Versatile Bananas

Bananas are the original convenience food – packaged by nature and ready to go.  The following information will help you see bananas in a new light and get you eating them regularly.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre giving an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy; just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.   Not surprisingly, bananas are 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 valuable addition to our daily diet.

 Depression: Feel more positive after eating a banana. 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: Bananas contain vitamin B6 which regulates blood glucose levels improving your mood.

Anaemia: Bananas are high in iron and can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure.   In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has recently allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: In a recent trial 200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams  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: Bananas are high in fibre so including them in the diet can help restore normal bowel action.

Hangovers: 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.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so 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: Rub the affected area with the inside of a banana skin to reduce swelling and irritation

 Bee Stings:    In the case of bee stings, first remove the sting and wash the area. Then apply the banana skin to reduce pain and swelling.

Nervousness and Anxiety:   Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.    Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips thus potentially increasing weight.  The report found that overweight and obese workers are  more likely to be in high-pressure jobs.  By avoiding panic-induced food cravings, we can keep our blood sugar levels steady by snacking on high carbohydrate foods such as bananas.

Ulcers: Because of its soft texture and smoothness, banana is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in the case of intestinal disorders. It  neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

So, bananas really are a natural remedy for many ills.  When compared to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin a and iron and twice the levels of other vitamins and minerals.  Bananas are also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

Banana and Peanut Ice Cream

Blend two ripe frozen bananas and then lace with a little vanilla, a little cinnamon and a good dollop of smooth peanut butter.   Drizzle with honey or agave syrup and add some nuts.  As an alternative, substitute almond or hazelnut spread and slivered almonds.  In the case of total nut allergies avoid any nuts and add a little melted chocolate and banana pieces.