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13523.  Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:37 pm Reply with quote

But banana medicine is disgusting. YUK!! Even thinking about it makes me wanna...

15488.  Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:57 am Reply with quote

And they do have too much potassium, according to my RS teacher.

15499.  Sat Feb 19, 2005 10:44 am Reply with quote

Which begs the interesting question - how much is too much? I don't think your RS teacher has necessarily given you the best advice!

Full details here:

No Bananas: Potassium Is Important

By Pat Kendall, Ph.D., R.D.
Food Science and Human Nutrition Specialist
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
November 4, 1998

Potassium. You know that's one good reason to eat bananas. But why? Just what does potassium do for us?

Well for starters, we wouldn't get much done without potassium. Nerves need it to tell muscles what to do, and muscles need it to do what they're told. It helps keep our body's fluids in balance and regulate our blood pressure.

High levels of potassium may reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. Many people at risk of high blood pressure keep a keen eye on their sodium intake, but few think about increasing their potassium. Not only can potassium help lower blood pressure, some experts feel it may offer additional stroke-protection benefits. One study examined 859 men and women over age 50. Results revealed that those who took in more than 3,500 milligrams (mg) a day had a much lower incidence of fatal stroke than those who consumed less than 1,950 mg daily. The recommended intake for potassium is 2,000 to 3,500 mg a day.

Many foods contain potassium, but it is found in greatest quantity in unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fresh meats and dairy products. These same foods have the added benefit of being low in sodium.

It's easy to get all the potassium you need if you eat "five-a-day" -- that's five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Many people think of bananas when they think of potassium, and for good reason. One medium banana packs 450 mg. But potatoes actually top bananas in potassium content: a medium baked potato or 20 French fries have 750 mg. Other good

sources include cantaloupe (500 mg per cup), beet greens (650 mg per one-half cup cooked), spinach, winter squash and Swiss chard (all around 450 mg per one-half cup cooked). And don't overlook the common bean. One-half cup of cooked lima beans tips the potassium scale at 475 mg; pinto and black beans dish out 400 mg potassium per half-cup serving.

Potassium is water soluble, so leaches into water during cooking. A boiled potato, for example, loses at least half its potassium to the water it's boiled in. To reduce this loss, try steaming, microwaving, sauteing or even frying vegetables instead of boiling them. Keep the cooking water and add it to soups, stews and casseroles to increase their potassium content.

Deficiencies of potassium are not common, but can result from excessive losses through prolonged vomiting, chronic diarrhea and laxative abuse. In extreme cases, potassium loss can cause heart failure and death.

15502.  Sat Feb 19, 2005 2:45 pm Reply with quote

Results revealed that those who took in more than 3,500 milligrams (mg) a day had a much lower incidence of fatal stroke than those who consumed less than 1,950 mg daily.

This seems to me to be a frustrating statistic in that it says nothing about how likely you are to have a fatal stroke in the first place. EG, if the relevant improvement in your prospects is in the order of 25%, is that banana milkshake with whipped cream and hundreds'n'thousands reducing your liability to a fatal stroke from one-in-a-million to one-in-a-million-two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand (which I wouldn't take seriously), or from one-in-four to one-in-five (which I might, if you added a scoop of rum'n'raisin ice cream)?

Every bit of dietary advice you ever see seems to have the same flaw.

15525.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:45 am Reply with quote

Interesting that it doesn't mention the adverse health effects of excess potassium. Namely radiation poisoning.

Approximately 0.1% of all potassium atoms are the radioactive K-40 isotope, which makes potassium one of the more radioactive elements in our diet.
According to this website (the second comment from Walter Dalitsch) K-40 is, pound for pound, more radioactive than U-238 (I think mostly based on the fact it has a very long half-life). U-238 is mentioned as the main component of Depleted Uranium (DU).

However, because there are only 4g of K-40 per kilogram of banana, the banana itself is less radioactive than the DU. Compressing a
banana (density of 1.14 g/cm3) to the same density as DU (density of 19 g/cm3) brings the radioactivity difference to a factor of less than ten.

