Two years ago, in Wellness Pathway #142, I disparaged bananas as a high-glycemic food. Although that remark has now been corrected (bananas are, in fact, a low- to moderate-glycemic food), alert readers promptly took me to task. Recently, one of my clients and a medical doctor sent me additional information on the health benefits of bananas that suggests a new mantra: “A banana a day keeps the doctor away.”
Bananas are unique among fruits, since they don’t grow on trees. The “banana tree” is actually a giant herb, related to the lily and orchid family. Like other fruits, bananas contain negligible amounts of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. With three natural sugars (sucrose, fructose and glucose) as well as fiber and protein, they provide a sustained and substantial boost of energy for afternoon pick-me-ups or athletic activity. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always a great choice when it comes to snacks.
Beyond their energy-boosting power, bananas can claim the following health benefits:
- Their protein, which includes the amino acid tryptophan, helps counter depression by raising serotonin levels.
- They help counter anemia, being high in iron.
- They help lower blood pressure and contribute to cardiovascular health, being high in potassium yet low in sodium.
- Their fiber counters constipation.
- Their texture and smoothness neutralize stomach acid and protect against ulcers.
- The inside of a banana skin may reduce the swelling of mosquito and other insect bites.
- Their B vitamins help calm the nervous system.
- Their Vitamin C helps your body neutralize free radicals and produce collagen.
- They reduce the risk of stroke, by as much as 40%.
- The phosphorous in bananas, combined with milk, can help cure insomnia.
Green bananas are best for cooking or ripening, yellow ones for eating, and brown-specked ones for baking breads, muffins and cookies. As the bananas ripen, they will taste sweeter because the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. Bananas are a great addition to cereals, salads, yogurt, salsa, smoothies and shakes.
Store bananas in the open air at room temperature until they reach the desired ripeness, then store them in the refrigerator. The peel of the fruit will darken in the refrigerator but the banana inside will remain firm and delicious. To make a banana ripen faster, put it in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight.
Coaching Inquiries: What do you eat for snacks and energy? Do you have any of the symptoms that bananas assist with? How could you add more bananas to your diet?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services