Bananas contain so many benefits for the human body that the list below reads like information propaganda from a … “banana republic”. Have we simply “gone bananas” ? You decide.
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose, combined with fibre. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes. But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel better.
The vitamin B6 in bananas regulates blood glucose levels, which can positively affect your mood.
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.
As bananas do not contain sodium, fat or cholesterol, and are very rich in potassium, they can be included in the diet to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Bananas contain more digestible carbohydrates than any other fruit — hence being the favourite food of athletes during high endurance events, such as triathlon.
One of the quickest ways of recovering from a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and reduce the risk of morning sickness.
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. The Vitamin C in the bananas helps the body to defend and heal against infections. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work?
Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that in order to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.
The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Potassium is a vital mineral which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
So, a banana really is an important food in your child’s good health and nutrition and a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A banana a day keeps the doctor away!’