Superfoods on the cheap - Bananas

The time old adage of an apple a day keeps the doctor away may soon be replaced by the banana.

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, an essential ingredient in keeping your heart and nervous system in good nick

Bananas have no cholesterol, no fat, 4 grams of fibre,  and, on average, which make them a a healthy addition to any diet

Bananas naturally contain three types of sugars:

- sucrose
- f ructose
- glucose

These sugars will give you an almost instant and long lasting energy boost.  Research has shown eating  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 though. Here are some additional benefits to eating bananas:

Whittle away flab

Steer clear of the vending machines by eating bananas. Bananas the ideal substitute for that morning muffin or packet of crisps. Not only will they satisfy a nagging sweet tooth, but they curb  hunger.  While a ripe banana contains 4 grams a fibre, less ripe fruit can contain nearly twice that amount

A calmer you

Stressed out? Eat a banana. This fruit contains 10 mg of tryptophan, the same component found in turkey. This amino acid enhances the body’s amount of serotonin, the feel good hormone, which helps calm frazzled nerves and stabilizes moods. On another note, it can act as a mild sedative in some people, so eating a banana before bedtime may lead to a better nights rest

Your heart loves bananas

Most Brits don’t consume enough potassium which helps improved heart health. Potassium conditions your muscles allowing them to perform at optimal levels. New research links insufficient potassium levels with higher chances for stroke and high blood pressure. So don’t just pop a pill, eat a banana!

Banish the potential for kidney stones

What’s good for the heart is also good for the kidneys. The potassium found in bananas can help decrease the chances of kidney stones by preventing excess calcium excretion in the urine which leads to the production of these tiny devils. This also helps the body retain sufficient levels of calcium which may prevent osteoporosis in older women

Great for Your circulatory system

Bananas contain high levels of vitamin B6 which is directly linked to a healthy circulatory system.  This vitamin plays an essential role by assisting the body with the production of hemoglobin-the element in our blood that transports oxygen.  It helps convert the tryptopan found in bananas into the feel good hormone serotonin, strengthens the immune system, and transforms carbs into glucose which translates into stabilized blood sugar levels. One banana contains nearly twenty percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6

Lower your 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

Increase your brain power

Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.  200 students at a Twickenham school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power

Combat 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

And that’s not all

Bananas are also thought to be effective in helping to compat anemia, constipation, hangovers, heartburn, mosquito bites, PMS, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), strokes,  and warts!

Selecting and storing bananas

Bananas are picked when they are still green so are often seen in shops in any colour range from green to yellow. A good idea is to buy your bananas in different stages of ripeness. This will cater to different tastes in your family or allow fruit to be eaten all week as it ripens to the desirable level. Select bananas that are free of bruised skin and have intact stems

To ripen simply leave at room temperature or to speed up ripening you can place them in a paper bag at room temperature. Avoid storing in the refrigerator as this stops the ripening process and ripening will not occur even if returned to room temperature. Ripe bananas can be stored in the fridge for a few days, though their skin will turn black, but this has no effect on the flesh inside

Also when you have really ripe bananas that are not wanted to be eaten any longer, peel the skin off and freeze in small plastic bags or plastic wrap – they’re great in smoothies or make the best banana cakes or muffins

In summary bananas are good for your nerves, good for your stomach, for your bones, kidneys and heart. Its cheap, tastes good and its easy to grab one any time. When you’re hungry always pick a superfood banana over any junk food

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February 10, 2012

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