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by Jani Sutherland

August 1, 2004

A banana is a nutritional powerhouse

If you want a quick fix for flagging energy levels there's no better snack than a banana. A banana contains three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose -- which combined with fiber 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.

According to a recent survey done by MIND, people suffering from depression felt better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, which is known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

If you suffer from PMS forget the pills, eat a banana. Bananas contain Vitamin B6 which helps regulate blood glucose levels that can affect your mood.

Bananas are high in iron and can stimulate the production of hemoglobin the blood and help with anemia.

Bananas are very high in potassium and low in salt, making them perfect for beating high blood pressure. The US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruits ability to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Research has shown that the potassium in bananas can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Bananas are high in fiber and including them in your diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome constipation without laxatives.

One of the quickest ways to cure a hangover is to make a banana milk shake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugars while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

If you suffer from heartburn, try bananas. They have a natural antacid effect in the body.

Pregnant?? Try snacking on bananas between meals to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites?? Before reaching for the insect bite gel, try rubbing the affected area with the side of a banana skin.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

The banana can help with ulcers. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress to the intestinal system. It neutralized over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Many cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both physical and emotional temperatures of expectant mothers. In Thailand pregnant women eat bananas to ensure that their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Bananas can help Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Bananas can help people quit smoking. They contain Vitamin B6 and B12 as well as potassium and magnesium which help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

The potassium contained in bananas helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates our body's water balance.

When we are stressed our metabolic rate rises which reduces our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high potassium banana.

According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine eating bananas as part of a regular diet can reduce the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%.

A banana has four times the protein of an apple, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorous and five times the Vitamin A.

Maybe its time to change that well know phrase to ÒA banana a day keeps the doctor away!!


  • Health and Nutrition