Bananas For You
Bananas, they’re the world’s most popular fruit, with an estimated annual crop exceeding 100 million tonnes. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Julia Roberts are just two in a long list of celebrities, who adore bananas and regularly enjoy the health giving properties they have to offer. Eating two of them provides enough energy for a 90 minute workout in the gym, and it’s reckoned that more than 35,000 of them are consumed every year by players and officials during ‘Wimbledon fortnight. Alexander the Great is credited with having introduced the banana to the western world and until recently there was a misconception that bananas were fattening. However, with an average specimen (4 – 6 ounces) containing just 140 calories, a host of vitamins and minerals, 4.0 grams of fibre and a mere 36 grams of carbohydrate, the banana is now considered to be one of the healthiest, readily available fruits. They’re virtually fat-free and are regarded as the perfect fruit for those wishing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or for those trying to shed a few pounds.
But did you know that eating the humble banana can also help to reduce your blood pressure, aid your fight against depression, assist you to quit smoking and even cure your hangover?As well as being a good source of iron (which aids in the production of haemoglobin),
an average banana contains 602 milligrams of potassium and only 2 milligrams of sodium (salt). Having too much salt in your diet has been linked to high blood pressure, which in turn can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The almost salt-free banana is the ideal food to combat high blood pressure. In fact the US Food and Drug Administration has recently permitted the banana industry to make official claims, mentioning the banana’s ability to lessen the risk of high blood pressure and strokes.
Your Potassium’s Worth
Potassium is an essential mineral, vital in maintaining proper health. It not only aids muscle growth and nerve cell function, but also helps maintain a regular heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance. When you’re stressed, due to a rise in your metabolic rate the potassium level in your body decreases. Eating a potassium-packed banana restores your body’s natural balance and regular consumption of the fruit has proved to be effective in overcoming stress.
Also, eating bananas can be beneficial for women who are pregnant, or who suffer from Premenstrual Tension. Low and fluctuating blood sugar levels are recognised as being contributing factors in both of these ailments. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps to regulate blood glucose levels. Snacking on bananas will keep your blood sugar level high, thus helping you to avoid ‘morning sickness’ and mood swings.
Persons suffering from mental health disorders such as depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can benefit from eating bananas too. Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood enhancer that has been proven to induce a feeling of well being.
Bananas And Ulcers
Those trying to stop smoking may be surprised to discover that eating bananas can ease the anguish of starting a nicotine-free life. Bananas contain vitamins C, A1, B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium, all proven to be extremely successful in aiding the body to recover from the side effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Students studying for exams may find that eating bananas will help improve those all important grades. Research carried out at a school in England showed that eating potassium-rich food such as bananas, can assist learning by increasing students concentration and alertness.
In addition, people suffering from ulcers or intestinal disorders may find that eating bananas can ease their discomfort. Bananas are known to neutralise acidity and their soft texture protects the lining of the stomach, reducing irritation. Indeed, bananas are the only raw fruit that can be eaten without causing distress to chronic ulcers.
Finally, if you’re prone to having an aching head following a night on the town, bananas could be the answer to your prayers. A milkshake of banana and honey is one of the best cures for a hangover. The soothing effect of the banana helps to settle the stomach, the honey helps to replace depleted blood sugar levels, whilst the milk re-hydrates your body.
But remember you don’t need to be ill to enjoy the smooth texture and unique flavor that a banana has to offer. They’re the ideal fruit for picnics or children’s lunchboxes and are delicious when sliced, then added to your bowl of breakfast cereal. However, they are perhaps best served with warm chocolate sauce and lashings of freshly whipped cream!
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