Bananas were seen as an exotic food at one time, certainly during the Second World War, only pregnant women got bananas and you had to get them on a prescription. I know this not because I was around at this time, but because my nana told me as she chomped down on her second banana of the day.
I often wondered what the attraction was?, and don’t get me wrong I did like bananas, but I think they were just one of those things I took for granted we always had bananas and I would eat them when I was hungry. But was my nana on to something with her obsession with bananas?
I think she probably was, and while people with diabetes would have to watch their intake of bananas, the rest of us should definitely start to add them to part of our diet.
You might be surprised to learn that bananas are not a fruit either, they are actually a giant herb and they don’t grow on trees.
You may also love to eat your banana when it’s that perfect yellow colour at the supermarket. But actually if you let your banana ripen it is more effective in boosting your immune system than a fresh banana. So the more brown specks the better.
Bananas are a great mood food to add to our spotlight on foods. They are rich in vitamin B6 which is an excellent mood enhancing vitamin. It is involved in the process of making serotonin and norepinephrine, which transmit feelings of wellbeing to the brain.
But bananas have a number of health benefits such as the following:
• They are a rich source of fibre they may help relieve constipation in some people.
• They can also be helpful for some people who have allergies since bananas only contain benign amino acids, so compared to other fruits are a low allergenic food
• Bananas are naturally high in potassium and magnesium which helps if we are stressed. Our potassium levels become depleted when we are stressed, so bananas with their natural sugars can act as an instant pick me up
• Bananas contain the amino acid Tryptophan which acts as a natural anti- depressant, which may be helpful in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder
• Bananas contain fructooligosaccharides which is a probiotic, this is particularly helpful for healing our gut and maintaining our immune system, it also helps us absorb calcium so may help strengthen our bones.
• Bananas may also be helpful in lowering our LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) due to the fibre it contains
• Regular consumption of bananas may also be helpful in lowering our risk of stroke states the ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’.
• Bananas are a great fuel before and after exercise for their potassium and for extra energy from the starch and sugars, the magnesium also helps with muscle recovery.
However, these are just some of the benefits of eating bananas. So bananas definitely get the thumbs up on our spotlight of mood enhancing, and overall healthy foods to eat.
So maybe the saying should go ‘a Banana a day keeps the doctor at Bay’!
The only dangerous thing about eating a banana is if you slip on one. But even the skin of the banana can be useful for polishing your shoes!