If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am a firm believer in local, seasonal eating. But, I do have some exceptions, one of which is bananas. I could never give up bananas and they certainly don’t grow in New England! I start everyday with a nutrition-packed smoothie and banana is the mainstay ingredient.
Bananas are actually a super food in their own right! Here’s how………
Bananas’ natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – combined with fiber are a sustained energy boost; they are the number one fruit with leading athletes. The potassium-packed fruit can also help boost brainpower and keep students alert.
Bananas contain tryptophan, a natural protein that the body converts to serotonin, the feel good hormone, and helps people suffering from depression, PMS, stress or SAD (seasonal affect disorder). The tryptophan also helps with insomnia, so have a banana before bed for the perfect bedtime snack.
Bananas are high in potassium, which reduces the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure. The fact that they are also low in salt makes it the perfect food to lower blood pressure. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a regular diet of bananas can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
No need for a laxative when bananas are a part of your diet. The fiber in bananas can help overcome constipation and restore normal bowel function. They also have a natural antacid effect in the body and offer relief from heartburn and intestinal disorders. Bananas keep blood sugar levels up and snacking on them helps pregnant women avoid morning sickness.
For those rare occasions when you over imbibe, a milkshake made with bananas and honey calms the stomach, builds up depleted blood sugar levels and rehydrates the body.
I tried this remedy yesterday. I rubbed the affected area from a mosquito bite with the inside of the banana skin to reduce swelling and irritation. I’m so allergic to bites that I’ll try anything and happily the bite is better today! Banana skins can also help kill off warts!
These are just a few of the many benefits of this exotic fruit. While eating locally is the best way, nutrition-packed bananas are an important exception to the rule. Make them apart of your daily diet.
An aside: There is slightly more nutrition with riper bananas!
Information compiled from a physiological psychology lecture at CCNY and FDA.com.