GO BANANAS!

Image for GO BANANAS!

A professor at CCNY told his physiological psych class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" comes from the effects bananas have on the brain. After reading everything bananas can do, you'll never look at them in the same way again.

Bananas contain both fiber and three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose and glucose, and give an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. There are other ways bananas can keep us fit and healthy as well. But providing energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. They can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, all the more reason to add them to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because 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: Forget the pills — eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: Because they are high in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood, which helps anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. It is so effective, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims about the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: Two hundred students at Twickenham school in Middlesex, England, were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break time, and lunch in order to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: Because they are high in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to 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; the 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: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B-vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found 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 level and keep it steady by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours.

Ulcers: The banana is used as a remedy for 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.

Temperature control: Many other cultures consider banana to be a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking and Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B-6 and B-12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40 percent!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want 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!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it 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 other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!" Here’s one more, non-food tip: want a quick shine on your shoes? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe; polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit! PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!