Compared to apples, bananas have twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, four times the protein, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. Bananas also have the added bonus of being rich in potassium.
The time old adage of an apple a day keeps the doctor away may soon be replaced by the banana.
Bananas naturally contain three types of sugars:
The sugars in the banana give a the body an almost instant and long lasting energy boost. Research has shown consuming two bananas provides enough energy for an intense 90 minute workout. An increase in energy levels is only the tip of the bananas healthy powers.
Bananas have proven themselves to have several other health benefits:
Anemia: Bananas are high in iron and can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood which may help in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: Being extremely high in potassium and low in salt makes the banana a perfect perfect snack for people with high blood pressure. The US FDA 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: Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert. “200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) 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.”
Constipation: Say bye, bye to laxatives. Bananas are high in fiber and can help restore normal bowel actions.
Depression: Bananas contain a type of protein called tryptophan that the body uses and converts into serotonin. Serotonin puts your body in a relaxed state, improving your mood.
Hangovers: Banana milkshake to the rescue! Bananas, milk, ice and sweeten with honey. Bananas calm the stomach while the honey builds up depleted blood sugar levels, and milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
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: Avoid morning sickness by snacking on bananas between meals to help keep blood sugar levels up.
Mosquito bites: Banana skins reduce swelling and irritation. Try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin before reaching for the insecticide.
Nerves: Vitamin B helps calm the nervous system, and bananas are loaded with B vitamins.
PMS: Bananas contain vitamin B6 which regulates blood glucose levels, which in-turn affects your mood.
Temperature control: Cultures all around the world believe the banana to be a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. Pregnant women in Thailand eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas have helped SAD sufferers due to the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking & Tobacco Use: Looking to give up smoking? Try a banana. Bananas have B6, B12, potassium and magnesium which help the body recover from nicotine withdrawal effects.
Stress: Stress causes our metabolic rates to rise, which in effect reduces potassium levels. Potassium helps to normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance. Re-balance with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: The New England Journal of Medicine research study showed eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%.
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-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Warts: Natural alternative health users swear by bananas. To kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape.
Work Munchies: According to studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria 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.
So the next time you feel like snacking…GO BANANAS!