LIFESTYLE

Know your fruits well series -Bananas

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By Ryanne Achieng

Why worry about illnesses and other health conditions when you have bananas?

Bananas (Musa spp) are a staple food for over 20 million people in Eastern Africa and per capita consumption in the Great Lake region is the highest in the world. East and Southern Africa is the world’s leading consumer of bananas with green cooking bananas and table bananas being marketed for food. In these regions, this crop is grown across diverse agroecological conditions ranging from lowlands at sea level to highlands above 2000m above sea level.

Bananas contain three natural sugarssucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. This is the reason why bananas are the number one fruit with the world leading athletes. 

Energy is not the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must add to our daily diet.

1). Depression

A survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression showed that 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 one relax, improves moods and generally makes a person feel happier. 

2). MPs-Forget the pills, eat a banana

The vitamin B6 in banana regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect one’s moods.

3). Anaemia

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.

4). Blood pressure

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure.

5). Brain power

Research has shown that this potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

6). Constipation

High in fibre, bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

7). Hangover

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is by making a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach, and with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels,  while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system. 

8). Heartburn

Bananas have a natural antiacid effect in the body. If you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

9). Morning sickness

Snacking on a banana between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and as a result helping one to avoid morning sickness. 

10). Mosquito bites

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

11). Nerves

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

12).  Ulcers

Bananas are used as a 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 stomach lining. 

13). Smoking

Bananas can help people trying to give up smoking. The vitamins B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, helps the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

14). 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 by the help of a high-potassium banana snack. 

15 ). Stroke

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%.

From this, it is clear that a banana is a NATURAL remedy for many ills. Compared to an Apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, fives times 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 it’s time to change that well known phrase so that we say, “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!”

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NANCY OKUTAH
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