Bananas are thought to have originated in Malaysia 4 000 years ago and from there spread throughout the Philippines and India. They were first recored as being grown by Alexander the Great in 327 B.C.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits available on the market and are enjoy by all. They offer an extensive amount of health benefits some you may not even know about -

  • Bananas contain no fat, or cholesterol and are easy to digest.
  • They are a great source of instant energy, as they contain plenty of carbohydrates and contain natural sugars (sucrose, fructose and glucose) which are released quickly into the bloodstream.
  • Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Vitamin B6 helps prevent irritability and insomnia. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Potassium also prevents the bloods pH from becoming too acidic.
  • Bananas are believed to prevent low density lipoprotein from oxidizing, which causes it to stick to the walls of the arteries. This accumulation can contribute to atherosclerosis, or harding of the arteries, a major contributor to heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Eating bananas as a part of your diet can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 40%.
  • Eating one medium banana provides you with 11% of your daily potassium requirement and 17% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
  • Research has shown that bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin which is known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel better and may help sufferers of depression naturally.
  • Contains fibre. Fibre is important for good health and helps reduce cholesterol, improving blood sugar control, lowering the risk of heart disease and aiding both constipation and diarrhea.
  • Bananas have a positive effect on the digestive system by helping to maintain regularity and reduce the risk of diverticulitises and hernias.
  • Bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood as they are high in iron and are therefore beneficial for people with anemia.
  • Bananas are high in vitamin B which may help calm your nervous system.
  • Bananas can be used in the treatment of burns and wounds. You can get immediate relief by crushing a ripe banana into a paste and spreading it over a wound or burn.
  • Because of their soft texture and blandness, bananas can be used in the fight against intestinal disorders such as ulcers. Bananas neutralize the acidity of gastric juices, thus reducing ulcer irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. It is only the raw fruit that can be eaten without distress by chronic ulcer cases. Bananas can also help to kill the harmful bacteria that causes ulcers
  • Women who eat 2.5 bananas daily can lower the risk of kidney cancer.
  • Mashing a banana with a little salt is suggested as a valuable remedy for dysentery.
  • Bananas are useful in the treatment of arthritis and gout
  • Bananas are useful for people who have allergic reactions to certain foods and who suffer from skin rashes or digestive disorders or asthma. Most protein foods contain amino acids which are generally not tolerated by people who suffer from these disorders. Bananas contain benign amino acids which rarely cause allergic reactions (of course, it is always recommended that people with any sensitivities check first before proceeding).
  • Bananas can improve your bodies ability to absorb calcium

There are many health benefits associated with eating bananas - nourish the brain; assist with hangovers, heartburn, morning sickness, mosquito bites, PMS, stress and temperature control; protects your eyesight; and warts - the list goes on and on ..... .

Non organic bananas are treated with chemicals when they're growing, harvested and shipped, which include a toxic soup of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. To control worms and prevent uprooting losses, farmers apply nematocides. One of the most common type of nematocide is Aldicarb, which can be lethal. Workers on banana plantations ofter complain of a terrible smell that causes dizziness and vomiting on hot days. Other chemicals used include benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chloropyrifos (neurotoxin).

How to select and store bananas

  • Select bananas that are slightly green, firm, and without bruises. The stems and tips should be intact.
  • The size of the banana can vary from each tree, so choose the size that best meets your needs.
  • Usually partially green bananas will take 1-3 days to turn sunny yellow in colour.
  • Store bananas at room temperature until they reach the ripeness you want, then they can be stored in the refrigerator. The peel of the banana will darken in the refrigerator but the banana will remain firm inside. They can be stored for up to two weeks.
  • For maximum flavor, allow refrigerated bananas to come back to room temperature before eating them.
  • Never store unripe bananas in the refrigerator as they will not ripen properly because the cold interferes with the ripening process. If unripe bananas are stored in the fridge and later returned to room temperature, the banana will not resume the ripening process.
  • To ripen a banana faster, place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight.

Remember green bananas should be selected cooking, yellow ones should be selected for eating and brown speckeled ones should be selected for baking or making smoothies or shakes. Bananas are one of nature's wonderful gifts, full of health benefits and an important part of everyone's balanced diet. Enjoy an organic banana today!  

