Many of the world's top athletes eat bananas, have you ever wondered why?

It is well proven that two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.

There are three natural sugars in this fruit (sucrose, fructose and glucose), combined with fiber which provide an instant, sustained and substantial boost in energy.

But energy isn't the only way this can help us keep fit and healthy.

Two important items contained in bananas are potassium and fructooligosaccharide or FOS as most everyone knows it.

Fos is not that digestible. However, it does provide food for the 'friendly' bacteria within our digestive system, a natural 'prebiotic'.

Having a high amount of salt in your diet is bad for your health and is a contributing factor toward high blood pressure.

Did you know that potassium has the opposite effect and can effectively help lower your blood pressure?

The fruit contains Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid and a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin. It also helps produce Niacin (B-vitamin).

Nutrients in bananas

Vitamins A , B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and K
Pantothenic Acid
Fibre including FOS

Seratonin is known to make you relax, help improve your mood and, in general, make you feel happier.

A selected list of foods where Tryptophan is found in plentiful amounts are: -

  • Chocolate, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs
  • Red meat, fish and poultry
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soy, tofu and oats

    For those that enjoy seeds it is also found in: -

  • Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds

Some of the health benefits of bananas include: -

  • SAD and depression

    Anyone sufferring from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or depression can benefit from eating one on a regular basis.
    According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after doing so.

  • Anemia, heartburn, blood pressure and strokes

    They are high in iron, can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so help in cases of anemia. They are are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

    If you suffer from heartburn try eating a one for soothing relief as they have a natural antacid effect in the body.

    This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium and low in salt , making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, 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 strokes.
    According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating them as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

  • Ulcers and stress

    Do you suffer from ulcers?
    It 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 as it neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

    Snacking on one is best when we get stressed. Stress increases our metabolic rate and lowers our potassium levels.
    Potassium is a vital mineral which helps normalize the heartbeat. It sends oxygen to the brain and help regulate your body's water balance.

  • Constipation

    Being high in fiber, including one regularly in your diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping overcome constipation without resorting to laxatives.

  • PMS

    No need to resort to pills. The vitamin B6 the fruit contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

  • Morning sickness

    Snacking on this fruit between meals will help to keep your blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Ever been bitten by a mossie (mosquito)?
Try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the peeled skin. Many people find it really successful at reducing the swelling and irritation.

What about a hangover?
Who hasn't had one at some time in their life? Well, here's a great way to cure one.

Make a banana milkshake and sweeten with honey.

The banana will help calm the stomach. The honey will help boost depleted blood sugar levels. The milk will soothe and re-hydrate your system.

So, this fruit really is a natural remedy for many ills.

Compared to an apple it has: -

  1. Twice the vitamins, minerals and carbohydrate
  2. three times the phosphorus
  3. four times the protein
  4. five times the vitamin A and iron

It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

One well-known phrase should change to: -

"A banana a day helps you work, rest and play!"

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