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Health April 2012

Aid for Age

Going Bananas for Health

By Tait Trussell

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help seniors keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a number of illnesses and conditions, making it something to add to your daily diet.

A banana a day keeps the doctor away. What! I thought it was an apple a day.

Bananas contain three natural sugars -- sucrose, fructose and glucose, combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has indicated that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. The banana is the number one fruit with many of the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help seniors keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a number of illnesses and conditions, making it something to add to your daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND, the largest mental health charity in the U.K., among people suffering from depression, many felt better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel jollier.

PMS: If you still are young enough to have that problem, try eating a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood pressure: This unusual tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat high blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex school in England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.

Constipation problem? Because they’re high in fiber, including bananas in your diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is said to make 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.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it works at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

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 digestive over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and is said to reduce irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Smoking and tobacco use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from nicotine withdrawal.

Strokes: 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 a large percentage.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the 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 to say: "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


Tait Trussell is an old guy and fourth-generation professional journalist who writes extensively about aging issues among a myriad of diverse topics.

Meet Tait