Health food of the month - BananasFebruary 2011
Anyone who watches any sport on tv will have seen top sports men and women chomping through bananas in their break; and most of us know this is because bananas are a great source of energy.
Maybe because of this, many of us also consider bananas as rather fattening and don’t think of them as a proper fruit to be included in the recommended “five a day”. We are right of course on one count; bananas are not like a normal fruit because instead of coming from trees they come from plants that are related to the lily and orchid family.
But this does not detract from their fantastic nutritional values. They contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol which is excellent in itself. On top of that, bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and potassium. Potassium is especially interesting for people of our age because there are reports that it can help to regular blood pressure; it is also essential for helping muscles to contract properly reducing cramping. A medium sized banana contains around 400 mg of potassium, more than 10% of our daily requirements. It contains 4 grams of fibre but only 110 calories, less than many small biscuits.
A medium banana also contains around 10.6 mg of tryptophan. This is one of the 20 amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin which has a calming effect on the brain.
On top of all that, bananas contain the three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose. So if you want the energy to sustain yourself during that vital exercise, a banana can give a great boost.
Best of all of course, bananas taste great. No wonder they are now being talked about as the new wonder fruit!