Do bananas really help in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
The demand for bananas has increased over the last few days after a video linked the said fruit to fighting the SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo believes what he "read on the Internet," and says during the press briefing on March 16, "Marami ako kasing nabasa how to destroy, to kill the virus. Even without me knowing it, ako kasi mahilig ako sa saging.
"'Tapos may nakita ako sa Internet, yung saging pala magandang panlaban daw. E, ako, kain ako nang kain araw-araw ng saging."
Bananas are rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals --including folate, potassium, Vitamin B6, and manganese-- that are essential for a normal immune response.
However, health experts say there are no evidence-based studies that prove bananas help prevent the deadly novel coronavirus strain.
In a Twitter post, G Talks host Dr. Gia Sison belies the claim, "It’s definitely NOT TRUE that bananas will kill COVID. Wala pong evidence-based medical studies dito. Please bust this fake claim. #COVID2019."
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) via Facebook Messenger, physician John Nico Ronquillo says these kinds of false information only "adds up to the panic and anxiety going around."
He elaborates, "No evidence-based studies support these claims circulating online. Misinformation about COVID-19 is spreading fast that adds up to the panic and anxiety going around.
"It’s all about maintaining good health. Our best defense is our immune system. Eating nutritious meals, enough sleep and rest, and exercise will help our immune system function with the most favorable outcome to fight the virus."
In a Facebook post, Salamat Dok's Doc Willie Ong, a former senatorial candidate, notes that the rumors are false, and advises his followers not to eat too many bananas.
Part of his Facebook post reads: "Ang SAGING ay masustansyang prutas. PERO hindi pang-gamot ang saging sa COVID. MALI po!
"Fake news ang kumalat na post tungkol sa Saging at Covid.
"Kung GUSTO kumain ng SAGING, hanggang 2 piraso lang bawat araw. Ingat sa may ALMORANAS at KIDNEY problem. Baka ma-CONSTIPATED kayo.
"Sa may KIDNEY problem at mataas creatinine, Bawal din ang sobrang SAGING. God bless."
As of March 16, 11 p.m., the Philippines already has 142 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. The country has reported 12 fatalities. There are still 214 persons who are currently admitted in hospitals around the country, and are under observation.