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       Fitness Tips For 12/28/2004

Bananas Nutrition Info and Health Benefits
submitted by Teri

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.  
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 proven that just two 
bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.  
No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading 

Energy isnít the only way a banana can help us keep fit, they can also 
help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and 
conditions, making them a must to add to our daily diet.

Anemia:  high in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of 
hemoglobin in the blood, helping people who have anemia.

Blood Pressure:  this unique tropical fruit is extremely high in 
potassium, yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure, 
so much so that the USFDA has just allowed the banana industry 
to make official claims for the fruitís ability to reduce the risk of blood 
pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:  200 students at Twickenham School were helped 
through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break 
and lunch in a bid to boost their brainpower.  Research has shown 
that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils 
more alert.

Constipation:  high in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help 
restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem 
without resorting to laxatives.

Depression:  according to a recent survey undertaken by MIND, 
people suffering from depression 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 help you 
relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Hangovers:  one of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to 
make a banana milkshake sweetened with honey.  The banana 
calms the stomach and, with the help of 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.

Morning sickness:  snacking on bananas between meals helps 
to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

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 very successful at reducing swelling 
and irritation.

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

Overweight and stressed:  studies at the Institute of Psychology 
in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort foods 
like chocolate and crisps.  Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, 
researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in 
high-pressure jobs.  The report concluded that, to avoid 
panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar 
levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to 
keep levels steady.

PMS:  forget the pills, eat a banana, the vitamin B6 it contains 
regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Ulcers:  the banana is used as a dietary food against intestinal 
disorders because of itís 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 lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:  many other cultures see bananas as a 
"cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional 
temperature of expectant mothers.  In Thailand, for example, 
pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with 
a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):  bananas can help SAD 
sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer 

Smoking:  bananas can also help people trying to give up 
smoking.  The B6, B12, potassium and magnesium found in 
bananas help the body recover from the affects of nicotine 

Stress:  potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the 
heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your bodiesí 
water balance.  When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, 
thereby reducing our potassium levels.  These can be rebalanced 
with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

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 as much as 40%!

A banana is really a natural remedy for many ills.  When you 
compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the 
carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus and five times 
vitamin A and iron.

Maybe itís time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 
"A banana a day keeps the doctor away".

(A note from Teri)

If youíre interested in comparing vitamins and minerals in all 
foods, buy The New Laurelís Cookbook, by Laurel Robertson, 
Carol Flinders and Brian Ruppenthal.  Grains and Flours, Nuts 
and Seeds, Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy Products and Eggs, Yeast 
Breads and Rolls, Oils, Fats and Commercial Salad Dressings, 
Sweeteners, Beverages and many other common foods as well 
as the recipes in the cookbook are listed in the back of the book 
with the following amounts:  calories, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, 
fat, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folacin, riboflavin, niacin, 
vitamin B-6, pantothenic, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, iron, 
zinc, sodium and potassium.

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