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Why Do Bananas Make People Gag? | Hypersensitive Gag Reflex
I love bananas. Why do they make me gag?
Whether it’sِ bananas, mashed potatoes, yogurt orِ pulpy juice atِ issue, queries aboutِ the gag-inducing effects ofِ soft food appearِ on countless Q&A websites, withِ nary anِ answer toِ beِ found.
Ten percent toِ 15 percent ofِ adults regularly gag whileِ eating perfectly edible food — oftenِ sticky stuff, likeِ bananas — andِ only someِ stop toِ considerِ the weirdness ofِ it.
Many picky eaters haveِ actuallyِ been forced intoِ their state ofِ malnourishment byِ the fact thatِ almost everythingِ they put inِ their mouths (except, say, theirِ beloved chicken nuggets) triggers theirِ gag reflex.
Aside fromِ preventing choking, theِ human gag reflex serves a vital purpose duringِ infancy: It helps moderate theِ transition fromِ liquid toِ solid foods, saidِ Donna Scarborough, a professor ofِ speech pathology atِ Miami University ofِ Ohio andِ a leading expert onِ gagging problems.
If youِ give a 4- orِ 5-month-old someِ puree thatِ isn’tِ thin enough, theyِ start gagging, andِ that’s normal forِ them, Scarborough said — normal, becauseِ they can’tِ yet digest chunks.
More often, children andِ adults withِ a hypersensitive gag reflex react toِ theِ texture ofِ thick andِ sticky foods suchِ asِ bananas andِ mashed potatoes.
How not to gag
While working withِ kids whoِ haveِ gagging problems, Scarborough noticed thatِ children’s gag reflexes diminished whenِ sheِ held theirِ hands.
I foundِ a pressure point onِ the hand thatِ causesِ the gag reflex toِ move backِ in theِ mouth, sheِ said.
When 2 pounds ofِ pressure areِ applied toِ a point inِ the dead center ofِ the rightِ orِ left palm, theِ gag reflex recedes.