Bananas : More than just a fruit!


Click here for the All-American Banana Split Recipe!

A whole bunch of reasons why you should start eating bananas. Thanks Wendy!

Bananas. Containing 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 athletes.

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

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many 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 make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. PMS: Forget the pills - eat 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 unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat 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 were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. 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.

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 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.

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 amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

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

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food 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.

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 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 tryptophan.

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

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's 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%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

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

Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!

The All American Banana Split Recipe
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A quintessential soda fountain concoction, the banana split represents sweet excess at its best. The two sauces can be made ahead: The fudge sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week and gently reheated before use; the caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds

For Fudge Sauce:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

For Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ripe bananas
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 scoops chocolate ice cream
4 scoops strawberry ice cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks and chilled
4 maraschino cherries, drained

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

FOR FUDGE SAUCE: In the top pan of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not touching) simmering water in a pan, combine the chocolate and butter and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the cream just until incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat, cover to keep warm and set aside.

FOR CARAMEL SAUCE: In a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the heavy cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the butter, reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick and caramellike, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm and set aside.

Peel the bananas and cut in half lengthwise. Lay each banana in an individual oval dish, cut side up. Arrange 1 scoop each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream on each banana. Drizzle a little warm fudge sauce over the chocolate and strawberry ice cream and a little warm caramel sauce over the top of the vanilla ice cream. Top with a mound of the whipped cream, and then sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Finally, crown with a maraschino cherry and serve immediately. Serve the remaining fudge and caramel sauces on the side.

Serves 4
Facts per Serving

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Calories: 1341 Fat: 90g Carbohydrates: 133g
Cholesterol: 252mg Sodium: 204mg Protein: 16g
Fiber: 6g % Cal. from Fat: 60% % Cal. from Carbs: 40%




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