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Bananas are one of the most commonly available fruits the world over and indeed, quite cheap. They come in different shades - raw, semi-ripe and ripe and have a distinct mild flavour that can be stronger too.
They contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. 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.
DEPRESSION: 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 happier.
PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
ANEMIA: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
BLOOD PRESSURE: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
BRAIN POWER: 200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
CONSTIPATION: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
HEARTBURN: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
MORNING SICKNESS: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
MOSQUITO BITES: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
HANGOVERS: One of the quickest ways of curing 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.
NERVES: Bananas are high in Bvitamins 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, 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.
ULCERS: 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-chroniclercases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
TEMPERATURE CONTROL: Many cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers.
When compared to an apple, banana has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus and FIVE TIMES the vitamin A and iron. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods.