The Banana (Musa spp.) plant is a giant herbaceous perennial, 10 to 25 feet tall or more. They are herbs, because they do not have woody stems like trees. The fruit of the banana plant grows in bunches at the end of the stem, which is composed of overlapping sheaths of leaves that trap rainwater. The humble banana is rich in fiber and contains the three most important natural sugars – sucrose, glucose, and fructose. In contemporary society, many people suffer from common psychological disorders, such as depression and SAD. In such cases, a banana a day can be of help. The tryptophan (an amino acid) content in bananas is one of nature’s mood enhancers as it has a calming effect on the brain and acts as a mild sedative because it converts to serotonin, a hormone linked to a feeling of well-being. Feeling low? Add bananas to your diet!
Bananas are also a rich source of magnesium – a mineral that promotes quality sleep. This does not mean that one should take magnesium to help one drop-off to sleep. It does not work that way. Rather magnesium deficiency is linked to stress/anxiety disorders, which contribute to lack of sleep quality. Potassium is a nutrient that is one of the most important electrolytes in the body. It regulates heart function (normalises heartbeat), blood pressure, fluid balance, transports oxygen to the brain and protects against stroke. More good news about this super food – eating bananas when stopping smoking will ease the stress, as the high levels of Vitamin C, B6, B12 they contain, as well as the tryptophan, potassium and magnesium content, aids in managing the effects of nicotine withdrawal, the worst of which is mood fluctuation and irritability.The banana tastes delicious and has medicinal value. It soothes the gastrointestinal tract due to the high content of pectin (a soluble fibre that normalises bowel function and lowers cholesterol). Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body. So, if suffering from skin diseases, constipation, haemorrhoids or heartburn – try eating a banana for soothing relief. This will help to neutralise high acidity and reduce irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. High in iron, bananas aid in stimulating production of haemoglobin in the blood and can be an effective food to include in a diet formulated to treat anaemia. Compared with an apple – a banana has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron. It is also rich in potassium making the banana one of the best value foods. Studies indicate that eating a banana improves brain performance, cures hangovers, relieves heartburn, aids in relieving morning sickness (lifts blood sugar levels), can soothe insect bites (topically applied), calms your nerves (high in B vitamins) and curtail stress/panic-induced food cravings. Bananas also reduce PMS (vitamin B6 content regulates blood glucose levels), neutralise over-acidity, can help to prevent ulcers and considerably reduces stroke risk (by as much as 30%-40%). The banana is one of those gifts from nature that is classed as a super food. Just peel and eat – there’s no need for tedious preparation. Eat a banana anywhere, at any time. It’s ideally suited to our demanding contemporary lifestyle. Need a quick fix for flagging energy? Fatigued? Irritable? Snack on a banana – it’s all good! Wellbeing is all about your choices – the doctor in the pantry is YOU!