This would also question the wisdom of using KCl in the various "Lo-Sodium Salt" alternatives that are available today :)

Although I think the chances of getting radiation poisoning from excess Potassium are pretty small (your body would probably just excrete any excess potassium not needed by the body), it's a Quite Interesting fact not often mentioned by people pointing out how healthy bananas are for you.

15539.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:58 am Reply with quote

Speaking of radiation risks, are we all completely comfortable with our luminous watches?

15544.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:25 am Reply with quote

God no!

When I was studying radiation biology, one of the lecturers always used to carry a luminous watch around with him so he could whip it out of his pocket and hold it up to a geiger counter to demonstrate the radioactivity contained therein.

Needless to say, all the other lecturers thought he was completely barking!

Apparently such watches used to have the luminous stuff painted on by real human beings (before modern production methods, obviously). These watch dial painters used to form the end of their brushes into a nice neat point by licking them. Needless to say, dozens of them died of horrible radiation-related diseases :(

15546.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:45 am Reply with quote

Yes, I'd heard about that. I was sort of hoping that we were using some other kind of paint nowadays.

15547.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:53 am Reply with quote

And so we are, apparently:
Besides radium, there are several other methods of making "glow in the dark" watch dials. There are various non-radioactive phosphor compounds that will glow in the dark after being exposed to light. Some modern compounds can glow for 10 to 15 hours after a relatively short exposures to bright light. Tritium, like radium, is radioactive, but it is much safer. Tritium, a form of hydrogen, has a reasonably short 12 year half life so it doesn't have the long term dangers that radium has, and it decays into harmless helium. The beta particles that tritium gives off can not even penetrate the outer layer of dead skin on your body, let alone the watch crystal and watch case.

And. on the Radium Girls:
Grace Fryer and the other women at the radium factory in Orange, New Jersey, naturally supposed that they were not being poisoned. It was a little strange, Fryer said, that when she blew her nose, her handkerchief glowed in the dark. But everyone knew the stuff was harmless. The women even painted their nails and their teeth to surprise their boyfriends when the lights went out. They all had a good laugh, then got back to work, painting a glow-in-the-dark radium compound on the dials of watches, clocks, altimeters and other instruments.

There weren't dozens of them who died, though - just five.

15558.  Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:52 am Reply with quote

On the subject of turning a different cololur (sort of), there were "Canaries" during the 1st world war. These were women who worked in the munitions factories. The explosives turned their skin yellow.

Something to do with sulphur was it?

15572.  Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:16 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
And. on the Radium Girls:

There weren't dozens of them who died, though - just five.

Clearly not, since in the article you quoted it says that the court case was brought by 5 women after
an investigation of the suspicious deaths of four radium factory workers between 1922 and 1924.

Then the 5 women bringing the case also died, so there's 9 already. And that was all just in Orange, New Jersey.

According to another 15 died who worked at the Waterbury Clock Co. in Conneticut. Now, scale that up to the thousands of people employed in the radium dial industry across the world (there were plenty here in the UK too).

Now scale that up to much higher rates of cancer in later years (according to
"An increased incidence of breast cancer has already been reported in female dial workers" although I found it hard to find any figures)

Perhaps "dozens" was a gross understatement :)

15573.  Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:53 am Reply with quote

Well spotted. That's what you get for only skim-reading the executive summary.

15579.  Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:58 am Reply with quote

Tee hee.

Still, on the plus side, you're now well trained for a career in senior management and/or politics :)

artificial intelligence
16633.  Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:25 am Reply with quote

Liebig wrote:
Bananas are the staple food. of the Chagga of Tanzania. They are also made into their beer, are considered male and not to be eaten by pregnant women.
s: ECD

I think you will find that they are actually plantains (see, which are in the banana family.
A little off topic but I'm going to Tanzania tomorrow.

16730.  Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:18 am Reply with quote

If you're scared of radiation don't go to live in Aberdeen. The granite of the Granite City has a higher rate of radiation than a dozen luminous watches.


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