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Cabbages are one of the oldest vegetables around. It is a strong, sturdy and abundant vegetable which continues to be a dietary staple available in all countries and cultures. It is easy to grow, tolerates the cold and keeps well. The word cabbage derives from the Latin word caput, meaning "head" and is related to brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens.

There are many variety of cabbage, each provides unique and strong health benefits. The three most common types are green, red and savoy. Green is the most popular and commonly used where as red cabbage contains the highest level of antioxidant level.

Cabbage is also one of the healthiest vegetables, containing high levels of vitamins and chemicals that inhibit tumor growth and protect cells against free radicals. Nutritional benefits of cabbage include:

  • Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. Cabbage contains a high content of fibre and fibre helps our intestines to stay healthy by increasing our transit movements.
  • Men who eat cabbage more than once a week, cut their odds of getting colon cancer by 66%.
  • Cabbage contains chemicals that speeds up estrogen metabolism, this is suggested to help reduce the incidence of breast, uterus and ovaries cancer and suppress growth of polys, a prelude to colon cancer.
  • Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C (more than oranges) and beta carotene. These antioxidants help to fight free radicals in our body which increases the aging process. Also the high amount of beta carotene also may cut the risk of cataracts.
  • Eating raw cabbage is a good source of folic acid, which lowers the risk of having babies with spina bifida.
  • Cabbage also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, alleviate rheumatisms and skin problems.
  • Cabbage contains the fewest calories and least fat of any vegetable.
  • Drinking fresh raw cabbage juice can alleviate stomach ulcers. Also fresh raw cabbage juice is effective against fungus infections of the feet and skin because of its sulphur content.
  • Contains chlorine and sulphur, which help to cleanse mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines.
  • Cabbage nourishes the spleen-pancreas, regulates the stomach, and relieves abdominal spasms and pain. It treats constipation, the common cold, mental depression, and irritability.
  • Cabbage lowers serum cholesterol (lowers low density lipoprotein which causes hardening and narrowing of arteries).
  • Cabbage boosts the immune system ability to produce more antibodies.
  • The outer, greener cabbage leaves contain more chlorophyll, vitamin E & A, iron and calcium than the inner, pale leaves.

Beware that cabbage reduces absorption of iodine. If you do eat more than 2 to 3 times a week of cabbage, be sure you do not suffer from thyroid disorders and ensure your intake of iodine. Consult your doctor before eating cabbage.  

How to select and store cabbage

  • Keep the cabbage cold, this helps retain the vitamin C content
  • Fresh cabbage will have a generous amount of outer leaves.
  • Check the bottom of the cabbage to be sure the leaves are not beginning to separate from the stem (an indicator of age).
  • Look for stems that are healthy looking, closely trimmed, and are not dry or split.
  • Choose a firm, compact, heavy, large head.
  • Leaves should look fresh and unblemished, showing no evidence of damage or insect bites/ worm damage.
  • Avoid cabbages that have discolored veins
  • Store the whole cabbages in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. (remember the older the cabbage gets, the stronger the flavour and odor will be)
  • Cabbage will loose freshness fast once cut, so use within a few days.
  • Cooked cabbage may be refrigerated in a covered container for up to four days.

Cooking/ preparation advice

  • When cooking cabbage, keep it to a minimum. Excess heat treatment of cabbage is destructive to its vitamins B and C content. Under no circumstances should the water, in which the cabbage is boiled, be thrown away. It contains many nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosohate and magnesium.
  • Do not wash the cabbage until ready to eat. Avoid slicing or shredding cabbage in advanced. This will cause vitamin C to be lost.
  • Do not cook cabbage in an aluminum pot as it causes chemical reaction that discolour the vegetable and alter its flavour. As cabbage contains mustard oils that break down into a variety of smelly sulfur compounds, when the cabbage is heated.

Cabbage can be eaten raw, shredded, boiled, steamed or even fried. It is a delicious, vitalizing, light, good for your heart and an excellent source of anticarcinogenic phytonutrients. So cabbage isn’t as plain and boring as you think, it is in a world of its self with nutrition value.

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