Technology Research. 2009;15(3):275-282. doi:10.3136/fstr.15.275.

[iii] Locksley R, Killeen N, Lenardo M. The TNF and TNF Receptor Superfamilies. Cell. 2001;104(4):487-501. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00237-9.

[iv] Super Foods for Optimal Health. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health. Accessed March 28, 2017.

[v] Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet. Accessed March 28, 2017.

Image Source:

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