I don’t know about you, but I love eating bananas; especially when they are still firm. If they start to get too ripe for my liking, I simply bake a banana bread or some banana muffins! Or use it in a smoothie. Bananas are packed with many “hidden” nutrition and is often to go-to snack for athletes and gym bunnies alike. Did you know, for example, that bananas contain 3 natural sugars? Sucrose, Fructose and Glucose, combined with fibre. Unlike an apple, bananas give you an instant, substantial boost of energy. Researchers have proven that 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout! Bananas not only provide an energy-boost, but also help overcome and/or even prevent a number of conditions / illnesses.
- Depression: in a recent study done by MIND, it was found that those suffering from depression, immediately felt better after eating a banana. How come you might wonder? Because bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts into serotonin (the “happy- “hormone), which helps you to relax.
- PMS: instead of using pills / tablets, eat a banana instead. Vitamin B6 (found in bananas) regulates blood glucose levels, that affects your mood as well.
- Anaemia: bananas can stimulate haemoglobin-production in the blood due to its high iron-content.
- Blood pressure: bananas are very high in potassium yet low in salt; the perfect foodstuff to beat blood pressure. The US Food and Drug Administration has allowed the banana-industry to allow people to know that bananas reduce the risk of blood pressure and strokes.
- Brain power: at a school in England, UK, 200 pupils were given bananas as breakfast, at break and for lunch, in a bid to help them during exams. Research showed that the potassium-packed fruit boosted their brain power by making the pupils more alert.
- Constipation: due to their high fibre-content, bananas can help to restore normal bowel action, without the need of using laxative.
- Hangover: a quick and easy way of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with some honey. The fruit calms the stomach, the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels and the milk soothes and re-hydrates the system.
- Heartburn: bananas have a natural antacid effect, so try eating a banana should you suffer from heartburn.
- Morning sickness: by snacking on a banana, not only will it keep morning sickness at bay, but it will also keep your blood sugar levels up.
- Mosquito bites: next time a mosquito bites, rub it with the inside of a banana peel! Not only does it reduce swelling, but it also eases the irritation.
- Nerves: packed with B-vitamins, it calms the nervous system.
- Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found that people who work under pressure, often reach for chips and/or chocolates as a snack. The results of the study found that you should reach for high carbohydrate foods every 2 hours, instead of chips and/or chocolates, in order to keep your blood sugar levels even and to stave off obesity.
- Ulcers: because of its soft texture, eating a banana is a good choice if you suffer from any intestinal disorder. Not only does the fruit neutralize over-acidity, but it also reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
- Temperature control: Many cultures believe that bananas is a “cooling” fruit, which can lower the emotional and physical temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure that their baby is born with a cool temperature!
As you can see, bananas can be used for many ills. Compared to an apple, a banana has 4 times more protein, 2x more carbohydrates, 3x more phosphorus, 5x more vitamin A and iron and 2x more minerals and vitamins. It is also rich in potassium and, when you have the option of eating organic bananas, choose the latter. If you like your bananas riper, then that is also a good option. If you are like me, and you don’t like it when the fruit is too ripe, then look for those that are yellow but firm. It doesn’t matter if there is a bit of green colour around the stem and/or bottom tip; just make sure not to eat it when it is still very green. If the bananas are too ripe, then make a smoothie, bake a banana bread or some muffins!